Safety is important on any set. If people come to work, they expect to make it through the day unharmed. But there are some movies where a lack of safety for the cast is part of the job.
I'm talking about Jackass movies.
Whether they're dressing like gorillas and running through a market, crashing golf carts, running too fast on treadmills, or just putting things in their butts, these sets are not the pinnacle of safety.
So what's it like being the person who monitors all of that? Vice recently sat down with the safety supervisor on the recent Jackass movie to see what it's like wrangling all these people.
Charlie Grisham is the production’s stunt coordinator. He came from blockbuster movies like Minority Report and The Dark Knight Rises. Then one day he found himself on a set where getting hurt was the objective of the stars.
Grisham helped this gang put finishing touches on stunts and balanced freaking out with laughing while on set.
He told Vice, "I’m there for 90% of everything they shoot. I try to run the other way when the penises come out. But even if it’s not really a stunt-y scene, I’m there with eyes out. These guys are like family to me, so I'm doing everything I can to not let my little brother or big brother get hurt. But it’s a very fine line. If I make it extra safe, we might as well not have even shot it, because it’ll go right to the cutting room floor. There are going to be some injuries, but we have to keep them minimal. That’s where it gets very tricky for me."
Of course, he didn't let these guys just do whatever they wanted. There's always a line to draw, and he had to spend a lot of time convincing them of where that line should be.
As he puts it, "Absolutely. I’ve done it before. But it’s very, very, very rare that I veto anything. I grew up a Jackass fan, and I’ve done four movies with Knoxville, so I understand 100% what we're trying to do. When they come to me and say, 'We want to do this,' I don't say no. I just think of a way to do it [more safely]—like, 'What if we scooted it over five feet and he landed on a trashcan instead of the concrete?' If I’m gonna say no, I have another option in my head. It’s their idea, and it’s still insanely crazy. It’s just tweaked to the right or left a little."
That tweaking contributed to the fourth film in an exciting franchise full of gags that are hard to believe at times. Those gags, while dangerous, also are so much fun. And working on them is just as fun, once you get around all the worries, technical information, and dry runs.
Grisham says, "Eighty to 90% of the time, it is so much fun. The Jackass movies are, hands down, the most fun of all the movies I’ve ever worked on. To this day, it’s like Christmas morning. When I go home, I want to hurry up and go to bed so I can get up and go to work the next day. But then there are the four, five, six times during the movie where it’s not fun for me, like the day with the bull. Those days are very, very, very stressful. It’s tough for me, because as a stunt coordinator on a normal set, I don’t ever allow anyone to even have a little scratch on them. But these guys are doing 100 of their own stunts. It isn't like we tested it and we know it's 100% safe. These are the real deal. When I go to other movie sets, if we even put a little bruise on an actor, I feel like I’ve failed. And over here, we’re gonna hit Knoxville with a professional bull. It’s completely two different worlds."
Have you seen Jackass Forever? What was the stunt that shocked you the most while watching it? Let us know in the comments.