After Watching Jackass Forever, I Totally Get The ‘Promise’ Johnny Knoxville Made To His Kids About Making Another Movie

 Johnny Knoxville just before a bull charged him in Jackass Forever.
Johnny Knoxville just before a bull charged him in Jackass Forever.

Anyone who watched Jackass Forever in 2022 knows that it generally felt like the hits were coming harder while the guys were going less hard, if that makes sense. While the majority of the stunts weren’t nearly as reckless as past iterations of the franchise (many of the guys are also sober now), even with young blood added, the main cast is much older. There was nothing that really hammered home this concept more than Johnny Knoxville choosing to get into a ring with a bull again, to disastrous results.

Now, he's spoken about how he feels and whether a potential Jackass 5 could touch on this sort of sketch again.

Jackass’ History With Bull Stunts On The Big Screen

Through the history of Jackass, bulls have been a mainstay. In every single Jackass movie to date, there has been a bull-related segment. In the first movie, the plot of the stunt was pretty straightforward, with members of the cast being tasked to simply step in a ring and work things out with a bull. In Jackass Number Two, the plot was amped up considerably, with four of the guys on a sort of seesaw trying to outwit one another as an angry bull charged around.

Jackass 3D has what is probably the funniest bull sketch, in my opinion, where Johnny Knoxville dresses up in paint camouflaged to look like a farm setting (but with a giant target literally painted on his back).

But when Jackass 3D came out in 2010, Knoxville was not even 40 yet. By 2022, when Jackass Forever came out, the funnyman and stunt performer was over 50. Honestly, that’s a big difference in terms of agility and your body's fragility, but he ultimately went for it in the fourth movie anyway.

Frankly, the stunt is harrowing, the bull is bigger and angrier and we see a shot of Steve-O looking concerned (after admitting on cam he hates this stunt more than anything else the gang does) before Knoxville is literally plowed down and knocked out. It’s all shown on camera and it led to the stuntman going to the hospital. Knoxville's spoken openly about dealing with brain damage after the incident, though he’s said he doesn’t regret it.

The Promise Johnny Knoxville Has Made His Kids

We’ll get more into the major injury Knoxville suffered on the set of Jackass Forever in just a minute, but Knoxville has also spoken out about why he felt like there needed to be a bull stunt in the latest movie in the franchise. He said he knew it would be probably his last opportunity to actually do the big stunts, even if Jackass 5 ever gets made.

I knew going into this film that this will be the last time I’m gonna be doing big stunts. I didn’t know I was going to get as injured as I did, but I brought that on myself. I have nothing to complain about, only things to be grateful for.

Now, though, he's made a “promise” to his kids that he wouldn’t put himself at risk for any more concussions – if he ever does major stunt work again. During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show, he told Fallon the specific agreement he’d made with his family.

I made a promise to my kids that I wouldn’t do anymore stunts where I’m gonna get another concussion. I’ve had too many concussions. I don’t care if I like, break my arm or wrist or anything, but I can’t have any more concussions.

It makes sense. Knoxville has said  the stunt was ill-conceived from the start and the bull was simply not excited about his antics this time around.

I was trying to do a magic trick in a bull ring. I wanted to prank an animal, and that’s what we came up with.

Director Jeff Tremaine admitted the stunt knocked the actor out for 3-4 minutes in the same interview with Variety. And Steve-O called watching Johnny Knoxville put his body at the mercy of a bull a “bummer.” While he sounds a bit more committed to his own personal safety moving forward, he hasn’t stopped writing down Jackass ideas, also telling Fallon:

I still write ideas for it, just because I have a lot of time on my hands. But I don’t know if we’ll ever do another one. It’s kinda [like] you get the feeling, and then ‘let’s do another,’ so I don’t know.

Listen, I get why Knoxville wanted to commit to a bull stunt for one final movie, particularly given a lot of the stunts in the last film were a bit tamer and this stunt did up the ante in regards to danger a bit. While I’m happy for him that he doesn’t look back and regret his choice, I’m also happy his kids have committed him to keeping two feet firmly planted outside of a bull ring moving forward.