Celebrity Circus premieres this Wednesday night on NBC, a show where stars like Christopher Knight, Rachel Hunter, Antonio Sabato Jr., Stacey Dash and Blu Cantrell perform dangerous circus acts. You might be surprised to hear that the stunts performed are very much real and actually death-defying, as are the injuries that celebs have sustained so far, like Stacey Dash’s broken ribs and Antonio Sabato Jr.’s sprained wrist.
Christopher Knight was also hurt so badly that he broke his wrist, but that didn’t stop producers from using it to the show’s fullest advantage: “That’s the promo they’re using now,” Christopher told us when we sat down with him inside the Celebrity Circus studio/gym. “I’m working with a busted arm.” Christopher was more than happy to give Fancast some behind-the-scenes scoop on the new show, how he his working through his own fear of heights, and how wife, Adrianne Curry, feels about his dangerous new venture.
What made you want to do this show?
I like challenges and this is definitely a challenge. Frankly, it’s getting paid to work out. It’s the fear of humiliation but it’s also to face your fears, like Acrophobia. I’ve got a fear of heights. This confronts that. I don’t know if I can do certain things but I won’t know until I make a concerted effort with professionals seeing if I can. If there’s an opportunity to overcome it it’s now. This is more of an internal competition rather than a competition with outsiders.
So you are confronting your fears by doing this.
I think we all are. It’s a matter of how much we can overcome our apprehensions and our fears. It could be a heights issue, it could be a choreography issue, it could be a strength issue. Like Antonio, for example [points out Antonio practicing on the silk, which was a large rope with silk attached]; You’ll see it on the show that it doesn’t matter who’s the strongest guy on the show, coming in. He couldn’t do that on the first week. It took learning how to do it, how to re-apply his strength, and how to build the right strength for that. It’s only beautiful because he’s making it look that way.
Name a death defying stunt you’ve done in real life.
I was a regular boy, man. I’ve done all kinds of death-defying stuff. One of the things I’m preparing for an act is working with fire. And one of the aspects of that is blowing fire, which is pretty intimidating for most people, but I wasn’t that intimidated because I realized that as a kid I would, with my friends, blow fire! So I’ve experienced doing it before! I feel safer now with somebody that knows what they’re doing, as opposed to me having a chance of burning down the house. I used to ride a unicycle since I was probably twelve too. I was really good at it too. There was no time to get any act here at the circus. But, heck I had to join the circus now to do those things because from the time I was 10 to the time I was 17, I was contracted not to get hurt. So this is my childhood being lived out, out of sequence.
These contraptions you’ll be using are scary, particularly that one. I heard backstage they were going to set that on fire?
That’s the wheel of death, that’s the big cahuna. They’ll set it on fire? It’s not death-defying enough just to be on that, now they’re gonna set it on fire!? [Ed. Note: We are not sure if, in fact, the Wheel of Death will be set on fire]
Do you have time to hang outside of the set?
It’s been so strenuous, but doing the show I’ve discovered that Rachel and Jason (Wee Man) and I live like within two blocks of one another. I didn’t know we lived on the same street. As much as we said “hey, we’ll drive in together” our schedule has been so difficult there’s no time to do anything. It’s a six-day schedule. We don’t have another day off until the 15th. Now we’ve reached a crescendo in that we’re preparing the first week’s show and the second week’s show, at the same time. I would say by far this is the most strenuous competition reality show that anyone’s produced outside of the ones that are downright stupid, like I don’t know, celebrity bullriding (laughs). I was asked to do that, I was like, uh. I’d say not to that and say yes to this. Reason is that there’s some opportunity to learn to do these things using skills. I don’t know what you would do with a bull, particularly dealing with an animal that doesn’t want you there.
You have a bandaged arm. What happened?
I broke it after a week, first week on the German Wheel. That’s the promo they’re using now. I’m working with a busted arm, trying to figure out what I can do with the good arm. And we’re in the sixth week now, and it takes the bone about six weeks to heal. So we’re right on schedule. There’s things I still can’t do, so I’m happy to work around it.
How does Adrianne feel about doing this?
She is so tired of the circus. Firstly because of the broken arm. She’s in a tough position and it’s tougher for her and if I put myself in her shoes I totally understand. If she was doing what I’m doing, I wouldn’t wanna watch either. I’d wanna bury my head and I wouldn’t want people watching me watch her. People are going to be interested in watching the angst on her face. She wants to be supportive but she’s scared to death. It’s also grueling, I’m up at 5AM, I don’t get home until 7 and then I just eat and go to bed. There’s not a lot of me for Adrianne. She’s currently in Chicago at a wedding. But in a way it’s good because our whole career and life started in showbusiness. We’ve never had a normal life where I leave in the morning or she leaves. We’ve always been just each other’s shadow and it’s time for us to have this. It’s actually very good for our relationship. As much as she hates the circus. I hope there’s a second season and they ask her and I can return the favor.
Will she visit you on set?
Yes she’ll be back in the dressing room watching me. It’s a real freight. This thing I’m supposed to do called The Wheel of Death. I still don’t know if I’ll be able to do it. I don’t know if I am ultimately gonna be able to overcome my fear of heights with that one, and she’s asked me not to do that one.
What do you tell her?
I don’t know if I wanna do it either! It’s a challenge and I want to try to overcome it. But I won’t do it if it’s gonna kill me. I say, “Trust me” and she says, “Well look at your arm.” And I did that on one that isn’t even off the ground! (laughs).