Travis Shinn (photographer),
Rocky Rakovic (writer)
If you don’t immediately recognize the man to the right, that’s because he is normally wearing far less. The artful dodger of cheetahs and nut shots has made a name for himself dressing like Tarzan and male strippers on Wildboyz and the Jackass projects. But while Jackass 3D was number one at the box office, Chris Pontius made us hip to his next release, Somewhere. The Sofia Coppola film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and is every bit as poignant as Lost in Translation. Somewhere, set in Los Angeles’s Chateau Marmont, follows the relationship between lothario actor Johnny Marco (played by Stephen Dorff) and his young daughter (Elle Fanning). In his biggest scripted role Pontius plays Marco’s buddy, Sammy—a wild boy.
INKED: Did you feel out of your element shooting with Sofia Coppola and company?
PONTIUS: Working with anybody is different than working with Jackass guys. The Somewhere set was super-comfortable, though. Before we started filming, Sofia had me come over to hang out in the hotel with Stephen Dorff to work up rapport. Going in, the only connection I had to him was that I am good friends with a girl he had a romance with when he was in Europe. So when we met I made mention of this Irish girl I knew. Sofia heard us talking and she said that based on Dorff’s character being a ladies’ man I should say something like that in the movie. From the beginning it let me know that the script was open and it broke the ice, so we got along great from there.
Had you known Coppola before?
We’ve been friends. She called me and said that the part would be perfect for me.
Do you think she wrote the character with you in mind?
Huh, I hadn’t thought about that. Wow, that could be true.
Even if the role was loosely based on you, was it different playing Sammy than doing the Jackass stunts?
I don’t really like watching myself in general. When I [screened] Somewhere I watched it as if that wasn’t me, like it was some other guy in the movie. It was weird—it was the first time I watched a character in a movie rather than thinking about myself. Somewhere was acting and, whereas I might have different characters in Jackass, they are more like my alter egos.
You are Party Boy?
I am Party Boy, Bunny Lifeguard, and a few random ones that come out a few times—I have some that haven’t even come out yet. It depends on the situation; if there is water nearby that is when the Bunny Lifeguard comes out.
Most of your egos are scantily clad.
I have a new naked character that I haven’t come up with a name for yet. Male nudity is always funny.
For someone who doesn’t like to watch himself, do you ever feel exposed or exploited with all the nude scenes?
No way. I’ve found that the nudest person has all the power. Think about it: Would you chase or tackle a naked guy? I’ve been on the other side when naked people come up to me and I don’t like it at all.