It's probably safe to say that when anyone thinks about the word "daredevil" they'll probably think first about Evel Knievel. There may be no one in the history of extreme sports who has captured our collective attention as much as he. In fact, he gave birth to the extreme sports era which we now enjoy with the likes of Tony Hawk, Matt Hoffman, Travis Pastrana, and many, many others. Completing tricks now that Evel probably dreamed of, there is no doubt that all of these men and women involved with extreme sports consider Evel the Godfather of it all.
Rising as a trouble-maker from Butte, Montana in his youth, he would find his calling by going fast and living faster. As a young man he would evade the police, steal money from the local business, and sold insurance policies to patients at a mental hospital.
Moving away from Butte, he would put on shows in southern California to small crowds. The first time he really captured national attention was with his much hyped, and then subsequently viewed, crash in 1967 when he attempted to jump the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. From that point forward his daring, boldness, and brash attitude went hand-in-hand with his white leather jumpsuit. And most of us know about his crashes and his big landings, but there was another side to Evel. As a performer, he was never satisfied. And that bled into his personal life as well. From drinking to women, he lived fast and loose with the people around him.
Directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Daniel Junge - who won in 2012 for Best Documentary (Short Subject) for "Saving Face" - "Being Evel" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Produced for History films, the film was written by Junge and Davis Coombe (who both live in Denver) and was produced by Brendan Kiernan, Justing Moore-Lewy, Matt Hoffman, Jeff Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville.
Especially for Knoxville, who speaks quite a bit in the film, Evel was the ultimate hero. Sure there was Superman and Batman, but Evel could actually fly. He could take a bike and float it over trucks and buses. His stunts inspired a whole new generation of athletes and performers. Though Knoxville and his show "Jackass" are more known for stunts-gone-bad, you could make a case that Evel's crashes captured more attention than the successful stunts ever did.
"Being Evel" was recently picked up for distribution here so expect to see it out soon and we'd highly recommend it. It was a fascinating look at Evel Knievel's death-defying career and life.