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Kevin Smith interview


Late last week I had the privilege to participate in a teleconference with the man, the myth, the legend Kevin Smith as he was out promoting his EVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH DVD (click here to buy dvd), which hit stores yesterday. Kevin does a good job of explaining all about the DVD and well...just being Kevin. Please pardon my doofy questions and any spelling/grammatical errors you may find. The transcription was provided via the PR firm. Anyway, here's Kevin:


K. Smith Iíve been asked to explain why the DVD came about so we can cut down on that question. The DVD came about because Iíve been doing a lot of college gigs since roughly í95, and usually about 10 to 12 a year. Mike Stratford over at Columbia Tri-Star, who weíd done the DOGMA DVD with, was in attendance at one of them. Afterwards he said have you ever thought about putting these on tape? I said no and he said weíd love to; so he started asking about when I was hitting the next few colleges. I lined up a crew, including the director James Kinney. Heís the guy who directed the documentaries on the MALLRATS and DOGMA DVD, although the one on the DOGMA DVD got kicked over to the Ö DVD, and we were off and running. Thatís the short version full of Ö Thatís creepy. I wish I could hear everybody. Iím working in a vacuum here.

Moderator We have a question from Tim Lammers with WNBC.com. Please go ahead.

T. Lammers I have to say some like MALLRATS. Again, it starred lesser-known people. I should say lesser known at the time like Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Kevin Smith, I mean not as prominent as you all are today. Do you find that with your status now that people are giving greater weight to the movie?

K. Smith I donít think people are giving greater weight to the movie, but itís the movie that really found its audience much later on, and itís the one movie that people come up to me and talk about more. Itís just probably the one they talk about the most. People will come up and be like, ďYou did MALLRATS. I love MALLRATS.Ē I always feel like where were you when the movie came out? Why didnít you love it then? No real weight. Nobody ever says you know what, Iíve revisited MALLRATS since watching CHASING AMY or DOGMA. Let me tell you, I can appreciate the sub-text you were working at me because there was none.

T. Lammers Certainly it seems like people responding on the EVENING WITH KEVIN SMITH would say the first movie I saw was MALLRATS, so I mean it does mean quite a bit to some people or a lot of people.

K. Smith Itís the one that they caught on video and heard that there were others, like heard there was a prequel of sorts like the black and white CLERKS, and then that there was another one that followed CHASING AMY. People kind of got into the notion of the movies being interconnected, but, yes, usually the jump on point for a lot of people, for a lot of kids, especially college kids, was MALLRATS.

T. Lammers With these Q&As that you do, I mean obviously theyíre a lot of fun, a lot of laughter. Do you hope that they somewhat learn from your experiences as a filmmaker or is it mainly Ö

K. Smith Jesus Christ, no. I donít really have any great wisdom to impart. Theyíre always billed as lectures, and I always tell them that I donít know how to lecture except to say donít fuckin smoke, so thereís really nothing I can impart. Iím just kind of there to entertain. If they take a kernel of truth away from it and some kind of experience, some kind of education, then thatís great, but no, Iím the last guy in the world you want to be taught by.

Moderator We have a question from Geoffrey Kleinman with DVDTalk.com.

G. Kleinman Good morning, Kevin. Obviously when you first started doing filmmaking, DVD was probably not even a factor. So now that your DVDs have become so successful and youíve gotten such a reputation for putting together a good DVD product, how has that changed the way you approach a film like JERSEY GIRL or even thinking about future films?

K. Smith It doesnít really change the approach to filmmaking, but what it really makes helpful is the editing process because itís always tough to edit the movie. Itís always tough to take stuff out because you always start the movie going, that is the whole movie, that scene. I canít lose that moment, and sooner or later that moment has to go.

The nice thing about DVD and how it makes the editing process a little more palatable is you know that it will be seen. Whatever you cut will eventually be seen. If youíre so in love with it, it will find its audience, just not in the body of the theatrical release. You just pop it on the cut scenes of the DVD so nothing is wasted. Thatís always kind of a good feeling. It makes it easier to go in there and be a little more ruthless editorially.

G. Kleinman After going through and working on the SUPERMAN draft and working on other peopleís screenplays, do you ever think youíll be in a spot where youíll take somebody elseís screenplay and direct it? Or do you feel like your track is, you write, you direct, thatís your thing?

K. Smith I think itís more the latter. I donít know that I could do somebody elseís script justice. Iím primarily a writer, and I just happen to direct my own stuff, so I donít know that taking somebody elseís script and trying to realize it would be the best idea for me.

The closest I ever came was on GOOD WILL HUNTING. At one point they had asked me to direct that, but I loved that script so much I didnít want to fuck it up. I knew that I would constantly be deferring to the writers on the set because thatís what I would want a guy who was directing my script to do. To ask me what I was trying to communicate or say or is that delivery accurate? So I knew if I was directing that movie Iíd constantly be turning to Ben and Matt and be like is that right? Is that what you guys saw when you wrote it? Rather than do all that, just skip the middleman and not do it at all and just kind of appreciate the film. You know they got Gus, and whoís better than Gus?

G. Kleinman And the same thing if youíre a writer, do you think now that Ö has retired do you see acting again or is the Kevin Smith acting career, outside of cameos, now a thing of the past?

K. Smith Pretty much a thing of the past. I got through this movie successfully without ever appearing in the film, and I was quite happy for it to be that way.

Moderator Next is Joel Cunningham with DigitallyObsessed.com.

J. Cunningham Iíve got a couple of questions more related to the release of the Conversations video. Watching the tape sessions itís pretty clear a lot of the people asking you questions are trying really hard to impress you or theyíre performing little bits that theyíve cooked up for the show. With your regular guy roots does some of that attention feel awkward sometimes?

K. Smith From time to time sure, but you just kind of smile through it, I guess. I mean itís flattering, but itís weird. As a dude who grew up fat I always kind of feel like Iím overcompensating anyway or trying to, for lack of a better description, get over donít feel fucking good enough. So when somebody gets up there and is going out of their way tripping over themselves, making themselves look kind of silly to impress you, itís always kind of awkward. Itís like going out with a girl who says that sheís attracted to your body and youíre like that cannot fucking possibly be. I have to pull up my gut for you to find my dick so I know youíre lying. I know itís got to be the personality. So yes, itís a little tough to reconcile sometimes, nice but at the same time yes, it can make you feel a little awkward.

J. Cunningham Youíve always been very open with your fan base doing these tours for years and through your Web sites. Why is it so important for you to engage your audience whoíd likely adore you and your movies either way?

K. Smith You just kind of stated it in the question. They adore me, right? Why not talk to them? Who else am I going to talk to? When I started somebody had pointed me to a CLERKS Web site, the one that Ming Chin was our Webmaster on and has been our Webmaster for years, made when he was in college. Somebody said did you ever see the CLERKS Web sites on the net, and I didnít even know what the net was.

So I went to an Internet cafť and checked it out. I was flabbergasted because up until that point when Iíd see people at Q&As or read reviews in the paper, that was kind of the only feedback I would get on the movie on CLERKS and MALLRATS. So after MALLRATSÖ somebody hit me to the Internet, and suddenly I was able to go and find people who I could talk to regularly or get their feedback regularly.

I was always into that and thatís never really changed. You kind of make these things in a vacuum, and itís nice to know what people will think about them beyond the mainstream press. Itís nice to hear what the audience actually has to say about them because you take what the press says with a grain of salt, but the people that are actually buying tickets you tend to lend a bit more credibility to them.

J. Cunningham Whatís the weirdest thing youíve been asked while you were on stage, whether itís on the video or not?

K. Smith I donít know if itís on the video, but somebody asked how did you get to fuck Joey Adams, which I thought was like thanks, man. I mean it was just kind of a twofold cutting question. Of course, itís certainly a little Ö

J. Cunningham Just right to the heart of all your insecurities.

K. Smith Exactly. I mean the motherfucker must have had a book at home with everybody across the planetís insecurities listed and then mine was right there. But also I thought it was really unfair for Joey. I mean Joey wasnít even there so it didnít fucking matter, but I thought it was just like what is that, man? Maybe I got to fuck her because we were in a relationship and she liked me and I liked her, and all the normal issues that go along with a relationship. I donít know, but that was the weirdest one.

Moderator Next is Mark Mohan with the Oregonian. Please go ahead.

M. Mohan I have a couple of quick questions. I stayed up way too late last night watching all of this stuff, and I couldnít help but notice that a lot of people seem to like to dress up as Jay and Silent Bob, as well as even other characters from the universe. Itís an obsessive thing, and Iím just wondering if for you at any point that becomes overly disturbing, frightening or conversely can you relate to it?

K. Smith The first time I saw it I thought it was kind of flattering. I think I saw it at a Ö convention first. Then I started seeing it more and more, and then I started wondering if maybe I just had my head up my own ass and really they werenít dressing to look like me. I just kind of look like them. Itís not too difficult to cultivate my look Ö and wear a beard and sometimes you wear the backwards hat.

The person who kind of brought it to light recently, Iím just kind of used to it. You go places and some people look like Silent Bob. Affleck went to the San Diego Ö this summer to promote DAREDEVIL way in advance, and he came back and he was like do you know that there are people that look like you at those shows? I got up to speak and I saw, no lie, easily ten dudes looked like you. There was one who was making eye contact with me and I fucking thought it was you. And I said to him, I see you there and heís like and I thought it was you and this dude was looking at me like whatís up? Then I realized it wasnít you. Heís going, dude, what is that? My look is much easier to cultivate than yours. Itís easy to look like schleps, tough to look like a god.

M. Mohan Iím also wondering, a lot of the anecdotes that you launch into, many of the most hilarious ones sort of give people a peek behind the Hollywood iron curtain. You name names; youíre not afraid to say whoís a jerk. Iím just wondering if thatís ever come back to bite you in the ass? If youíve ever found yourself in a room with somebody that youíve dissed publicly or at a cocktail party and suddenly thereís Jon Peters or whatever.

K. Smith The key to that is to never go to cocktail parties.

M. Mohan Business wise then, I mean has there ever been opportunities or anything like that that have been soiled by Ö

K. Smith Business wise itís yet to bite me in the ass, although the wife is constantly warning me against it. Sheís always like if you keep burning bridges thereíll be nobody left to work with. But I burn the bridges of people that I would never want to work with even if I was fucking desperate, and itís like these people could put food on my God damned table, these are people that I wouldnít want to work with ever again; like Iíve had such a bad experience I donít ever want to back down the road. Itís actually a safe place to take shots at people from because, like I said, thereís nothing I would ever want to be involved with these people on again.

The only time I was ever in a room with somebody that I spoke about, and itís on the DVD, but itís not in the body of the document feature, whatever. Itís not in the body of the program. Itís an Easter egg. Thereís some shit that, as if thereís not enough of a dude standing there talking, thereís like 16 minutes of Easter eggs of more of a dude standing there talking that I guess just we had no place for in the body in the main program. One of them is somebody addressing the Paul Thomas Anderson thing, which I had said something about MAGNOLIA. Yes, thatís in there so thatís the closest I came. Saying something about a movie or about a filmmaker, and then when theyíre running into the dude, and the dude was incredibly gracious and who knows if he even knew us. I know he knows us because I heard from his agent back when I said it, but he never brought it up, never said anything, which I thought was kind of a classy move.

Moderator And next is Corey Stulce with the Telegraph.

C. Stulce I was wondering if you had any amusing/scary stories about an extreme fan or maybe kind of like a stalker-ish type fan since you do attract the extreme guys?

K. Smith Thatís the thing. I donít really have extreme fans or stalker fans. Iím glad, but Iíve always wondered why not. A, itís because Iím a guy, and guys wonít stalk other guys and chicks would never stalk me. But I always figure, and this is how I console myself about the whole lack of stalker, that because Iím kind of as accessible as it gets, thereís no need to stalk me; like you donít have to try to get in touch with me. You can just get in touch with me. Itís like you can show up at a college or you show up at a comic book show, you can go to my comic book store, the one that I own in Red Bank. You can find me on the Internet. My e-mail address is fairly public. If you wanted to call me or if you wanted to get in touch with me and be like I fucking hate you and everything you do, you can do it. If you want to get in touch with me and be like I love you and everything you do, you could absolutely do it so thereís no need to stalk.

C. Stulce Now that youíve kind of gone through the films with the Jay Ö and are moving on to do other things, and youíve got a kid whoís getting a little bit older, have you thought about doing some kind of material, perhaps a book, film, cartoon or something for specifically children?

K. Smith Thereís this kids book that Iíve been threatening to do since the kid was born, and my wife is always bugging me to do it. Thereís this kidsí bookstore that we go to in Los Angeles called Storyopolis, which is great. We go in there at least once a week, and every time I go in there Iím like I should write that kidsí book and sheís gotten tired of hearing it. But hopefully Iíll get around to it before Harley is like 22 so that she can appreciate it.

C. Stulce Sure. Now Iíd read, and I donít know how much of this is true, that youíre involved with the SCARY MOVIE 3 with one of the Zucker Profters. Is there a truth to that or is this going to be like an AIRPLANE-type spoof?

K. Smith There is and there isnít truth to that. I mean I guess itís all true, but I think it was overstated a bit. Bob Weinstein called me up when they were putting together their version of SCARY MOVIE 3 because I guess the Wayansí moved on to Revolution Studios to do what is essentially a version of SCARY MOVIE 3 without the title. So Bob still wanted to make another one even without them. He called me up and he said Iíd appreciate it if when we have a draft together you take a look at it, maybe add some jokes if you got anything. I said yes, no problem. I said whoís writing it, and he said you know weíre not sure yet. I said thereís this dude I know whoís really funny whoís a friend of mine named Brian Lynch, and he wrote this Muppet Movie that the Ö Company bought. He directed this small movie for us a few years ago called BIG HELIUM DOG, and now heís developing a script over at Warner Bros. called Night Crawlers. I said heís so funny in this kind of humor; itís right up his alley. He does that kind of parity/sketch humor stuff.

So Bob met him and really dug him and put him on the movie, and then called me up and said you know, thanks for introducing me to Brian. As a thanks, would you like an exec producer credit and I said all right, sure because Lynch was involved and I like Lynch, and that means itís going to be funny. Then also David Zucker and Pat Proft were involved and the movie starts sounding better and better.

Then they put out a press release saying I was exec producer and somehow I also became the co-writer, but Iím really not. Like Pat Proft and Brian Lynch and a dude named Craig Mason are doing all the writing right now. Once itís done, Iím reading it and seeing if thereís anything that I can add, but like how do you improve upon the guy that did AIRPLANE? You know what Iím saying? Like what joke do I fucking have thatís going to be better than any joke that they have there. And Lynch, who Iíve known for years, is an incredibly funny dude and I know I canít improve on that dudeís shit. So I canít anticipate doing much writing myself. If I got a funny idea, if P.C., Jay, and Silent Bob wound up in the movie I can almost guarantee you that came from my pen. But I think I should stay away from it for that reason.

C. Stulce One more quick question. For fans of George Carlin what can we expect from his first big dramatic role in JERSEY GIRL?

K. Smith I think people will be really, really surprised because heís kind of the heart of the movie in many ways, and itís a really strong performance. The only resemblance he has that George has to the role is maybe facially. I was incredibly proud of him. I knew he could do it, but, man, he took the ball and just ran with it. Heís really, really great in the movie and holds his own opposite Ben, Jen, and Liv. Heís really, really strong.

Moderator Next is Michael Sampson with JoBlo.com.

M. Sampson You kind of touched on this briefly before, but do you have any plans to retire some of this material now that the DVD is out and just go on?

K. Smith I would imagine I would have to. It would be tough to go out there, and it would be like being Frampton and doing Freebird yet again where the audience is like yeah we know dude.

M. Sampson Especially with this kind of crowd.

K. Smith Exactly, and Iíve already run the risk of that. Itís never been very bad, but like there are some people that will go see you in more than one venue, and there are definitely people Iíve seen, like at a comic book show, when Iíve done like Q&A there who, I guess, have gone to a college gig or read the story; I guess it was printed somewhere. Anytime I tell that SUPERMAN story thereís always a very small percentage of the audience that rolls their eyes where theyíre like, yeah, this again. Itíd be great. Thatís whatís nice about the DVD is now thereís kind of permanent record of it, so I donít know if I have to do it anymore. Maybe thatíll cut down on people asking.

The weird thing about the SUPERMAN story is that people, Iíve read like heís still bitching about that SUPERMAN story. I said, dud, I am not bitching, but when somebody asks me about it and I try to duck out of the question, and then if I wind up telling the story itís like thatís certainly not me bitching. This is something that happened five fucking years ago. But if somebodyís curious, Iím more than happy to tell them about it.

M. Sampson Thatís a great story. Being out in LA now, what do you miss most about being over here in Jersey?

K. Smith I certainly donít miss the fucking weather you guys have there.

M. Sampson No, you certainly donít. It sucks, man.

K. Smith Johnson called me up the other day, and he said it dumped about eight to nine inches of snow, and I was like itís 75 degrees here. So no, I donít miss that. Right now I miss nothing because I just spent five months out there, so I was just very happy to get back home here. But post-Christmas I guarantee you Iíll start missing something about the East Coast, although I donít know what it is. I miss hanging out with Walter and Brian thatís for sure.

Moderator Next is Pete Croatt with FilmCritic.com.

P. Croatt Actually this is kind of a kick from me because I actually went to one of your ďlecturesĒ when you were at the College of New Jersey about five years ago.

K. Smith Thatís going way back. Do you mean the Rutgers one?

P. Croatt Not the one at Rutgers, the one near Trenton. Actually you signed a film review of mine of MALLRATS. I have it framed in my bedroom.

K. Smith Thatís too funny. Five years ago?

P. Croatt Yes, five years ago, í97.

K. Smith How much of the stuff that I did there was on the DVD?

P. Croatt I donít think anything. I havenít seen the DVD myself, but I think you hit like Wyoming and Kent State, but I donít think thereís anything from TCNJ, which is a shame because it was hysterical. My brother and I still talk about it.

K. Smith Thatís so weird because I mean Iím trying to back in my head and be like what did I talk about five years ago.

P. Croatt Letís see. Jon Peters was the center point of that. You talked about your favorite movies, and I was surprised that A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS was one of them, up there with STAR WARS and JAWS, but yes, it was great. It was fantastic, and Iím looking forward to seeing the DVD when it comes my way hopefully.

K. Smith Youíll definitely see some of the same material.

P. Croatt Iíve forgotten all of it so Iím fine. I guess this is a good question to lead into. When you mentioned your favorite movies of all time, it was quite an eclectic mix and STAR WARS and JAWS was in there. I was wondering, have you ever thought about doing a big blockbuster movie like a JAWS, like a DAREDEVIL that youíre in? Would you like that?

K. Smith No. Every once in a while, like I remember when they were shooting DAREDEVIL before we went into JERSEY GIRL. I would visit the set, and I visited the set so fucking frequently that they started to refer to me as the fifth Beatle. And Mark, who was the director, was kind and thatís what Ö through my endless curiosities about making a very large movie. Every once in a while I would be like, man, I would love to do something like this. This is fun, but it just kind of seems cool in the moment because you werenít involved when all the prep work and all the grunt work that it took to get there.

I just donít think Iím ambitious enough, and I know Iím too lazy to want to go into an action movie. Sometimes youíre shooting one two-minute action sequence for a week, two weeks. I like to shoot a few pages a day of dialogue, and itís real tough to kind of go in there, for me, to warrant shooting for two weeks on something that will last two minutes because Iím not the Washofsky brothers. Itís not like Iíll take two weeks and come up with something brilliant. Iíll take two weeks and come up with a standard action two minutes.

P. Croatt But it just seems so natural because you have such a comic books background, and you seem to have a genuine love of those blockbusters. I would pay good money to see GREEN ARROW or BATMAN by Kevin Smith.

K. Smith Read the comics, which are probably far better than the film would be if I was involved. Otherwise, my version of Batman would be like him standing around talking for two weeks and not getting anything done. The Bataranger would never leave the utility belt. It would just be chatting.

P. Croatt I can see that. I guess a Ö question to that is, weíre talking about blockbusters. A lot of big Hollywood talent, obviously Affleck, Jason Lee, and Matt Damon, all kind of started in your films. Affleck is on the cover of People and Damon is doing the BOURNE IDENTITY. Do you ever watch these movies and think these guys were kind of character actors when they started. Now theyíre big stars. Does that still blow your mind?

K. Smith Certainly not with Matty because Matty was off and running before I got involved. Matty had done GERONIMO and he had already done, what was that movie, THE RAINMAKER before we even used him in CHASING AMY for that brief scene. But Ben and Jason Lee, yes sometimes I look, but I never feel anything but kind of like proud, like man, I was fucking smart. Like I saw it. I saw it before. I caught it before everyone else did and thatís what I get out of it. Itís certainly never like what the fuck? Why those guys? I know exactly why those guys and, like I said, it just kind of fucking gives me a boost where Iím like, Iím smart enough to call that from way out. It makes me look good that those dudes became huge.

Moderator Next we have Karen Idelson with DVDFile.com.

K. Idelson My question is, you talk a lot about being somebody who is kind of overcompensating for some of your own feelings about yourself. I was wondering if now that youíve gotten to a point where you can do a lot of the material you want to do, have your feeling about that changed? Do you feel more secure?

K. Smith No, because one has nothing to do with the other. One is what you do for a job and the other is who you are, what you look like every fucking day of your life whether youíre doing that job or not. Itís certainly nice to wake up and be like, wow, I donít have to go to one of these jobs that I canít fucking stand. I want to take my Ö and I look like this.

Itís nice that I donít have the career woe, but it still doesnít change the fact that when Iím brushing my teeth I have to stare into the mirror and go Iíve got to do something about this. Why have I never been able to do something about this? Why canít I accomplish this one simple thing? Why canít I weigh what I weighed when I graduated from high school? That doesnít change. It doesnít matter who you work with or the amount of press you get or how well your movies do, at least for me. I still always feel the same way.

K. Idelson One of the things I saw, which was really actually kind of touching about all the people who come to see you at these lectures, was that they seem to be really responding to having those same feeling themselves. Really also responding to your ideas about religion and just life in general, and maybe a lot of the sexual themes in CHASING AMY. Is that comforting to you that youíve become, I donít want to say a spokesperson, but at least somebody whoís kind of articulating all of those thoughts and ideas and insecurities and worries?

K. Smith It was the by-product of what the first movie did. When we made CLERKS or going even back before we made the movie, when I wrote CLERKS, I chiefly wrote it for myself and then my friends secondarily. I wanted to write something that amused me or that I really enjoyed. Something that I never saw represented, like I wanted to see myself up on the screen. You go to a lot of movies and you donít really see yourself. I wanted to see myself represented on the screen with me and my friends, so when we made the flick and then started traveling and doing the festivals, and then when it went theatrical, you start realizing that the movie has this identity factor to it, like what youíre saying, people can totally identify with.

It was a movie like I never thought it would really play outside of Ö County where we grew up, and then it starts playing outside the state and it starts playing outside the country. You find that no matter where you go, people kind of identify with what youíre saying. It was kind of inspiring. It was like okay, then I should always follow through and do what I did the first time, which is write for myself and then there will always be people. They may not be a huge audience, but there will always be an audience of people that understand where youíre coming from and feel the same way. So as long as youíre kind of true to yourself in a weird way, enough people will follow that youíll get to do it regularly.

I donít know; itís kind of worked out for me. I so appreciate it. I donít take it for granted. Itís not one of these things where Iím a fucking guru. People listen to me. I just thank God there are people that identify with what Iím saying. Otherwise, Iíd have to go get a real job so itís worked out pretty well.

I donít think itís about saying anything earth shattering either. Itís just kind of talking about stuff that not a lot of people talk about, or itís easier to stomach coming from me because I look like these folks. Iím not that different. If you threw me into the audience, I would look like the audience. Itís not like, Affleck gets on a stage, itís like that dude belongs in front of a crowd. He looks like the dude who belongs up front. I look like a dude that belongs sitting in the crowd.

I think itís easy to kind of relate to me because itís very easy to make that substitution in your mind where youíre sitting in the audience going I could be this guy. All I have to do is fucking apply myself or be as lucky as him.

Moderator We have a question from Tim Lammers with WNBC.com

T. Lammers Your movie is damn funny, laugh out loud funny, but obviously they address some pretty heavy issues. Do you find that the issues that you address, your perception of these issues, like sexuality, like religion, when youíre examining the material, making the film, do your perception of things change and do you change up maybe what your original thoughts may have been going into the film?

K. Smith Not until afterwards. This was a conversation I was just having with my producer, Scott Mosier, recently. Going into JERSEY GIRL, the big fear was will it be as good to us as CHASING AMY? CHASING AMY was kind of for us the high watermark. Like that was the movie to live up to. JERSEY GIRL is kind of a spiritual sequel, but itís spiritually related to CHASING AMY, tonally related to CHASING AMY. The tone is very similar. Itís dramatic and thereís humor in it. Thereís less humor Ö than there was in CHASING AMY.

I was particularly, Mosier didnít seem to care as much, but I was terrified that people would be like CHASING AMY had something very important to say or very original to say or very obscure to say that connected with a particular audience. What does this movie really have to say, the one that weíre making?

Mosier was just the one who was kind of talking me down off the limb recently where I was talking about how I used to, we went out to lunch recently, and I was talking about how before we made the movie I was so terrified that it would never live up to CHASING AMY. I said and now I just donít give a shit. Now I like this movie better than CHASING AMY, and it doesnít matter that it doesnít have what I thought was in CHASING AMY, an ďedge.Ē It doesnít have the pop culture references. It doesnít have the hard-core talk about sex and what not.

Mosierís point was yes, thatís the thing. Could you have even written CHASING AMY now if you wanted to? Wasnít CHASING AMY a means to an end? Like when I wrote CHASING AMY it was more of a therapeutic exercise to get past that mindset that the main character finds himself mired in, that kind of hung up on your girlfriendís sexual past mindset.

Once the movie came out and once we were done with it, and people started seeing it, suddenly I didnít feel that way anymore. Making the film would up being very therapeutic, so I couldnít even make CHASING AMY again if I tried or if I wanted to because Iím in a completely different place.

I think itís not so much while youíre making the movie your ideas donít change or something like that because the would be dangerous, to go into a movie and suddenly be like wait a second, itís not about that, itís about this. Youíd be kind of fucked because these things have to be meticulously planned, so that youíre maximizing the amount of what youíre shooting compared to what little time you have to do it in. I couldnít really go in there and just start changing up while we were in mid-production.

That would be bad, but what happens is you make the flick and then you grow. I look at CLERKS, and of course I can identify with it on some level because I made it, but at the same time Iím like why didnít that dude just get off his ass and go do something? And CHASING AMY was the same thing. I sit there going, dude, who gives a shit? Itís better that she has fucking experience. Thatís a bonus thatís not a fucking drawback. Get over it. That comes later. The change kind of comes later.

How your feelings change about what youíve done or what youíre saying comes later, I hope. God forbid, youíre the person that still feels the same way. I would hate it if I was the guy who still had the exact same mindset as both Dante and Randall. It would mean that in nearly ten years I havenít fucking grown an inch.

T. Lammers I want a quick follow up to that. Maybe youíll have your mindset going into the film, but then again you have the situation now, the suits to contend with. Does that make a difference or do you stand your ground?

K. Smith I would say that weíve played our careers very smartly, Mosier and I, inasmuch as weíve elected to always be with people that let us do what we want, which is Miramax, Harvey and Bob. Weíve never gone in and said we want to do this and theyíve said no. Theyíve always like gone sure, go ahead. Itís not because theyíre fucking salt to the earth and they love us to death. I think they absolutely do dig us, and I think theyíre good guys at heard, but I think chiefly that weíve made them money. It hasnít been a lot. Itís not like itís enough for them to retire on. Itís certainly not enough to keep you coming and going for five years. Weíve never made a PULP FICTION for them. Weíve never pulled a Quentin, but every movie weíve made for them theyíve turned a profit on, and some of them theyíve turned a heady profit on. Every time we come into them theyíre like go ahead, yes do this. Do what you want.

Based on that, why would we go anyplace else to make a flick? Why would I throw myself into the Jaws of the studio system where, as Iíve seen working on the SUPERMAN flick or listening to how Mark had to deal with the many cooks that he had to deal with on DAREDEVIL, the director, Mark Steven Johnson.

When youíre making these movies by committee with the studio and the production company, and in the instance of DAREDEVIL youíre also dealing with Marvel brass as well. Three sets of cooks to answer to, to be able to pull together one movie. All of that has nothing to do with the directorís particular vision, and in this case he was also the writer. Thatís just too frustrating. Why would I go there when I could just simply stay where I am and keep doing exactly what I want, never having to deal with the problems that other filmmakers seem to deal with when they go into the studio system.

We made one movie with a studio technically, which was MALLRATS, which we did at Universal. In MALLRATS Iím not going to say that the first draft was brilliant. Though the first draft was a lot better than what the movie turned out to be. They kind of hammered that first draft out of us in an effort to help it reach the widest possible audience.

I remember the execs saying donít you want to reach the widest possible audience? Thatís not bad is it? You make something, you want as many people as possible to see it, donít you? I was like yes, I guess that kind of makes sense. So actually if you just change some of these things, and Iíve never had to deal with that at Miramax.

In terms of the suits, Iíve never really, with the exception of the MALLRATS experience, the SUPERMAN experience, Iíve never had to deal with the suits. Thatís because Harvey and Bob donít wear suits and they donít act like suits. Itís easy to relate to a guy that kind of looks like you and has the same taste in movies as you. Thereís an East Coast sensibility, I think, that works between us and Miramax as well, so I donít know, Iíve never had that problem. I donít anticipate having that problem because Iíll always just stay at Miramax. Rather the devil you know, right?

Moderator A question from Jeffrey Kleinman with DVDTalk.com.

J. Kleinman I want to know now that JERSEY GIRL is kind of wrapping up and such, whatís up next? Are you pretty much done with it?

K. Smith Weíre done shooting. On Sunday we finished our first assembly minus our first cut, whatever you want to call it, minus one scene, which we have to shoot on January 8th, so weíre pretty much done. But weíll spend the next two months probably wheedling it down to a fighting weight because right now itís a little on the long side, so Iím not done by any stretch of the imagination. Thereís still tonís of JERSEY GIRL left to do.

J. Kleinman You havenít really started given thought to whatís next or have you?

K. Smith The next thing? No, not at all. This is the first time in my career where Iím actually finishing a movie and not knowing whatís next because normally every time we finished something I was ready to go with the next thing, or at least knew what the next thing was going to be if I hadnít already pitched it or submitted it. But this is the first time Iím kind of sitting here going I donít know. I have no idea what to do next.

J. Kleinman Are there things in vaults, either things that youíve produced or things that are out there that havenít hit DVD that youíre going to look at putting on DVD?

K. Smith Yes. Weíve got to get Brian Lynchís movie, BIG HELIUM DOG, on DVD because right now weíve got three of the flicks out on DVD. Weíve got Vinnyís movie, A BETTER PLACE, Malcolmís movie, DRAWING FLIES, and Brian Johnsonís movie, VULGAR, are all out on DVD. The only ones not out on DVD that we made of the smaller movies was Brian Lynchís BIG HELIUM DOG, which is really funny, but I think weíll get around to doing that this year.

Also, I know weíre going to do a CLERKS tenth anniversary DVD, re-mastering it so that weíre kind of going off the negative. Itís not going to look as grainy, which will be weird because I think most people are used to seeing CLERKS look grainy, and suddenly weíre going to be presenting them with a version where all that grain doesnít really exist because we wouldnít be going off the blowup; weíd be going right off the 16mm negative.

J. Kleinman Have you thought at all about doing anymore animated stuff?

K. Smith I know Iíve got that as well. Weíve got the CLERKS cartoon, which Iíll be writing next, but Iíve been writing that for a little while and then I just kind of put it to the side while I was working on JERSEY GIRL, but yes, thereís a CLERKS cartoon movie that weíre going to be doing.

J. Kleinman The final question is are you blown away that movie Poop Shoot.com is actually now a real Web site with Ö

K. Smith I dig that so much. It just occurred to me one day. I get up in the mornings and I hit the Internet and I read a bunch of different sites for a bunch of different information. I said we can put it all under one roof and then I wouldnít have to go to all those sites. I could just go to one site and that would be mine. We already have Movie Poop Shoot, letís put it together.

I contacted the editor, the guy who runs the site, Chris Ryall, and pitched him on it and said would you like to do this? Would you like to pull it all together? I mean we got the name and thereís kind of awareness for it. The name sometimes works against us because itís tough to, like I donít even know if Movie Poop Shoot would get on this teleconference call because of the name. This I find so fucking deplorable. There are studios like Warner Profters who wonít let our journalists be on the screening list because they represent a site called Movie Poop Shoot because the term ďpoopĒ is in the title of our Web site.

J. Kleinman I think sometimes people donít get on the list because they have a dot-com in their title.

K. Smith That too. Not for nothing, Iím too Ö but this dot-com has a dude behind it where itís like, look I work in your stupid fucking business. Let my guy in. Itís not your studio business; itís the studioís stupid business. Thereís dead silence. The dudeís like fuck you, your business is stupid.

The studio side of the equation, I recently had to call and intercede with a studio that Iíd worked with before on behalf of one of our journalists going why are you cock blocking this dude? He just wants to cover your movie and give you press. And theyíre like the title of the Web site is kind of. I said fuck the title, man. What are you, fucking nine? Youíve got a problem with the term ďpoop?Ē In this instance itís like a double entendre term, you know, the poop, the inside, the skinny. Poop Shoot granted, a little funny, but still.

Itís fantastic having the site. Sometimes itís an uphill battle with the title, but the guy who runs the site is a fucking whiz and has committed so much time to it and made it really what it is. He deserves all the credit. I was just the idea guy.

J. Kleinman Thereís a guy who does our theatrical column on our site and heís like yeah, Iím doing a book thing over at Movie Poop Shoot and Iím like, wait a second, they have stuff? Itís not just Kevin Smith and Ö Bob Ö site anymore?

K. Smith We had to take down the message boards because after a while it got ridiculous because people were incensed that there were actual columns; that it wasnít just kind of a joke because originally we had Movie Poop Shoot up to promote Jay and Bob. It kind of looked like it does in the movie, and functioned as it did in the movie, and we made up fake content for it, but when we decided to take Movie Poop Shoot into this different area to make it a viable entertainment news Web site for the people that were kind of way into James Ö Bob Ö were disappointed or pissed off when they got to the site and found out that it wasnít just about the movie; that we were actually trying to accomplish something with it.

So we took the message boards down because it just got to be too much with people just getting up there being like all you mother fuckers are going to pay. You were the ones who are the ball breakers. I guess weíll eventually go back to the message boards once everything kind of calms down and some people understand like, hey man, itís a news Web site. Weíre using the title, but itís not for making Jay and Bob Ö

J. Kleinman Youíll have to put a column up that says the stuff in Jay and Silent Bob is satire. Itís not how we feel about the Internet.

K. Smith Exactly. Some people donít get that.

J. Kleinman Good luck on wrapping JERSEY GIRL.

Source: JoBlo.com



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