Though he may always be best known for his cringe-worthy stunts in the eternally popular Jackass series, Johnny Knoxville is certainly serious about moving his career past that one franchise (probably a wise move, considering how close to permanent disfigurement Jackass seems to bring him on an alarmingly frequent basis). Now, Knoxville has signed on for a leading role in Universal’s comedy Sick Day, which will mark his biggest acting challenge to date.
Described as a “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” Sick Day will follow three friends who call in sick once a year in hopes of fulfilling all their wildest fantasies without getting caught. Knoxville is the first actor attached to the film, which features a script by Jordan Cahan and Jeremy Garelick. Sick Day will mark Garelick’s sophomore outing as a director, following his upcoming comedy The Wedding Ringer. Cahan previously wrote My Best Friend’s Girl, while Garelick is known for penning The Break-Up and working on The Hangover.
Sick Day is just the latest in a string of film projects for Knoxville. He recently co-starred in the Arnold Schwarzenegger nonstarter The Last Stand and co-starred in a film that premiered at last year’s South by Southwest Film Festival titled Small Apartments. The actor has also recorded lines for the part of Leonardo in this summer’s live-action adaptation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
If Sick Day comes together, it will mark Knoxville’s largest non-Jackass movie yet. Universal seems confident in the actor’s ability to fill theater seats, though. So while his comedic talents are certainly not in question, his marketability is. Will people actually flock to see a Johnny Knoxville comedy without knowing that he’ll be putting his life on the line for a series of elaborate stunts? Judging by the success of the narratively heftier Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, I’d say there’s a good chance that Knoxville is gaining recognition, but it’s unclear whether he’s capable of carrying a big studio comedy on his own yet.
What do you think? Can the actor lead a non-Jackass film successfully?