From left to right, Zach Holmes, Johnny Knoxville and Rachel Wolfson plan a prank in "Jackass Forever." Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures and MTV Entertainment Studios
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Jackass creator and star Johnny Knoxville said previous injuries prevented him from performing some of the stunts in Jackass Forever, in theaters Friday. The 50-year-old Knoxville turned over a stunt called The Cup Test to Ehren McGhehey, 45.
"I did want to, but I had a hernia surgery right before we started shooting," Knoxville told UPI in a Zoom interview. "So I couldn't take any impact to that area for a while. I had a double hernia."
Knoxville originally performed The Cup Test on the MTV series, which ran from 2000 to 2002. Wearing a jockstrap cup, the performer attempts to withstand impact to his groin with only the protection of the cup.
For the 2022 edition of the cup test, Jackass Forever enlisted MMA fighter Francis Ngannou to punch McGhehy in the groin, softball pitcher Danielle O'Toole to hurl a pitch at him and fellow Jackass performer Dave England to jump a pogo stick onto him.
England, 52, nailed McGehy on the second attempt.
"I trusted him to land it the first try, but the second try bullseye is very impressive," McGhehy said.
Jackass Forever re-attempts other classic Jackass stunts in addition to new ones. Steve-O, 47, once again attempts to light a fart underwater.
"A lot of times, you'll start out by thinking of something that you did and then bump it up a notch," Steve-O said. "I think that we give ourselves license to redo stunts as long as it's bigger."
Chris Pontius, 47, whose Party Boy persona dances through many stunts, likened the Jackass performers to extreme athletes. They build upon their previous stunts.
"It's just raising the bar on that original stunt," Pontius said. "It's just like a skateboard trick, you know. You build upon that --.make it more amazing."
Even after 20 years of performing ridiculous stunts together, the performers still face their fears. England said one Jackass Forever prank, in which Knoxville lured the gang into a room with a rattlesnake, but swapped out the snake for something mysterious, scared him more than anything else he's done.
"I thought I was going to die," England said. "I felt silly for thinking I was going to die afterward, but honestly, I thought I would be murdered. I just thought they've gone too far this time and I'm going to die."
Jackass Forever enlisted five new performers - Rachel Wolfson, Sean "Poopies" McInerny, Jasper, Zach Holmes and Eric Manaka - to join them.
Knoxville, who recruited his original cast mates for the original series, said he was not looking for new performers to carry on the series when he and the gang retire. However, if there is interest, he would consider letting them continue Jackass.
"We just wanted some fresh blood to come in and shoot with us but that could happen," Knoxville said. "We don't know if it will happen but that's a possibility."
The legacy Jackass team joked about the younger counterparts.
"I have underwear that is older than some of the new cast members," England said.
Preston Lacy, 52, reflected on how long he's performed outrageous stunts compared to the newcomers.
"We have injuries older than Eric," Lacy said.
The new cast members incurred their share of injuries filming Jackass Forever. Holmes, 30, jumped into a patch of cacti wearing a kite.
"I ended up getting a staph infection," he said. "It took about like a month and a half, like two months to get all the needles out. I still think I might have a few in me."
Wolfson let a scorpion sting her on the lip as "Scorpion Botox." Though it was painful, Wolfson said she was motivated to capture memorable footage for the film.
"It ended up being great footage, and that's really what we do it for," Wolfon said. "I knew I wasn't going to die. I knew it was probably going to be painful."
McInerny said he earned his nickname while performing Jackass-inspired stunts with his friends in Carlsbad, Calif. Egged on by his friends, McInerny once defecated in the middle of an intersection while wearing a gorilla mask. Now he's in Jackass Forever.
"They were coming up with names and it stuck," McInerny said. "So Poopies was the name. I just embraced it after a while."
Many of the behind the scenes crew of Jackass Forever have been with the gang since the MTV series, including director Jeff Tremaine and cinematographer Lance Bangs. Two of the stunts in Jackass Forever were so gross that Bangs threw up while wearing his COVID-19 mask.
"It's funny because it made it grosser and less gross at the same time," Tremaine said. "It's less gross in that you're not seeing all this vomit fly out of his mouth. It's just filling up with vomit until it dribbles out the sides."
Knoxville said it happened more often in production. They only included the funniest two moments of Bangs retching.
"He vomited six times in this movie," Knoxville said. "We don't show it every time."