Famous YouTube pranksters talked about making a feature-length film.
Just in time for some tom-foolery, the three have teamed up to creat Natural Born Pranksters, a feature-length film that will hit theaters April 1. The film has some of the same crew members from Jackass 3D and Bad Grandpa.
On YouTube, the three have created some of the most viral pranks out there. For example, you might have seen “Anniversary Prank Backfires!!” by Atwood, who is from Millersport, Ohio. That video has been viewed more than 77 million times. Even on Roady’s “howtoPRANKitup” channel, in which the Cincinnati native teaches how to do pranks, his top prank tutorial, “10 FUNNY APRIL FOOLS PRANKS!! - HOW TO PRANK,” has more than 19 million views. For Zdorovetskiy, the top five viewed pranks on his channel all surpass •30 million views.
Between the trio’s seven accounts, they have about 29 million total people subscribed to all of their YouTube channels.
The Post spoke with the three to talk pranking, collaborating and filming Natural Born Pranksters.
The Post: How did you guys get started on YouTube?
Roman Atwood: I think for me, YouTube started as just a fun place to host videos we were already making off YouTube. A couple of my buddies were like, “Hey you should put this on YouTube man. People will love it.” Well, people didn’t love it. It took years before I got any views.
Dennis Roady: What made me start filming YouTube videos was just getting together with some buddies and filming sketch comedy, Saturday Night Live style, putting them up and getting 300 views on it and being so excited that 300 people watched our video. And then a year and a half later, we started doing the pranks and it just snowballed into this massive thing. It was unexpected.
P: How did the three of you meet?
Vitaly Zdorovetskiy: Roman and Dennis uploaded a viral video and then two months later, I uploaded a viral video, and then I just messaged them and was like, “Let’s do a collab.” So I flew out to Ohio, and since then, we’ve just been together as a nice, good, strong team.
P: How did the idea of the movie come about — were you approached?
VZ: We got approached.
RA: Studio 71 came to us and wanted to make a movie. At the same time, we had always been talking about making a movie for months and months and months, and we just thought it was the right timing to change up the format. We were starting to max out on YouTube and hitting a nice peak, and we wanted to jump into a new format.
P: Was it a difficult transition going from YouTube to full movie?
RA: As far as production goes, it was a very difficult transition. We’re not used to working with 30 crew members and lots of cameras. ... It was a huge difference.
P: Considering your content, is it hard to have people trust you?
DR: We’re the boys that cry wolf, basically. Nobody trusts us. All my friends, if I want to do something or do a favor for someone, they’re like, “I don’t know man. I don’t trust you. I know who you are.”
P: What has been your favorite prank of all time?
DR: My favorite prank of all time is the baby swap prank you’ll see in the movie — it’s also in the trailer — where we got a nine-month … pregnant woman to prank her husband, and when he comes home to the baby, it’s a different ethnicity.
P: There are a lot of collaborations in the film it seems. How was that like when it came to filming?
RA: That’s always super fun.That’s kind of where YouTube comes from is collabing, building your channel, reaching new audiences. Same with making a movie, you want to have those people that helped you in the movie and help promote the movie, and it’s just a win-win for everyone.
P: Do you think you will always be pranking?
RA: We’ll probably be pranking for life. I don’t know if they will all be on camera, but I think at heart, we’re always pulling gags.
P: How would you describe your “pranking personalities?”
RA: Vitaly’s the one that gets in trouble.
VZ: (I have) no limits. (I don’t) talk to lawyers. I just go and do it. Dennis is the most responsible.
RA: Dennis is the father figure of the group, and I have always been more of “the eyes.” I want the camera angles, the right editing. It’s just the solid team.
P: Did you guys have to go through a lot more steps in planning for pranks, as opposed to doing one just for YouTube?
RA: Lots of legal in the movie. We’re talking months on approval on pranks. 400 pranks got turned into about 30 pranks in the movie.
DR: A lot of no’s. Many, many no’s.
P: What has been your favorite collab, whether it’s on YouTube or on this film?
DR: Filming Natural Born Pranksters. Collabing with Roman and Vitaly and having the entire crew that filmed Jackass 3D, Bad Grandpa … so that whole team. This whole experience is, like, my best, most favorite collab ever.