As the voice of Leonardo (modeled by Alan Ritchson) in the 2014 film adaptation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Johnny Knoxville is nowhere to be seen. The role behind the scenes is a far cry from the days when him and his team of adrenaline junkies were the face of MTV as the stars of Jackass.
At the height of the show's mainstream success, which included film adaptations and endless amount of publicity and TV appearances for Knoxville, the actor wasn’t above exploring subcultures, such as punk (Lords of Dogtown) and bears (A Dirty Shame).
His appearance in the John Waters film and an open affinity for bear culture that he developed on set — the actor got a tattoo of a bear on his arm with Grrr! written across its belly when American Grizzly refused to put him on the cover — prompted Out to ponder if Knoxville was the gayest straight guy ever. It also helped that Jackass was perceived, by some viewers, as really, really gay.
“A few different publications gave us awards for, uh, gayness,” Knoxville told Out in 2006. “After this next movie comes out we might be looking at some lifetime achievement awards.”
But the actor readily admitted the show had its homoerotic qualities: jockish straight boys “wrestle around and hurt each other. There's ass play, giggling. It just comes real natural.”
Johnny Knoxville can be heard in Michael Bay's version of TMNT in theaters now and most recently on the small screen in Comedy Central's Drunk History.