Johnny Knoxville is back for a walk in the park — the amusement park. And actually, it’s more of a wipeout than a walk. The Jackass ringleader stars as D.C. Carver, the owner of a fun park (based on a real-life now-shuttered New Jersey attraction Action Park) where rules and safeguards are in short supply. “It was a time when there weren’t all those helicopter parents, and this was a place where you could go and learn a little hand-eye coordination,” Knoxville notes wistfully of the 1979-set Action Point. “This was pre-class-action-lawsuit times.” The movie was filmed in the spirit of his old prank-n-stunt franchise — but with a plot. “I looked at it from the beginning as if Jackass had its own theme park,” he says. “It’s just that poorly conceived and poorly run.”

Here, Knoxville and director Tim Kirkby guide you through the finer points of the fun, along with the actor‘s frighteningly colorful injury report (which includes a quartet of concussions, broken hand, left-eye fracture, torn meniscus, lost teeth, and whiplash). “I definitely suffered the most injuries on one film,” he says without shame.

When an air-cannon-enhanced water hose that’s being used to clean the waterslide is accidentally aimed at D.C., he’s bowled over—and down the mountain. A gag intended to leave the audience in figurative stitches left Knoxville in literal ones. “It really knocked the hell out of me,” he says. “The only thing that broke my fall was my face. I kept landing on my face and my head in this movie.” Kirkby tried to schedule the film’s stunts around the rubber man’s recovery. “We’d do it on a Friday,” he says. “He’d go off, get stitches, and then Monday we’d finish up the rest of the scene.”

Credit: Coco Van Oppens/Paramount Pictures

(2) EYE, OH MY!
“I take it you heard about the eye-popping incident?” asks Kirkby. While pulling off an alpine slide stunt in which D.C. tests a brake-less sled, Knoxville flew off the winding track and suffered a concussion. “I was six feet in the air and traveled over 20 feet and slammed face-first into the ground,” he says. “My memory was almost completely erased for 15 minutes.” He was whisked away in an ambulance, which was parked conveniently nearby. Maybe too conveniently. “The ambulance [had] its doors open, parked about 15 feet from where I’m supposed to land,” he recalls. “I’m like, ‘Geez, do you have to have the doors open? Do you have to have it right here?’ I need positivity. I knew I was going in the back of that.” After being treated at the hospital, he blew his nose, and his left eye popped out of its socket. “I wasn’t expecting that,” he says, “so I pushed it back in real quick. I called the executive producer and said, ‘Look, you’ve got to come get me. My eye just popped out of the socket.’” Doctors said that he didn’t require surgery, but “every time I blew my nose, I’d push air behind it, and it would push the eye out,” he says. “I wasn’t allowed to sneeze for six weeks after that. And I have bad allergies.”

In filming a collision with a sled-towing motorbike in the carnival games area that flipped D.C. upside down, Knoxville received his first concussion of the shoot. (There were four in total.) “I’d written that thinking I was going to be standing on dirt,” he says. “But I got up there that day [to film the stunt] and I’m like, ‘This is concrete. Oh, well. Too late. Action!’ I got knocked out on that one, and when I got hit, my shoe flew 25 feet in the air.'” Adds Kirby: “It was terrifying because it looked so gnarly, but he was great. He just rolled on his back, laughed, got up and went off to the hospital.”

D.C. lives nearby in an Old West saloon, where he toils on his wild inventions. (“If Walt Disney had a difficult twin,” says Kirkby, “it would be D.C.”) As he’s about to try out a catapult that will fling him into a pool, someone bumps into the contraption, redirecting him into the side of a barn. “We had the camera on the barn door, and it shows me coming,” says Knoxville. “It looks like we sped up the footage, but nope.” Not surprisingly, the stunt came at a cost—in the form of a “50-cent-piece-sized bald spot,” he notes. “I had scalped myself on the barn doors on impact.”

Credit: Coco Van Oppens/Paramount Pictures

What happens when D.C. is chased up a tree by a bear? In perhaps the most difficult stunt of the movie, Knoxville was to plummet to the ground while trying to jump to another tree, his fall blunted by a shed. The stunt coordinator wanted to soften the blow by having Knoxville land on a sharply angled roof, but the star aimed to make a bigger splat. “I wanted more of a flatter angle, so he changed it for me, and I got what was coming to me,” he explains. “I slammed down on the tin roof, broke my hand, and then fell off the shed and busted my knee.”

D.C. weaponizes these go-karts with air cannons, transforming them into tennis-ball-shooting machines, which the kids use to wreak havoc across the park. “A couple of the extras got hit in the face,” reports Kirkby. Adds Knoxville: “It felt like a baseball hitting you. I took one to the head and saw stars. Everyone got lit up by it.”

There was only one of these rides to be found in Africa, which production shipped in and assembled in three days, according to Kirkby. “It’s like the German version of the Himalaya ride where you’re sitting in these seats that are fixed to a center point by an arm and you go around as fast as possible, and they play ‘Stone In Love’ by Journey,” says Knoxville. (The actors did not get sick on this ride, nor on the Whirling Dervish, which features the cast fake-puking Jackson Pollock-style. However, star Eric Manaka did wind up upchucking on camera in another scene whilst drinking beer cans filled with water.) You should also know that the sign advertising Schlittenfart became the, um, butt of a joke. “Unfortunately, the L fell off that sign,” he deadpans, “and we never got around to replacing it.”

Let’s revisit the moment that Knoxville received his fourth concussion of the film, which did not take place at the park. In a scene at his daughter’s house, the older version of D.C. attempts to show his granddaughter his prowess on a chin-up bar, only to bite it — literally. Knoxville was instructed by the stunt coordinator to chin up to his chest, so when the explosive detonated and collapsed the bar on cue, it would hit him in the chest, and he’d fall on his back. Unfortunately, he over-rotated, putting the bar at face-level. “I landed on my head, and the bar hit me right in the mouth,” he reports. “It knocked out two of my teeth and pushed one way back into my skull.”

Credit: Coco Van Oppens/Paramount Pictures
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