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Between the Motos: Jeremy Rawle

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Jeremy Rawle controls the chaos in the Nitro Circus. Think of him as the lion tamer who goes out there and cracks the whip under the big-top. As the producer, director and sometimes actor, the man wears many hats. Monday was the iTunes debut of the seventh Nitro Circus movie, Nitro Circus: Country Fried, so we talked to Jeremy about the process of defying death and what it means to him.

  • Jeremy Rawle
Racer X: Jeremy, you have a new movie out! Tell us about it.
Jeremy Rawle: Yeah, it’s Nitro Circus: Country Fried and it hit the streets right before Thanksgiving. Myself, Travis [Pastrana], the Godfrey Film guys and everyone involved is more excited about this movie then we have been in a number of years. We’re very excited about how this came out and we think that people will be entertained to no end when they pick this up. It’s available in all moto shops and it’s available on iTunes right now was well. It costs a little less on iTunes and one of the nice things about the MTV show is that the distribution has gotten broader and you’ll soon see it in Best Buy and places like that.

What I would like to point out is that we’ve stretched ourselves in this new movie like we never have before. We upped our production value in ways that Hollywood spends millions of dollars doing. My biggest highlight of the movie is not so much the Travis stuff, but more what we did with Chad Reed. We shot him with the phantom camera, which is like slowing time down, and caught him going around the berm with all the explosions going on around him. Our careers have afforded us ways to shoot this thing so much better than we ever have before. This is beyond Hollywood stuff and is the cutting edge of production. We did this on an action sports level. Chad Reed did things for us that a guy at his level would never do with all the things that he has going on. It’s been my favorite film of the bunch.

I spoke to Travis a little while ago for an online interview, and Pastrana being Pastrana, he was amazed that he’s allowed to keep trying to do whatever it is that he feels like doing to entertain himself. As the producer of the series, what’s it like watching he and his buddies try to maim themselves?
Yeah, I direct, produce, and appear in the films and I’ll tell you what, his comment to you probably stems from all of us starting this film series years ago. It’s basically been like the Wild West for us; no rules, no corporate attorneys, no one to tell us no, and we just took a camera around and filmed things. The past year and a half of filming with MTV, we’ve actually had a corporate attorney on set with us and we’ve got safety people everywhere and tons of red tape we have to cut through to do a stunt. So for this film we went back to our old ways and it’s been refreshing for us to be able to do that. Suddenly we got back into everything and remembered how fun the old days were.

Does Country Fried have any MTV’s Nitro Circus footage in it?
It probably has about ten seconds of footage in it. We just used a little bit and that’s it. Everything else is original and shot for this movie.

Have you been on board with Greg Godfrey since the beginning of the whole thing?
Oh yeah, in fact Greg came up with the name “Nitro” and I threw out the word “Circus.” I’ve been here from the beginning.

Okay, let me ask you this then – Has there ever been a stunt that maybe went too far or had you thinking that you needed to stop filming?
Well, as a producer/director type, it’s a super fine line because number one, you don’t want to kill anyone. None of us are in this thing to die, not even Travis, despite what some people think.  That would ruin this whole thing for us. You also don’t want to try to stop these guys, as they’re going to do what they want to do and you don’t want to go in there and put the brakes on it on something that they’re going to do anyway. That just slows momentum and induces doubt which brings into question the success of a stunt. You could be the guy that brings in the negative, and so it’s a delicate balance and I don’t know if we’ve ever struck the balance perfectly, but I think we’ve done a good job over the years to make sure that we come out alive at the other end. On every single stunt I get nervous and I start to get religious even though I’m not.  I really get nervous, but at the same time, you have to step up and instill confidence in the guys. Also, when we ask these guys to do some crazy stunt, we have to make sure that we step up and give these guys all the resources that we have to make sure everything works out. You don’t see all the stuff that we’ve done in the film, all the precautions, all the practice that is done, nobody sees that, but it’s being done.

  • Nitro Circus: Country Fried is available now on iTunes and DVD.
All of us in the moto world know about Pastrana’s nuttiness. We know the deal and enjoy watching him. Did you have any idea just how popular the show would be with the mainstream public?
I don’t think anybody would have guessed that. We’ve been doing our thing and we would still be doing our thing even if it was never on MTV. That was just a nice little benefit that came out of us doing our stunts.

How did it all start with MTV? Did the suits there get it at first?
I think that all the guys at MTV got it immediately when they started seeing the footage, that was how we got our start. We somehow got in with the Dickhouse guys, who are the ones responsible for the Jackass series, and the producers there, Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Germain, collaborated with us on something they were doing which was a 24-hour takeover of MTV a few years back. It wasn’t anything really to do with Jackass-style, which is something that we get from time to time, but isn’t really what we do.

There are some similarities between the two crews, but then again, there are some differences as well. One thing that is the same is that we’re both a tight-knit group of guys who go out and have some fun and film it. The difference is that those guys usually want it to end bad for someone, while our goal is to end it successfully. We never want it to go badly or poorly. Hold on, Kurt Nicoll is trying to interrupt me here…

Well he has finished second in the world many times; perhaps you should let him interrupt us.
I know and honestly I’d rather not finish at all than finish second so many times. Hey, he just told me that he heard the David Thorpe podcast and wants to know who the hell Dave Thorpe is. (Laughs)

Well, you can tell him that Thorpe would the Englishman that actually delivered the World Title to the Motherland!
Good one. That’s true and I’m going to remind him of that.

So what’s next for the Godfrey Crew?
Well, there are a lot of things that we want to keep doing. We’re not going to stop and we are starting to gear up with the whole cast next week in Southern California to get ready for our world tour. We’re going to Australia for six weeks of shows, and then in the fall of 2010 we’ll expand into New Zealand and Europe. We’re looking to take on new challenges all the time and this thing is going to be big.

Well this is all predicated on the fact that Travis is able to get out of his car New Years Eve when it’s sinking into the ocean.
Yeah, for sure this is all depended on the scuba divers getting to him fast enough and yanking him out of the water. We’ll see I guess.

{LINKS}What’s Highway 61?
It’s an independent feature film that I produced and we brought it under the Godfrey Entertainment umbrella but it has nothing to do with action sports and all that. It’s a straight up movie. You ask me what’s next and believe it or not, these kinds of things are something that we’re thinking about on a partnership level with myself, Travis and Godfrey. Travis is into this as much as anyone. Even though he and Greg didn’t have much to do with this movie, they are still into the whole process. We produced it in true independent rebel-style feature filmmaking.

We’ve been around long enough in the action sports world to have everything that we need as far as sponsors and distribution. This is really laying it out there, you’re spending your own money, donating your time and doing something for the love of it. Pastrana is writing scripts for us that are for feature films and it’s amazing that with all he has going on in his life, he’s figuring out how to operate the screenplay writing software and is figuring out how to write screenplays.
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