In Sweet Dreams, directed by Lije Sarki (Peanut Butter Falcon), Johnny Knoxville plays Morris, a man who agrees to coach a softball team for an addiction recovery center as he works to save his house and his life.

With Sweet Dreams now in theaters and streaming on Paramount+ on April 16, ClutchPoints spoke to Johnny Knoxville about his connection to the project, acting outside of Jackass, Shohei Ohtani, and whose face he's itching to smash in a WWE ring.

This conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Johnny Knoxville-Sweet Dreams interview

Johnny Knoxville with Sweet Dreams poster and baseball field background.

ClutchPoints: Why did the project resonate with you so much?

Johnny Knoxville: Well, first of all, I really loved the script. And I have a lot of friends in recovery. My father was an alcoholic. There's been times in my life where I've distracted or over-indulged with one thing or another.

Also, I am a father of three. I have two daughters. So, in the film, Morris is fighting to get his life back and his daughter back. I had a wealth of things to draw from.

CP: People think of you as more of a comedic person, but you've done plenty of dramatic acting. I saw Grand Theft Parsons back in the day. Who have you learned from to hone your chops?

JK: God, that movie! I want a second chance at that. I think my performance was really not great and I feel terrible about it. I got an acting coach after that and really bore down and worked on my craft. I don't know how many films I've done now, so you kind of learn by doing.

When I first got to L.A., I studied with a wonderful acting coach. He really, really helped me. Not only with acting, I was just so uncomfortable being in front of a camera at first. It was very frightening for me. I couldn't get over the camera being in my face. I was very self-conscious.

CP: How much of Sweet Dreams is improvised? It all felt very naturalistic.

JK: We would always get what's on the page. But all these guys are comedians, so they would always improv this or that. And Lije was very open to that. There was a lot of real moments that ended up in the film that was improvised.

CP: The first softball scene is a oner of you getting up from the dugout, hitting the ball, and running to second. And then you looked kind of exhausted, but I guess you hit the ball pretty well. 

JK: I played baseball growing up. It was the only thing I was ever really good at. It was so much fun shooting those scenes, but I also took them very seriously. If I didn't hit the ball like I think I should have, I would've wanted to do it again. I'm sure it drove Lije crazy.

It's softball —anyone can kind of play.

CP: What's your relationship to movies like Field of Dreams, Major League, The Sandlot, all those great baseball movies?

JK: Well, I think Bad News Bears, the original, is probably one of the greatest baseball movies ever made. And I loved The Natural and Bull Durham. Sandlot. I'm a sucker for baseball movies because I love baseball.

CP: How much are you following baseball today?

JK: I'm still a huge fan. I don't watch games day to day. But I still keep up. I'm ecstatic: Shohei Ohtani is playing for the Dodgers now. So, definitely want to take my kids to Dodgers Stadium.

CP: The Rock has been back in WWE. You've been in the world of Anything Goes matches at WrestleMania. Just wondering what your reaction to that was, and if you're planning a comeback?

JK: I was working this weekend, so I didn't get to watch. But God, it was so much fun being at WrestleMania and smashing Sami Zayn in his big stupid face.

Even though he's a “Good Guy” now. What's everyone thinking? He's not a good guy. He will be revealed in time. I'd love to have the opportunity to smash his face in.

Check out an exclusive clip of Sweet Dreams, via our Clutch Culture YouTube channel.

Sweet Dreams is in theaters now and will be released on Paramount+ on April 16.