How Gia Coppola got Andrew Garfield to discover his inner ‘Jackass’

How do you get actor Andrew Garfield — Tony Award winner, former Spider-Man — to faucet into his inner Johnny Knoxville?

Have the true man readily available, mentioned director Gia Coppola.

The “Jackass” collection creator performs a small position in Coppola’s new film, “Mainstream,” out Friday, which stars Garfield as a charismatic drifter who turns into an web sensation. For among the movie’s largest scenes, Coppola tapped Knoxville’s pranking recommendation. “That’s really his art form,” she advised The Post over Zoom. “And so much of the content in this [current internet] world is an homage to ‘Jackass,’ creating these kinds of stunts.”

Hence, she options one scene by which Garfield’s character runs down a serious LA road, carrying a pretend penis — and never a lot else.

Maya Hawke plays an aspiring filmmaker who sees the Johnny Knoxville-esque character No One Special (Andrew Garfield) as her muse.
Maya Hawke performs an aspiring filmmaker who sees the Johnny Knoxville-esque character No One Special (Andrew Garfield) as her muse.
©IFC Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Originally, this was written as a much tamer stunt,” she mentioned. “But I asked Andrew, ‘Would you be down for doing this on Hollywood Boulevard?’ And he was like, ‘Hell, yeah!’ And then he went further and decided to add a prosthetic d - - k, instead of us just blurring out nude underwear.”

This is the second movie from 34-year-old Coppola, whose household identify is synonymous with moviemaking: Her grandfather is Francis Ford Coppola, and her aunt is Sofia Coppola. Nicolas Cage is one cousin of many. 

Gia Coppola
“Mainstream” is the second movie from director Gia Coppola.
Corbis through Getty Images

Her sophomore movie, after 2013’s “Palo Alto,” sees Garfield’s mysterious, hyperenergetic character intersecting with an aspiring filmmaker (Maya Hawke of “Stranger Things”) and changing into her muse. Their YouTube collaboration along with her author greatest good friend (Nat Wolff of “The Stand“) ends up bringing them fame, and the insanity that can come with it. “I was excited to have someone like Andrew, who is typically cast as the hero, for this character who’s wild and big and crazy,” Coppola mentioned. “To let him run free and experiment with it.” 

In one other scene, Garfield’s character, who calls himself No One Special, seems on a panel of real-life personalities, together with infamous YouTuber Jake Paul, Japanese mannequin and TV character Rola, and make-up artist Patrick Starr. What none of them knew, aside from Knoxville because the scene’s fictional host, was that Garfield deliberate to freak out, leap up on the desk and seem to use it as a rest room. 

“We cut out that part in the script,” Coppola mentioned she advised Paul and the others. “We only had one opportunity to really try and surprise them. It was fun to have Knoxville around to figure out how to execute it.”

Reactions to the meltdown diverse wildly. “Rola’s gut reaction was just to stay there. Jake Paul pulled out his camera. And Patrick just bolted.”

Coppola additionally forged her cousin Jason Schwartzman, as a sleazy agent to the trio. Behind the digital camera, she mentioned, he was a font of assist. “Jason is hilarious, he’s nonstop. I ask questions, and he just runs wild.” 

Coppola’s cousin Jason Schwartzman (right) also stars in “Mainstream,” as a sleazy talent agent.
Coppola’s cousin Jason Schwartzman (proper) additionally stars in “Mainstream,” as a sleazy expertise agent.
©IFC Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

As for the director’s emotions about on-line tradition, she will sum it up in a single scene: “When Maya’s character throws up [animated] emoji, that was how I was feeling. Inundated with content. I really needed to get it off my chest.”

After the vicarious cinematic purge, she mentioned she feels a lot better. “My relationship with social media has really been relieved!”

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