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INT: Kevin Smith & Sam Jaeger

Jan. 25, 2007by:

Kevin Smith and Sam Jaegar seem like they might actually be friends. In Columbia Pictures CATCH AND RELEASE they play buds and roomies to Jennifer Garner. The three of them make a great team and it was fun to watch. Now, you may be asking who is Kevin Smith. Yes, I jest. We all know Kevin Smith for his witty yet crude takes on life in such films as DOGMA, CLERKS, CLERKS 2, CHASING AMY and a few others like MALLRATS (hey, I dug it). And weve all seen him act in said films as Silent Bob.

But here, he gets to stretch just a little bit away from his CLERKS alter ego. As for Sam Jaegar, hes one of those guys youve probably seen before being that hes done quite a bit of work in television, including gigs on CSI, COMMANDER IN CHIEF and NYPD BLUE. He also appeared in the film LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN. We will probably being seeing more of this guy after his terrific performance as the best bud in C & R.

The two of these guys stopped by the Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica recently to talk about their latest flick. But it was mostly Kevin that did the talking. And as I mentioned in my 1-on-1 with the man, he is funny, cool as hell and smart. He has a strong knowledge of film and he also comes across like a regular dude. But put him in a room full of journalists and the funny really stands out. Mr. Jaegar, along with the rest of us just joined in for the ride. And its too bad; I would have liked to have heard more from the guy because he seems like a real down to earth guy also. All in all these two actors were one of the best things about CATCH AND RELEASE (aside from the lovely Jennifer Garner) and it was nice to see these are two great guys keepin it funny for the press.

Kevin Smith Sam Jaeger

Sir, is this a new direction for you? Youre gonna be taking over

Kevin Smith (KS): Every role that Jack Black says no to? It just feels like the industry saying, stop directing [Laughter], go be in movies, if you gotta be involved, just be in them, stop directing

Why do you think that is, it seems odd to me that you would denigrate your own talent when you are so highly regarded as a filmmaker?

KS: I grew up that, so its always the steal the thunder philosophy for me, the idea of making fun of yourself before somebody else can, so thats why my entire repertoire of stuff Ive done, JERSEY GIRL takes a beating like a red-headed step child because its always easier to be like JERSEY GIRL sucked. I made JERSEY GIRL and it sucked than to have somebody say it to you first, and that way theyre sittin there waiting to tell you and theyre like oh, he knows, alright.

I like JERSEY GIRL, you know, but its just easier to kinda make fun of, and its tough to take the whole thing serious, which is good and bad. Its good because it kinda armors you, its bad because then people tend not to take you serious. But thats fine, I havent really made any serious movies and whatnot, but I dont know, its always the way Ive been so it would be tough to change at this point to not be like, hey Im pimp arent I, Im good. Believe me; I say that behind closed doors to my wife and kids [Laughter] not to strangers though. My wife and kid, oddly enough are the only people that dont believe it.

It seems like youre taking on more acting roles, could you tell us a little bit more about your role in your new DIE HARD film?

KS: I play a character that has a lotta expository dialogue. Im the only person in DIE HARD who talks [Laughter] and doesnt shoot somebody, you know

Sam Jaegar (SJ): Everybody else blows up...

KS: Pretty much. When I got there I was like, Len [Wiseman], can I get a gun, hes like no. But its fun, its that role in an action movie, where you provide a bunch of information that they need to head into act three. And my character kinda gets talked about throughout. And this is all you know, this could all change, by the time they get into the editing room, they might be like, you sucked, yank him out. But as it stands now in the script and as I shot it, they talk about me a lot and then you finally meet me. I provide a lotta information about the villain.

Did you [improvise] a lot in that movie?

KS: Whats nice about working on those big god awfully expensive Hollywood movies is that they have so many writers they dont even notice if youre one of them. [Laughter] So I got there and I wrote myself a one-page monologue [Laughter] and I got to deliver it, hysterical, I mean, they let me do it. Bruce Willis was like Dude, what up. That was a good speech. So they totally went for it, so that was kinda cool, I got to get that speech in that movie, so they were kinda real friendly. But there was one monologue where they kept saying, which was keep it DIE HARD, so you couldnt get in there, you have to kinda make it germane to the movie. So I dont wind up giving a funny speech, I wind up giving a very paranoid joke, Joe Pesci, JFK type speech, which was fine.

With that said, [Susannah] Grant told us that you pretty much refused to deliver any of her lines the way she wrote them.

KS: Yeah, but not because I dont respect Susannahs writing. I just learn very quickly that Im so not a good actor. A good actor to me is someone like Sam who I only say about cuz hes sittin here [Laughter], but also Jennifer [Garner] and Tim [Olyphant]. A good actor can take whats written on the page without changing a f*ckin word and make it sound like theyre coming up with it off the top of their head. I would try to do that, I just couldnt, I mean how bad was I?

SJ: You were pretty good. But what I found pretty fascinating is hes the only actor youll find who actually asks for a line reading. Where itd be like, just give it to me How do you want it said?

KS: And then I dont do it anywayAnd then Susannah would go, theres that director move where youre supposed to lead the horse to water, you know, where youre supposed to make the actor feel like theyre discovering it for themselves, you know, where you want to say it with more emotion here, where you feel like youre Emu in this scene, where all these people are lying, or something like that. Finally, Id be like, Susannah just tell me, say it, and Ill say it like how you say it. And so she loved it because thats shorthand. But the other actors, I cant speak for

SJ: And that Emu line really works for me a lot [Laughter]

KS: I just believe that And if she could just tell me exactly how she would say it then, then I could just do it. And its kinda one step away from having a hand up your ass

SJ: Thats a great visual.

Do you have all the room you need when Kevin is next to you?

KS: Shes not talking physically. [Laughter]

SJ: No, no. [Laughter] One of the things you said earlier on was that Kevin and I had a good rapport and so it was mostly trying no to steamroll everybody else because we tend to talk over one another quite a bit. But that said; he is a writer and a director that I respect so when it is his turn to talk, I will step back and bow.

KS: Sam and I just try to say as much as we could because we just want to be in the movie.

SJ: Yeah.

KS: So well do whats on the page and but well also keep adding shit, that way when they cut other shit, theres still more shit that might wind up in it.

SJ: Our hope was to add four times as much footage of us as Jennifer [Laughter] and I think we got pretty close.

Kevin is there an itch for you to act more full time or are you writing more?

KS: Not really. I wound up acting more at the end of this year than I thought I would, like I wound up doing the DIE HARD thing and then I did this pilot thing for Showtime called MANCHILD and it was fun, its kinda interesting, but at the same timeyou know Im limited, man. An actor you can hand them some iambic pentameter and they can go off. I can do one thing fairly decently and that is play myself. So I wouldnt call that acting, so if people come to me and theyre like hey we want you to something that youve not done, Id be like oh, youre outta your mind. [Laughter] Im very very limited. So its fun when someone offers you something and youre like well, I can do this, this is kinda easy and fun and it f*ckin pays well [Laughter] So thats cool but pursuing it as like, this is my new job, no.

Susannah told us about your DVD commentary track, why were you trying so hard to get sexual information out of her?

KS: Because no one looks at those commentary tracks, like the technical aspect. Some of them tend to be so dry and boring, its just like, tell me if you f*cked a lot on the movie [Laughter]

But she wouldnt answer the question?

KS: But she wouldnt answer the question. I was like how much did you get laid when you making this movie. She said, were not gonna talk about that [Laughter]

So its just a fruitless two-hour track then [Laughter]

KS: Ive got other things on her. I did, if you want to know the biography of Susannah Grant, its all there, I do get a lot of other information outta her, she would not provide that. I also asked her, I was like, cuz there was so many chicks involved with this movie, there was her, Garner, there was Casey [Grant] one of the exec producers, there was Jenno [Topping], Amy Pascal head of the studio, did all of your cycles get in sync [Laughter] she didnt want to talk about period. Period. That to me is interesting, thats the kind of shit if I was listening to the commentary track, Id go thats a great question. [Laughter]

Hey Kevin, youre voicing Tony Bastard on TMNT !

KS: Yes.

SJ: Way to go.

KS: Yeah.

That you completely geeked out when you went to Imagi, and you lobbied for the quick part, is that true?

KS: No, Harvey went ahead and called me up and said, did you wanna do a voice in TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES cuz Weinstein has a piece of it. I was like absolutely. The dude that lobbied and didnt get a part was Jason Mewes. Jason Mewes was like, what are you doing today, I said Im gonna do the voice over for the TMNT, do the CG cartoon, whatre you talking about, I showed him the trailer, and hes like, oh I want f*ckin be in it. Well dude, youve been in Weinstein movies, call em up, theyll put you in the picture, and he called them mercilessly. Especially he found out that I got paid to do it [Laughter], he kept callin em, they were like we dont have anything left, like Im sorry. Hes like I am a character, can I be the girl turtle. There was something they wanted to re-voice, they brought me in and took me like one-hour or somethin like that but I want to see that movie. I lobbied to see the footage, which they finally showed me when I actually did a voice over.

What about the Showtime show?

KS: Oh, the Showtime thing is called Manchild, its a pilot, I dont know if theyre going to pick it up, god-willing they do. Its me and James Purefoy from ROME , Paul Hipp and John Corbett.

Manchild? Is it based on the British one?

KS: Yeah, its based on the British one

With Anthony Stewart Head

KS: With who?

Anthony Stewart Head.

KS: I didnt see it [Laughter], but I know its based on a British one. In the UK , they were all in their 50s and this one, theyre all in their 40s, and Im not even 40, Im 36... So that was a real performance for me [Laughter]

Is there a director you would like to work with, and also, how do you like being the guest critic with Roeper these days?

KS: I mean, you know, it was pimp when they asked me to be on Ebert & Roeper, and then I saw some of the other people they asked, and I was like, well shit, theyre asking everybody. [Laughter] But its still cool; I grew up watching that show. Before it was Siskel and Ebert, when it was just acting movies on PBS, before that when it was SNEAK PREVIEWS. When I was a kid, I watched that show, I mean you know, they were always referred to as the fat guy and the skinny guy in our house, and I grew up to become the fat guy [Laughter]

But its nice, and theres a lot more work to it than you think, like cuz you actually have to write the review which I never really thought about you know cuz they do sit there and deliver to the camera before they do the crosstalk and they never mess up, and thats because theyre reading from the teleprompter, and it was your opinion so no one could write the review for you, so you have to write it, and that was the most challenging thing, you have to write a two-hundred word review and as you can tell, Im not good at keepin it short, so that was tough, doing a two-hundred word review.

what about ripping into your fellow actors and directors

KS: Did you ever see the shows I did?


KS: I never ripped into anybody, but really its because theres nothing I sawI go into it with a different perspective and thats something I learned too when I was sittin there with Richard, like I saw THE GUARDIAN and I was like, I liked it, this is kinda movie my old man woulda loved, you know so I had a different sentimental attachment to it. And also I looked at it like goin, I could never have made this movie, so f*ckin props, and Richards like Ive seen ten of these this year, you know, youve seen one, so f*ck you. [Laughter] Its different for them, because theyre forced to watch every f*ckin movie and theyll see like multiples of the same f*ckin tired plot or something like that, whereas I dont go out and see movies like The Guardian, when I got to see it for free, I was like, I like it.

SJ: Yeah, Kevins got a different kinda criteria for watching movies too, hed always be like hey did you see that movie last night man, totally watchable movie [Laughter] just you could sit through it, so I guess its thumbs up.

Having reviewed it though, is that gonna change your perspective on making movies too?

KS: Uh, no not really, I mean Ive been watching movies for years and Ive gotten no better as a filmmaker so [Laughter] so why in terms of reviewing movies would it make me think about it twice.

Do you understand what the critics are doing now, now that

KS: I do. I really did walk away with more appreciation for critics because its very easy to demonize them in my position right, to villanize a critic and just be like f*ckin assholes responsible for f*cking my sixty-three percent of rotten tomatoes when I could have been a seven, why isnt it certified fresh. I mean its not like curing cancer, laying brick but its a tough job as much as youre forced to go see movies you have no interest in seeing, and then you have to kinda come at it fairly, so to speak, and write something about it, like clever, and in a way that nobody else has done before and shit like that.

How many movies did you see?

KS: For Ebert & Roeper, I wound up doing two shows, so I saw eight flicks

You saw eight films, some that you wouldnt have gone to see?

KS: I mean, yeah, I wouldnt have gone to see I mean I got a kid so I probably would have seen OPEN SEASON especially cuz its a Sony picture [Laughter] Some of them I probably wouldnt have wanted to see like I wouldnt have wanted to see THE GUARDIAN, but I wound up likin it. But then there was stuff that I did want to see and got to see early, like THE QUEEN and THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, that was kinda cool easy sits though.

Hey Kevin, give us an update, whats goin on with your horror film, what else is going on with View Askew and Mark Steven Johnson said that he contacted you, cuz he was hopin that when he gets PREACHER goin, that youll direct an episode?

KS: Yeah, he asked me if I wanted to direct an episode of PREACHER, which I thought was kind of him, but I dont know if Im up to that, I mean I love that book so much, and being able to translate one of those books to the screen, thats just daunting to me, cuz you dont want to be the guy that f*cks it up, and so I was like Ill give it a shot see, but Im certainly not committed to doin it, only as much as I just dont want to drop the ball, cuz I like it so much. If it was some show I didnt likeI mean Ive never really directed TV anyway, so its kinda difficult to get my head around it, but since its hour-long, you know drama, presumably, it would be kinda akin to directing a movie more than TV. I dont know, maybe, maybe. But the thing that would keep me from doing that is totally afraid of ruining what I like so much about PREACHER, so well see, well see if that happens. What was the other question?

The horror flick...

KS: Horror flick is all up here, I just have to put it down here, and Ive kinda been using acting as an excuse to not sit down and actually write.

SJ: Way to go.

Did you guys rehearse your fight at all?

SJ: Yeah, and yet somehow I got kicked in the balls. [Laughter] I dont know how that happened but

KS: Thats the only fight Ive been in my whole life.

SJ: Really? Wow.

KS: Yeah, thats why I look so f*ckin bad. I was really a few away from slapping.

SJ: They even gave us a rubber mallet, so that we didnt actually kill each other in the process or shave something off one anothers face. [Laughter]

Kevin, Scott Mosier has been working on FANBOYS, I know you were sort of involved with film something

KS: Me and Mewes did a little cameo when they were doing re-shoots and whatnot

Talk about your opinion of film.

KS: You know, Ive watched half of it, I like it, its a rather sweet movie; I havent watched the other half of it yet. I watched my half up to cuz we were doin that little scene and I had to throw some stuff together for it, so I was like whats the movie about

SJ: You turned it off after your part didnt you?

KS: My part wasnt in there, but I turned off where my part would be. [Laughter] Cuz Mosier was like, 'dont finish watching that cuz were still in the missing cut', and I gotta watch the finished version and whatnot. But I like it, I think its a really sweet movie actually and right up my f*ckin alley so obviously Im kind of programmed to kinda dig it. And that dude Dan Fogler in the movie is really funny, you know, the chick from Veronica Mars who I absolutely love, whose name escapes me

Kirsten Bell

KS: Yeah, her [Laughter] whom I must not like that much. Shes really good.

Whats next for you, do you know what youre doing?

KS: Next for me, I dont know, I really dont know. Its kinda coming down between me wanting to do this comedy and me wanting to do this horror flick. I feel like I should do the horror flick because Ive done seven comedies in twelve years, and I dont really feel like a filmmaker in most days, I just feel like a guy who makes those movies set in that universe and if I really wanted to test myself and push myself, Id try to make something completely out of my safety zone, completely out of my genre. That being said, Ive never tested myself, so why would I start now? [Laughter]

emails between you and [Ben] Affleck

KS: Honestly not that much, hes been buried in GONE BABY GONE, so we havent really traded that many emails lately. I saw him the other night cuz hes got some awards heat on him and whatnot, and hes got one of those cocktail party get together kind of thing, where I showed up, and I was like dude you dont have to lobby for my vote, Im votin for ya. But, hes been buried in his movie and I keep asking him, show me your flick, and hes like nah, not yet, Im not quite ready yet. I just dont think he wants my loser stake anywhere near him [Laughter] Hed be like, you wouldnt understand it, theres no ass f*cking joke. [Laughter]

Q and As?

KS: I got one comin up in Kent State, and then I got one in Denver, but nah, Ive been kinda saying no to a lotta stuff this year, just cuz last year was so busy, I was looking forward to just kinda laying low. Also, if Man Child gets picked up, I think we start shooting in March again, and thats like twelve episode, four months so I have to leave that open. So not too much. But I dont know, I mean everyones kinda seeing my dog and pony show at this point.

Going back to DIE HARD, you said that youre the one that pretty much reveals the terrorist?

KS: Yeah, and they kinda get bits and pieces, I kinda fill in the missing material for them.

Can you talk a little bit about working with Jennifer and you know, did you have a personal relationship before that through Ben or did you get to know her by doing this movie?

KS: I was saying to somebody earlier today, cuz theyre like it must have been great, because your friend is Ben and his old lady in the movie, and in fact, back then it wasnt his old lady just yet, I mean became his old lady while we were making the movie, one day she showed up with a ring, I was like, why wasnt I invited? [Laughter]

SJ: A ring and a belly.

KS: Well she showed up with a belly first [Laughter] which I kinda respected. So I had met her a handful of times prior to that, like we were on an episode of DINNER FOR FIVE together, when they were promoting DAREDEVIL and somebody dropped out so at the last minute they were like, can you fill in, I was like absolutely, so during the show, you know, you sit around and you bullshit and whatnot. I did the same thing I did with Ben all the time, and just made fun of em, and picked on em, and shit like that, and she would get really uptight about it, and at one point, she was like yah, Im gonna kick your ass [Laughter] and right away youre like, is she jokin or not.

I couldnt understand it; Alias is taking me seriously, and shouldve recognized then that she being a little bit protective of that dude. And then I ran into her once at the Tonight Show and someplace else. I had no relationship with her, most time I spent with her was on this movie, totally lovely girl and whatnot, but its because you know a person from working with them and their body or work, and then you also know about when, like friend tells you about [Laughter] so the whole time Im looking at her Im thinking like, I know things about you. [Laughter]

Is it parallel to your characters relationship with her character in the movie?

KS: A little bit. And Affleck was around as much as the Grady character was around. He didnt spend a lot of time on the set. He would bomb by and say hi to her and shit, but generally, even though hes up in Vancouver you know it sucks when you have nothing to do with, its just kinda boring. Its not like he hung out all the time. But when he did hang out, he was like f*ckin hangin out with her naturally in her trailer. I was like come to my trailer, hes like dude, you dont f*ck me [Laughter] Right on, go to Olyphants trailer.

Do you have input in your wardrobe in this film?

KS: I wish I had input in my wardrobe. I lobbied to get that f*ckin' jersey in at one point, one thing to cover up with, putting me in these skin tight f*ckin tie-dye shirts man, leaving nothing to the imagination. [Laughter]

SJ: Sex sells

KS: Psshh I do have the character in the movie, where people look at me and feel better about themselves, [Laughter] cuz as bad as I got it, I dont look like that. Its weird cuz generally I wear this in every movie Ive ever been in, and suddenly, I had to wear what they told me to wear. And Susannah was always going for less, like at least with tie-dye shirt I got to wear a shirt under it, and it gives you the illusion of like theres one more layer, they cant tell Im fat yet [Laughter] Susannah, like when we were doin' the massage scene, Susannah was like of course youre gonna have your shirt off in this scene, I was like f*ck you, I will not.

Shes like youre gonna get a massage with your shirt on? I get a massage in a closed room not with like forty people on the set staring at me and the world gonna see it afterwards, I was like I dont take my shirt off in front of my wife [Laughter], why am I gonna take it off here. So yeah, that was a weird thing to work just kinda having to wear what they tell you. It was like I havent worn what I was told to wear since I lived at home with my mom, so its kinda like that. And in terms of Celestial Seasoning, I havent gotten a single box of tea. Maybe when the movie comes out, theyd be like oh, youre our hero, but Im not the family image they want on top

SJ: Probably not.

Would you characterize yourself as a difficult actor?

KS: Only as much as the wardrobe. On Man Child as well, opening scene of the show, Im on a surfboard in the middle of the Pacific, Im wearing a wetsuit, and I look like a f*ckin penguin [Laughter] Just sort of round, you know, with a little head on top, and so I said, I really feel like my character Paul would probably wear a shirt over this [Laughter] And theyre like, you dont wear a shirt in the ocean, and Im like Paul would, Pauls gonna

SJ: But this guys a method actor.

KS: And the method is like I dont want em to see how fat I am.

SJ: Another thing you did that I thought was method, was Kevin chose that his character would not know how to fly fish, [Laughter] and I thought that was so bold. I mean I spent three months trying to cast everyday and he showed up and said, yup, Sam doesnt cast. [Laughter]

KS: Well Jaeger man, Jaeger walks away with a skill he can take into real life.

SJ: Thats right. Practical.

KS: Very practical. You can earn a living off of it if you have to. Me, I sat down with the teacher and I was just like, you know I think my character would just whip it around a little. [Laughter]

Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to



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8:59PM on 01/25/2007


Is it me or was there like, one question for Jaeger in there? And even then, it was for both him and Smith.
I felt kind of uncomfortable for Jaeger when I read it :P
Is it me or was there like, one question for Jaeger in there? And even then, it was for both him and Smith.
I felt kind of uncomfortable for Jaeger when I read it :P
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8:57AM on 01/25/2007


K-Smitty IS pimp, straight up. shame we didn't hear much out of Jaeger.
K-Smitty IS pimp, straight up. shame we didn't hear much out of Jaeger.
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