Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Here's How The COVID Pandemic Really Affected Jackass Forever

If 2020 was anything, it was a worldwide slap in the face. Still, you'd think that some people would be used to that sort of thing by now. The cast of "Jackass," for example, has made a pretty solid living getting slapped in all sorts of places. For most of us, 2020 made a simple trip to the grocery store feel like a death-defying stunt worthy of Knoxville and his pain-loving cohort. If anyone was going to show up to the last 18 months with a subtle air of experience and the collectively callused sense of dignity necessary to keep soldiering on, it would have been them. Right?

Kind of. In a recent interview with The Nine Club, Jason "Wee Man" Acuña got candid about the process of creating the latest — and theoretically final — installment of a story on par with the Marvel Cinematic Universe or The Skywalker Saga. We are speaking, of course, of the "Jackass" epic. "Jackass Forever," not to be confused with "Batman," "Wakanda," or "To All The Boys Always and," famously suffered from its share of production setbacks due to interpersonal drama, but the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be a predictably immense thorn in the movie's side. It turns out that making a movie about a bunch of guys traveling and messing with strangers gets a little more difficult when said guys can't travel or be around other people. The schtick doesn't exactly lend itself to a closed set.

Jackass Forever 'hurt more,' according to Wee Man

Speaking on the subject of "Jackass Forever" and the general "Jackass" oeuvre, The Nine Club host Chris Roberts expressed his admiration for the cast's laissez faire attitude with regards to mortal peril. "People break their necks stepping off a curb," he stated, comparing the dangers of day-to-day life with Jason Acuña and company's willingness to, by way of example, play tetherball with a hive of killer bees. Or pull a real-life Arthur Fonzarelli and attempt an ill-fated leap over a family of circling sharks. (Best Shark Week stunt ever, by the way.)

Acuña was quick to point out that "Jackass 4" was shot with a different energy, and for that he blames — or credits — the global pandemic. "This next one, because of COVID ... we couldn't fly and mess with people and all that," he recalled. "I'll just say this: it's backyard 'f*** each other up' stuff. That's all it is. And that's all I can say about it." 

Faced with that ominous teaser, Roberts became concerned that a "different energy" might connote a lack of serious injuries sustained by the cast. What would a fourth "Jackass" feature be without the attendant emergency room visits and the ensuing barrage of insurance claims, after all? Rest assured, Wee Man confirmed that he absolutely hurt himself filming "Forever." 

Roberts didn't even finish asking "did you ever get badly hurt?" before Acuña kicked in, emphatically repeating the word "yes." He even went so far as to promise that, compared to previous outings with the "Jackass" crew, "this one hurt more." If that's not a guaranteed good time at the theater, nothing is.

Jackass Forever became a 'guinea pig'

"Jackass Forever" became part of the most ill-timed class of productions in film history, as the crew attempted to begin shooting in the halcyon days of Q1 2020. At this time, the pandemic was in its infancy, and very few people were even taking the early reports of a novel coronavirus in escalating circulation seriously. As we all remember, that changed quickly, and films in the midst of photography like "Jackass Forever" had to respond with due haste. Many shut down completely, but to hear Wee Man tell it, "Jackass Forever" took a different approach. 

"We started before COVID, we took the COVID break, and Paramount used us as the guinea pig to see how studios could get back into filming," Acuña said. "And we had to do all the tests, and do it all. And they're like, 'Well, "Jackass" guys did it.' It was then used as a tool to get the other ones going." From how Acuña tells it, it sounds like Paramount was more than willing to let the "Jackass" crew serve as a proof of concept, putting the cast's taste for danger up to viral scrutiny to see if a production could carry on under a regime of rigorous testing and social distancing. 

Acuña went on to say the original goal was to make "Jackass" fun again, which he attributes to the cast's now-advanced age. As luck would have it for fans of self-inflicted pain, the pandemic busted up that vision for whatever reason. "COVID made us beat each other up again," he said. And why wouldn't it? 

"Jackass Forever" is slated to hit theaters on October 22, 2021.