Here's the truth behind why you don't see Johnny Knoxville anymore
"Hi, I'm Johnny Knoxville, welcome to Jackass!" - Seven words that will ring in the ears of a generation of teenagers who grew up wanting to skate, listen to rock n roll and perform mad stunts, for eternity. Jackass was a show that defined an era and Johnny Knoxville was the face of it. For many people in their mid-late twenties, Johnny and his merry band of madmen were more than just a bunch of nutcases, they were idols.
Since the show disappeared off of our screens, it would be safe to say that the guys behind Jackass have struggled. Bam Margera has struggled with his weight and mental health, Ryan Dunn was tragically killed in a car accident and Johnny Knoxville seems to have disappeared off of the face of the earth.
The 46-year-old became a household name off of the back of his moronic stunts on Jackass and went on to star in several blockbuster movies such as The Dukes of Hazzard and Men In Black II. However, just as Knoxville was changing the public perception of himself from stuntman to a respectable actor, he vanished without a trace.
Knoxville always had aspirations to break into Hollywood and moved to California from Tennesee in order to chase fame. But like the majority of fame-hungry people who move to LA, he was left bitterly disappointed after securing work in a few commercials and working as an extra.
Undeterred by the rejection, Knoxville began working on several different ideas, including testing self-defence equipment on himself for the skateboarding magazine, Big Brother. It was this taste for wreckless stuns that birthed Jackass. The show was eventually picked up by MTV and the rest, as they say, was history.
Knoxville and the stars of Jackass rose to international fame in a matter of years, and despite the negative press the show received due to its dangerous nature, they released several films that performed extremely well in the theaters.
The controversy and negative press the surrounded the show led to Knoxville pursuing a new career in which he could change the negative connotations that were carried along with his name. He turned his focus to acting, but the majority of his films failed at the box office, only increasing the damage to his name. Eventually, Knoxville was phased out of the industry, with him lending his voice to characters in Family Guy, Spongebob and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
However, it wasn't just his spiralling acting career that tainted the actor's name, he was also involved in several controversial incidents throughout his time in the limelight. In 2009, Knoxville was arrested at LAX airport after staff found a grenade inside of his bag. While it later emerged that the grenade was simply being used as a prop in an upcoming project, the incident did little to aid his reputation.
But while incidents like the above undoubtedly increased the speed at which his career spiralled, nothing could prepare Knoxville for the pain that he experienced in 2011 when Ryan Dunne, his Jackass co-star and close friend, died in a car accident.
Dunn and Jackass production assistant Zachary Hartwell were travelling in a Porsche 911 when they smashed into a tree at extreme speed, prompting the car to burst into flames. In the toxicology report that followed, it was discovered the Dunn was two times over the Pennsylvania state's maximum alcohol limit.
Understandably, Knoxville was devastated by the news, and found it hard to recover from the death of the 34-year-old. In a statement issued by the actor shortly after the accident, he said:
“You’ll have to excuse me, I’m just very sad because I lost my brother and my world got about 134 percent less funny,
“I don’t know what to say right now so I will close with I love you, Ryan. I have a lot of emotions swirling, but I want you to know I love you so very much.”
But, despite the death of a close friend and multiple things not working in his favour, it appears that Johnny Knoxville is rising from the ashes.
2013 saw him return to the big screens with his movie Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. The movie turned out to be a box office smash, earning $151.8million - a number which is astonishing given it "only" cost $15million to make. The movie went on to be nominated for an Oscar in the hair and makeup category but lost out to the critically acclaimed, Dallas Buyers Club.
In light of the success of Bad Granpa, Knoxville signed a deal with Paramount Pictures, who he will now produce movies for through his production company, Hello Junior.
“I am over the damn moon about continuing an amazing partnership with Paramount Pictures,” he said. “I have many more movies to make and bones to break. I am glad I will be doing it for Paramount.”
It's easy to see how Knoxville fell off the wagon after the success of Jackass and it's brilliant to hear that he is beginning to turn things around again. Hopefully, we will see him back on our screens sooner rather than later.