Jeff Tremaine on Jackass 3D

The Jackass director reveals all.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

Jeff Tremaine on Jackass 3D

The wait for Jackass 3D over. You don’t even fully appreciate what you’re about to witness, if you have not seen it yet. I got to ask director Jeff Tremaine about the things you saw this weekend. The return of Beavis and Butthead, tooth pulling, penis cameras and more all raise questions that must be answered in this exclusive interview.

Crave Online: Was the introduction part of MTV’s plan to bring Beavis and Butt-Head back?

Jeff Tremaine: You know, I can’t say for sure. I’ve heard that is coming back but man, we were so overjoyed when we heard that Mike was willing to do that for us. He had made Beavis and Butt-Head, I don't know if you saw it but we did an MTV 24 hour takeover and he made a little Beavis and Butt-Head about Steve-O’s rap career that is so funny. I think we aired it probably mid ‘90s. It didn’t air that often. So anyway Steve-O had a rap song and Mike Judge did a Beavis and Butt-Head about that. Mike Judge is a friend of ours. Beavis and Butt-Head goes very well with Jackass. It’s just a perfect fit.

Crave Online: How did you get the slow motion jiggle face just right?

Jeff Tremaine: You know, you shoot it, we had to shoot those a few times. When Rick got hit in the face with the dildo, that was our cameraman, that was take two, unfortunately for him. It topped him the first time. The jiggle face, that Phantom camera, that’s what’s so cool about it. A split second, you can see every little detail. These impacts, that’s one thing I liked about it because Jackass is real. The impacts, the stunts, everything is real. So to see how violent it is, that slow motion camera, you can see the whole face come off the skull and wiggle back. It takes a pretty good impact to make that happen.

Crave Online: The impacts are real but do you add sound effects?

Jeff Tremaine: Yeah, there’s the sound mix for sure but to be honest, we have a really good sound guy. So much of it is just a matter of digging it out right. There’s definitely because you also want it to go around the theater. It’s 3D so you’ve got to break the sounds down. The bees for instance in the beehive tetherball, that’s a lot of sound design too because the 3D’s so cool where the bees will buzz by your face, you want to hear it right in your ear.

Crave Online: Are there any stunts you can test first?

Jeff Tremaine: There’s little pieces of the stunt you can try but we’re not a whole lot about preparation. I deal with a bunch of guys that are pretty ADD’ed out. They don’t even want to know what’s coming next so I just surprise them with everything.

Crave Online: You don’t get a jet engine to practice with beforehand.

Jeff Tremaine: Right. Actually, we went out there and did minor, minor testing just to see the thing and to see that it would work. We didn’t do a whole lot of testing with it. We just threw watermelons and sh*t into it, just saw the violence of it and we thought that’s going to be awesome.

Crave Online: Is there a safety consultant on set?

Jeff Tremaine: There is a safety consultant. Yeah, there are. If it’s a real dangerous stunt, you can bet that we have a stunt safety guy around, but man, a lot of these things, it’s just a crap shoot. It truly is science. We don’t know. A lot of the sh*t has never been done and there’s not a great way to test a lot of the stuff. So it’s more are you willing to do this? Yup. Okay, he wants to try it. Let’s go.

Crave Online: Is there a stunt union that has issues with actors and performers doing it?

Jeff Tremaine: Man, I don't know. I haven’t heard if they do. We’ve done a lot of stuff with stuntmen that we’ll consult and tell us the best way to do this and that, but for the most part, we don’t like crash pads and we don’t like wires and everything else.

Crave Online: Is there a doctor around for stuff that could actually be medically harmful?

Jeff Tremaine: Yeah, pretty much it’s standard operating procedure that there’s an ambulance on the set. This movie is the first time, actually we learned it because we did a show called Nitro Circus, that we brought a physical therapist with us too so the guys could get stretched out and worked on if they did run into some problems.

Crave Online: How about a dentist for the tooth pull?

Jeff Tremaine: Well, we had a dentist there for that. We were ready.

Crave Online: This looks better than anything you shot before on HD cameras.

Jeff Tremaine: Because we didn’t shoot it on HD cameras. The last movie we shot pretty much standard def. They didn’t have at that time run and gun HD. It’s even the first HD one so this is the first time we’re ever really shooting on anything close to real technology. The last movie we shot just on little PD150s, the little Panasonics.

Crave Online: How did the penis cam work?

Jeff Tremaine: That was a little tiny camera. That wasn’t a 3D camera so the penis camera, the little point of view cameras are so small now you can put them anywhere. That’s a funny idea because Bam had that idea and I think he was loaded when he told me about it because I reminded him, “Hey, let’s go shoot Wienervision.” He was like, “What?” “Yeah, you know, you wanted to strap a camera to your dick and go around peeing on people?” “I did?” I’m like, “Well, you’re doing it. Let’s go.”

Crave Online: Do you pay for damage you cause doing a bit?

Jeff Tremaine: Yeah, if we damage someone’s property for sure. The way we do a lot, that’s usually we find a place and talk to the owner and make sure the owner’s cool and that we feel him out to make sure he’s not telling the employees because it’s all about spoofing the employees. So that’s sort of a crap shoot because you never know if this owner’s truly going to tell them or not and you can see it right away if they knew it was coming. But you get a good gauge. We found a guy that loved the idea.

Crave Online: Is that built into the budget of the movie?

Jeff Tremaine: Yeah, you figure there’s going to be stuff like that.

Crave Online: How much of the music is on the soundtrack?

Jeff Tremaine: Almost all of it to be honest. Music is so important to Jackass. Knoxville and I pretty much pick almost all of it. Every now and then someone suggested a song, we’ll go find it, put it in but the song makes or breaks the bit. That’s one of my favorite things to do actually is just dig through and find music for this thing.

Crave Online: Did you get an advance on the Weezer song?

Jeff Tremaine: The Weezer thing came in late. We’re friends with Weezer’s manager and we know Weezer. We’ve known them for a while now. Their manager came in and said, “Hey, Weezer’s got an album dropping about the same time you guys want to drop your soundtrack.” We were like, “Cool, come in, let’s hear some songs.” They played the one song Memories, I was like, “You know what? This is our ten year anniversary. This goes hand in hand with what we’re up to.” It just was serendipity, you know.

Crave Online: What cool stuff can be in Jackass 3.5?

Jeff Tremaine: Oh, man, 3.5 is awesome. This movie was the hardest one so far to make the final cut. We’ve kicked so many really good things out of the movie. A lot of times it’s just because it’s too similar to something that’s just a little bit better or there’s too much vomiting, too much of this thing or that thing. 3.5 is going to be great and I hope we can show it in 3D because it’s mostly in 3D as well.

Crave Online: Will it be more of a behind the scenes like 2.5 or just a standalone Jackass movie?

Jeff Tremaine: It still needs, because some of the funniest things are failed bits that need a little bit of narration. You need to explain what’s happening behind the camera. You’ve got to tell why it’s funny, and then you play these failures out. We did this thing, we had a two man donkey suit and we wanted a donkey to run up and basically hump the guys. We tried it so many times and it just failed every time but the failures are hilarious.

Crave Online: Do you ever worry about a serious permanent injury happening?

Jeff Tremaine: Absolutely, that’s a huge concern. That’s the stress of it and it’s absolutely a crap shoot each time. Knock on wood that it never happens.

Crave Online: Does Spike Jonze direct the opening and closing segments?

Jeff Tremaine: He helped a ton on it. He’s definitely involved in that.