ARNOLD SCWARZENEGGER AND JOHNNY KNOXVILLE
By Gary Murray
Dallas Texas became a bright light in the Hollywood sky as two of America’s most exciting actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Johnny Knoxville traveled the red carpet, promoting their newest feature The Last Stand.
Directed by Jee-Woon Kim, the film is of a stand-off between a Sheriff (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and a military-armed group of drug dealers who are trying to get their boss from the federal authorities and to the border. It is an action-packed, in-your-face adventure that feels like a film from the 1980s.
Johnny Knoxville is one of the crazy stunt-performers from the highly successful series of Jackass films and television shows as well as the movies Walking Tall, The Dukes of Hazzard and The Ringer. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from being the biggest star in the world to the governor of California. This his first major film since his retirement from politics.
Both Johnny and Arnold were thrilled by the thousands of fans who screamed and yelled as the two performers made their way down the press isle. On making the film rather than doing his Jackass stunts, Johnny said, “I had a ball. It was the thrill of my life. I was totally out of character–that was me just having a ball. It’s more fun doing movies because you can’t accidentally kill anybody.”
Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez was on hand and gave both Arnold and Johnny a Sheriff’s star. When receiving the badge, Johnny said, “I feel like I can go and start some trouble.”
Of the award, Arnold commented, “My whole life I’ve always admired tremendously law enforcement. We play action heroes but there is a difference between movie action heroes and the real action heroes. The police are the real action heroes.”
Arnold had nothing but praises for his co-star, Johnny. “We were very fortunate to have Johnny in the film to create the comic relief,” he said. “That is so important in action movies. You can have all those chase scenes, action scenes and shoot-outs but if you don’t have comic relief, you don’t have anything. So Johnny provided that and he has done a great job. He has been a great partner and of course my whole family always idolized him and his great entertainment he has provided us over the years.”
Johnny was thrilled to be working with one of the biggest stars of all time. He said, “It was intimidating. I was so nervous at first because he is such a hero of mine. Just to meet him, let alone do a movie with him, did in my head just a little. But he’s so nice when you meet him, so genuine with everyone and having so much fun. You could tell he was thrilled to be on the set and it just calmed me down to where I could just function a little.”
Johnny was excited to be in the Lone Star State again. “I’ve shot movies down here before and had a ball,” he said. “I shot a movie down in Austin. I love Dallas and any excuse to come to Texas.”
Director Jee-Woon Kim is from Korea and had a limited grasp of the language. “He speaks English,” said Johnny, “but he just didn’t feel comfortable speaking it on the set, giving directions. We had translators and that worked very well. When he would give you directions, he acts it out anyway. So you could tell what he wants even before he’s finished talking. He’s a wonderful director and gave such specific directions. He’s really gifted.” Johnny said that he would love to more action movies and there has been talk of a Jackass action movie.
When asked which is better being Mr. Universe, being California Governor or being a film star, Arnold was very matter-of-fact. “I had a great time in all of those things. I was very fortunate to have all three of those careers. I know at the same time it is important to give back, to do some non-profit work. I work in the After School programs and the Special Olympics. I am fortunate to walk in all of those shoes.”
He seemed to be very excited about being back in the spotlight. “It is great to do action movies and work with the younger generation like Johnny Knoxville. He is known for doing stunts that always screw-up. In this movie, he did not screw-up and he’s hilarious. We had a terrific time.”
“My career is something that could only happen in America,” Arnold said of his success. “This is the best country in the world.”
He ended the night by saying his famous line “I’ll be back.”