For an actor who made his career out of physical injuries, you might think early retirement is the only way to go. Not for Johnny Knoxville. The notorious daredevil is best known for his role in the stunt show Jackass, and the films which followed. Knoxville and the Jackass crew would turn outrageously dangerous stunts into comedy – milking laughs from each setup and the injuries that resulted. Danger never seemed to stop Knoxville. Now, five years after his last stunt-filled film, Bad Grandpa, he is back with Action Point.
Unlike Knoxville’s previous stunt-based films, Action Point has a scripted story and characters. 47-year-old Knoxville stars as D.C., the oddball owner of Action Point, a low-rent theme park which minimizes safety in the hope of maximizing fun. When D.C.’s estranged daughter Boogie comes to town, he tries to fix their relationship while pushing the limits of Action Point to compete with a nearby corporate theme park.
It’s Based On An Infamous Real Park
The most surprising aspect of Action Point is not that the stunts are real, but that the film is based on a real park. Action Park, often jokingly referred to as “Class Action Park,” was an infamous New Jersey attraction that opened in the late ’70s and welcomed customers through the ’90s. In the 1980s, injuries ran rampant at the park thanks to shoddy design and poorly-trained staff. According to NJ.com, 110 injuries occurred at Action Park in just one summer. That didn’t keep customers away, however.
Knoxville’s character in Action Point is loosely based on real-life park owner Eugene Mulvihill. Clearly, the park focused more on the thrills then it did on potential safety of its guests. One of the park’s most notorious attractions, the Cannonball Loop, came into creation after Eugene drew up the design on a napkin. After the ride was up and running, Eugene’s son tested it… while wearing hockey pads. This certainly seems right up Knoxville’s alley. A documentary about Action Park inspired Knoxville to invent a story about his own park that doesn’t worry about rules.
More Painful Than Jackass
All the stunts in the film are real; there’s no movie magic or crafty editing in Action Point. Knoxville, of course, is at the center of the most dangerous sequences, often accompanied by fellow Jackass alum Chris Pontius. The story might not be what Jackass fans are used to, but the content is certainly enough to reel in thrill-seekers and comedy fans alike.
Considering the basis for the film, it is no surprise that Knoxville did not come out of filming unscathed. During the movie’s shoot in South Africa, Knoxville became a frequent visitor to the local ER. The actor and stuntman shared insight into his hazardous action throughout Action Point in an interview with VICE:
“I thought of the most painful stunts I could, and we made a film. And boy did it cost me: I got more injured on this than on any Jackass film I’ve ever done. Because all the stunts we did were real. I asked the stunt guys, “Look, we’re gonna do them for real. So no pads, and no cutting on the action.” I felt kind of bad for asking them to do that, but actually they were psyched because they never get a chance to do that. There was a good energy on set.”
Besides suffering from whiplash, multiple concussions, a wrecked meniscus, and a broken hand, Knoxville endured an injury he’ll never forget. After face-planting during a stunt, he spent some time in the ER with a concussion and a bloody nose. When he went to blow his nose, his eyeball popped out of the socket. This horrified the crew members, and presumably the actor himself. Need proof that Knoxville went harder for this movie than he ever has? Battle scars are here to prove everyone wrong.
Knoxville didn’t create Action Point for people to laugh at his pain. He set out to create a form of comedy which handles stunt work like no other. His approach to media is the epitome of the saying, “go big or go home.” Fortunately for fans, Knoxville shows no signs of slowing down.
Action Point hits theaters June 1, 2018.