Comic Con 2015: Yoga Hosers Panel and An Evening with Kevin Smith
After having an unprecedented empty Hall H to come out to, the darling of Comic Con, Kevin Smith, had to host to a totally brand new audience coming in fresh. I suppose that can be good or bad depending on your viewpoint… but the worst situation is trying to follow up JJ Abrams with his gift of a free Star Wars concert just shortly before. Surely a few people may have stayed behind… someone? Maybe? Lo and behold as I was writing this, a fan in the next chair actually informed me there were a total of 22 people who stayed behind. Damn… 22 out of 6500ish people? Poor Kevin Smith. (Thanks to “Matt” for the audience count.) But yet, the hall filled up relatively well under the circumstances and I think he ended up with a sizable audience after all.
Kevin Smith comes out to roaring applause looking much thinner than I have ever seen him.
He starts off by addressing the cheers from the audience. “You guys are very sweet but let’s address the bantha in the room.” He goes on to speak about the Star Wars panel and geeks out a bit himself but still talks about the fear he had once everyone left the hall. “’JJ Abrams said who wants to come to see a free Star Wars concert? Everybody can come!’ And they all went. Welcome to my nightmare”
He goes on to tell us the Yoga Hosers trailer premieres tonight but “…maybe we will leave early and head out to the star wars concert.”
Kevin proceeds to talk about being at his first Comic Con panel in 1997 in a very small room with the rooms becoming larger from 1998 forward. He discusses his anxiety about being placed in Hall H for the first time. “The thing I was most terrified about was Hall H would be empty and here we are tonight… but I am fine.”
The first fan begins to ask his question and the mic doesn’t work. “JJ took the mics with him as well.” The audience gets a big laugh. The fan begins by mentioning what I had already noticed - Kevin’s extreme weight loss. Kevin responds with an expanded monologue that seems reminiscent of a self-help seminar by telling us all how he dropped sugar from his diet. A documentary called “Fed up” was his inspiration to remove sugars from his diet. He decided to try one year with no sugar intake “and the weight began to fall off.” However, he claims “…in the first two weeks, I would have sucked dick for lucky charms!” The audience roars with laughter.
Upon hearing people compliment his new look he says “When someone says ‘You look great!’ I hear ‘You used to be so fucking fat and we never told you.’”
The first real question of the night finally arrives: “How did you get into producing and what’s your favorite part and what don’t you like?” He talks about how he’s not a great producer and instead relies on Scott Mosier for producing duties. He goes on to talk about how hard it is to find positive influences in the movie and once again breaks into a bit of advice to the audience. “Don’t be around the “Why?” people and surround yourself with the “Why Not?” people. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of ‘Why Not?’ people to help me get this stuff done. He continues by praising Kim Ledford among others for helping to get Mallbrats made. “If not for Kim, I would be sitting somewhere saying ‘This script would be so much fun to do.’” Interestingly, he informs us all the producers and people of importance on Mallbrats are women.
Second audience question: “When is the next chapter of his Batman comic?” He still needs to write the last two issues of Batman Bellicosity and it should be completed once the fifth season of Comic Book Men is done filming.
Third Question: “What exactly is going on with Hit Somebody?” Hit Somebody is being turned into a mini-series that will being production in Northern Ontario next fall.
The fourth question: Not so much a question as it is a fan gushing over Kevin and presenting him a t-shirt to help promote a new film described as The Big Chill meets Peanuts where Charlie Brown dies. The conversation turns to some dark comedy as Kevin and the audience member banter back and forth.
Fifth Question: “What movie do you find yourself quoting all the time?” Kevin answers with “Raising Arizona! I married a Raising Arizona fan and we speak to each other in Raising Arizona quotes!”
Sixth Question: “You have confirmed many of the Mallbrats cast… but is Ben Affleck coming back?” Kevin doesn’t confirm or deny. “I reached out to 17 out of the 18 cast members. I didn’t reach out to Ben yet until everything is locked in with the cast along with a shoot date. I wrote him a very cool cameo that we can shoot anywhere and we hope he can do it. If he can’t, then we make a fuckton of Ben Affleck jokes!!”
The seventh question: Comes from a fan who informs Kevin and the audience that his son’s name is Nathaniel Kal-El and asks “How did Harley like her name growing up?” He answers “She never really fought the name. She just didn’t like Smith.” He mentions he will introduce her only as Harley Quinn.
The eighth question: Comes from a fan who professes to reading his book entitled Tough Shit. “In the book, I got the feeling that this was the end of the Kevin Smith era, so my question is can I show my kids new Kevin Smith movies in ten years?” Kevin responds with a resounding “Yes” and then continues to discuss why he had decided at the time to stop making movies.
“I ran out of real life experiences to make movies from. I ran out of personal things to say so I started making movies about making movies. Then with Tusk, I just started making shit up! This is my experimental period of sorts.” He goes on to describe wanting to try out filmmaking in the style of Cronenberg or even David Lynch. He goes on to justify why he has fleshed out the True North trilogy in the over the top styling and leaves us with my favorite quote of the night. “Moosejaws is just Jaws with a moose.”
Kevin segues into a discussion about Yoga Hosers and his inspiration on what drove him to make it. “What do I love? I love my kid. Why not put her in a movie?” When making Tusk, Kevin wrote a small role for his daughter who was excited to try something new. She asked her friend Lily-Rose Depp (Johnny’s daughter) if she wanted to be in it too. Johnny and her mother agreed to let her participate and Kevin moved forward with the short scenes including the both of them working at a convenience store. After the shoot, Johnny said to Kevin “You and me should retire and just live off of these girls.”
Kevin tells another funny story concerning Johnny’s Tusk character, Guy Lapointe. Johnny had the impression his opening monologue was all off camera. When Kevin corrected the completely unprepared Depp, he grabbed the script and memorized the entire monologue in about 25 seconds before the camera rolled. That take is the one and only take and is the opening for the movie and is a testament to Depp’s ability as an actor. Kevin continues on about the girls’ scenes in Tusk. “I didn’t know why I liked the scene so much.” He goes on to say his wife helped him figure it out by explaining how it’s just two girls behind a convenience store counter. “Oh right, it’s Clerks with girls.”
He then introduces his daughter Harley Quinn and she comes out to massive applause and kindly brings him a towel to help him wipe the sweat away. She seems stunned by the amount of people present and comes across slightly awkward, but in a cute way.
She starts off by telling a wonderful story about walking the exhibition floor. Apparently she ran up and hugged what she thought was her father and it ended up being someone dressed as Kevin Smith on the floor. She continues to explain how the fan realized who she was and in turn what just took place. The fan then went on to say her mistake was the biggest compliment of his life. It is a great story for sure and a wonderful way for her to win over the audience almost immediately.
She goes on to describe how making Yoga Hosers was a dream came true. “I had the time of my life doing it and I am so excited to show you guys.” Lily-Rose Depp could not make the event. She is filming something right now and sent her regards. Harley proceeds to introduce the Yoga Hosers trailer.
As the trailer ends, the crowd goes wild. The villains are called bratzis (originating from a combination of Bratwurst and Nazis assumedly). Jason Mewes was commissioned to portray the villains but could not continue the role due to a makeup allergy or some kind of nervous reaction to the makeup. It was unclear. After approaching Haley Joel Osment (already in the movie as another character as well), his agent called and said he couldn’t do it for one reason or another. In the end, the bratzis are played by Kevin Smith himself!
From Kevin Smith's Facebook, “BEHOLD THE BRATZI – a foot tall Canadian Nazi made of sentient Bratwurst!”
The apparent boss villain has a name not spoken in the trailer. He is referred to as The Goalie Golem. He is a humanoid monster made up of dead bodies with an oversized hockey mask and hockey stick to match.
The Q and A session resumes after the trailer with the ninth question of the night. “That trailer was awesome. When can we see it and how hard do I have to blow you to see it tonight?” After much laughter, Kevin tells us it will be out in early 2016. Even though the movie is completed, they need to show it at festivals including Sundance and TIFF where it may premiere to those audiences in the fall.
The tenth question is a fan gushing once again and informing Kevin of how happy they are that he has continued to make movies in spite of his announcement of retiring not that long ago. Kevin goes on to say “My daughter has been the bridge to get me back into movie making while she is interested in acting. She used to be into bass guitar and I couldn’t help her… but I could help in in acting.” He goes on to say directly to his daughter on stage “If you come help me out, it will be fun and I can have fun making movies again.” During this conversation we learn she is playing Brodie Bruce’s daughter in Mallbrats.
The eleventh question is once again more of a compliment than a question. He says From Dusk til Dawn and Dogma are two of his favorite movies. “I am a writer and you are my inspiration to make me do what I do.”
Kevin responds with some wonderful quotes and a beautifully told story once again spilling out the advice that he is so well known for. “Your voice is your only currency in this life.” He discusses how everyone can tell a story and how each person can be successful in their own way. “All there is to life is creation and destruction. Choose to create! The world is already filled with destruction.”
The aforementioned story is one that truly resonated with the audience. He breaks into quite the monologue about his mentor of sorts when he first got involved in Hollywood. Jim Jacks produced movies such as Tombstone, Tremors and Dazed and Confused. He was the guy that taught Kevin about the movie business. He goes on to regale us with stories about Jim Jacks’ ability to tell stories to Kevin and Jason about all of the people he had worked with and all of the stories during his Hollywood producer career. He continued with the Jim stories right up to the point of trying to get him on his Smodcast podcast. Sadly, all roads are paved with good intentions and Kevin’s procrastination at including his old friend and mentor in his podcasting experience proved too much. Jim Jacks had died of a heart attack before he could follow through. But a wonderful thing had come from it that Kevin had shared with us. After the funeral, many of the attendees went to an eatery in L.A. called Craig’s and got up to tell stories about Jim. Kevin spoke at the restaurant about Jim Jacks and described the stories Jim always told him of the older filmmakers such as Sam Raimi and the Cohen brothers. When Kevin finished his story and was about to leave, a young filmmaker grabbed him and told him how he had been taken under the wing of Jim Jacks over the last few years up until his death… and the latest stories told by Jim to the young filmmaker were all about Kevin Smith now.
Kevin seemed to be almost in tears as he finished the tale. It’s a beautiful story told with the energy and charisma that only Kevin Smith can deliver.
Before the night got away from him any further, he introduced Robert Kurtzman who made the walrus suit for Tusk. Kevin called on him once more to make the bratzis and the Goalie Golem for Yoga Hosers. With the introduction of Robert Kurtzman came the Goalie Golem itself in all its rubber glory for the audience to see firsthand.
After telling the crowd how he will never, ever, forget this particular panel (for a variety of reasons), he ends the night with this quote. “Make yourself known and write your name on the wall. Let the world know you were there.”
Yoga Hosers is the second entry in the True North trilogy and will arrive sometime in 2016.
|Extra Tidbit:||Are you excited for the continuation of the True North trilogy?|