BRAD RENFRO BY JOHNNY KNOXVILLE
(Taken from: Interview Magazine/ Feb 2003)
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When asked what he was rebelling against, Marlon Brando's outlaw biker in The Wild One (1954) famously responded, "Whaddaya got?" Brad Renfro has taken this attitude so much to heart that, whether he's attempting to steal a yacht or playing a brooding dropout all too truthfully in the controversial Bully (2001), it's unclear if his life imitates art - or if it's the other way round. Comfortably gonzo in his southern good of bad-boy persona, Renfro just can't seem to keep his rebel yell quiet. He's spellbinding because he's one of the few actors who's not afraid to live on the edge both onscreen and off. To that end, we've enlisted kindred risk-taker Johnny Knoxville to get to the heart and soul of Renfro's walk on the wild side.
BRAD RENFRO: Knox Vegas!
JOHNNY KNOXVILLE: Mr. Renfro. How are you, you little bastard?
BR: I'm doing beautifully. I've been surfing.
JK: Surfing? Hillbillies don't surf.
BR: I know, we ride motocross. And check this out, dude. I might be directing a movie. It's based on a book called Joe The Engineer.
JK: Will this be your directorial debut?
BR: No, I did a short [Meter Man]. It's about a lonely, drunken meter reader. Now that I've been in and out of jail and kind of grown up a little bit -
JK: -- Oops!
BR: That was your fault, by the way. [Knoxville laughs] I wish you'd tackled me that night, just sat on me and said, "where are you going?"
JK: I believe the incident to which you're referring involved an attempt to steal a yacht?
BR: Yeah, I wasn't going nowhere, though.
JK: Well, usually you've got to untie the boat first. You're a great actor and an amazing guitarist, but you leave a little to be desired in the sailing department.
BR: Word. That's cool
JK: Where was that, Fort Lauderdale?
BR: Yeah. How did that movie turn out that you were in when we were down there [Big Trouble]?
JK: Um, I don't think it turned out.
BR: [laughs] Oh. Did you see Bully [which Renfro was shooting at the time]?
JK: Uh, no. How'd that turn out?
BR: Brilliant! That's the reason you're talking to me right now, for interview.
JK: You're not promoting Bully - that's two years old. The theme of this issue is --
BR: -- "The New Catchers in The Rye."
JK: Exactly. Have you read the book?
BR: Of course.
JK: And your views on Holden Caulfield?
BR: I think Holden represents the new generation, the youth we're seeing today. When the book came out it was controversial, because of the mental institution. But, fuck, by the time I was 18 I'd been in three of the bastards.
I read it in ninth grade, and at the time Holden and I shared a lot of the same views, as far as --
JK: -- The phony adults?
BR: The phony adults, the guy who has on him...Holden was right: Everyone else was crazy.
JK: There you go. Ladies and gentlemen, Brad Renfro. Let's talk about Knoxville [Tennessee, Renfro and Knoxville's hometown]. When was the last time you were back there?
BR: About a month ago, and dude you've got those rednecks back in K-town all about it.
JK: All about what?
BR: Trying to be Johnny. I get there and they're running their bicycles into dumpsters and shit.
JK: Oh, don't tell me that, man. Jeez.
BR: [ laughs] Oh, and all the chicks that have never met you have now slept with you. It's crazy. But Knoxville - I say get the hell out of there. I have too many friends back there who aren't quite as ambitious as the they should be. But, hey, they definitely know how to breed 'em there. I mean, look at me and you.
JK: I believe they usually refer to that as inbreeding.
BR: The last of a dying breed, Man, I got out of joint and I've kind of --
JK: -- The joint! [laughs] Hey, is it true what they say about sex on the inside: It's all just a hustle unless you take it out the gate? I had a buddy who was in prison, and that's what he told me.
BR: Prison's different, dude, I was in a county jail.
JK: Oh. That's even worse.
BR: Yeah. But, you know. I ain't preaching to nobody. I was just really close to God, and I didn't try to get up nobody's business. I wasn't in there that long. I was cool with my hand.
JK: A couple more weeks and, you know...
BR: I would've been draping some ass.
JK: [laughs] Oh-ho-ho! Knoxville's chock-full of crazy characters. Which characters from your childhood stand out?
BR: I knew this guy once called Crowdog: he was my friend's dad. He went to pick his wife up from an AA meeting, and she had talked so bad about him in the meeting that when he got there they started hitting him with the chairs. Somebody threw a doughnut and hit him in the head. And he pulled out his pistol, shot two of 'em, and then shot his old lady.
JK: Oh, Jesus. He's doing hard time now?
BR: Well, this was back in the 70's. I'm not sure. My mother told me about it.
JK: So, how long have you been working in the business?
BR: About 10 years. I've made 16 movies. These days I ain't doing anything but work. You'd be really proud of me, Johnny, I'm doing really good.
JK: That's what I tell everyone who asks about you. I tell them, "Look, he's going to grow out of all this bullshit and he's going to do some really great work."
BR: Well, that's what I'm doing, I'm doing a movie now with Daryl Hannah called The Job. It's off the hook. And you should see Bully, Johnny. I think you'd love it. It's at Blockbuster.
JK: I will. What do you say, next time we're back home we get a couple of Smoky Mountain Market hot dogs and head up to Dollywood?
BR: Yeah, I need some funnel cakes.
JK: All right, puddin'. Take care, Brad.
BR: All right. I love you, brother. Bye.
Johnny Knoxville recently finished shooting the upcoming film Grand Theft Parsons, directed by David Caffrey.
Contributed by:cutie30996 _____________________________________________________________________________________________________