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The KEVIN SMITH panel
by JoBlo


It’s no secret on this site that I am a huge Kevin Smith fan (both personally and professionally). The man continues to put out original films with superb dialogue year after year, remains grounded to the floor and always cares and looks after his fans. His appearances at the Con are a great example, as his panels are usually the ones with the most people packed into the place. This year, he was pushing his latest film JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK, for which he was handing out tickets to anyone asking him semi-decent questions (actually, I think he ended up giving it to pretty much anyone who asked a question). Unfortunately, he still had some tickets left in the end, and without any decision on how to give them away, things got a little rowdy at the front of the stage, as folks stormed it for a chance to see his film that very same evening. But other than that, as per his usual style, Kevin’s panel was easily the funniest one to attend all weekend.

BTW, he started off his panel by bringing out his daughter, Harley (see pic below). The first thing he did was ask her to say “hello” to the crowd and she did. Then he said, “Now say “fuck”…after a few seconds pause, Harley turned to her dad and said “no”. Pretty funny stuff. Smith’s wife then came up on stage to take the child away from him and the questions started. Here are some of the cool stuff that I retained from the panel:

·   When asked whether or not he intends to keep working with his regular “View Askew” people (Jason Mewes, etc…) even now that his “dick & fart” joke movies are behind him (Smith said that JAY & SILENT BOB… would be his last movie as such), Kevin said that he definitely does intend to keep working with them since he finds it easier to write for them and also likes working with the same people over and over.

·        Someone asked Kevin about another rumored “Jersey film” that he was supposed to make called NAME. Kevin said that he hadn’t made up his mind on that film yet but that it was gonna be a more serious film like CHASING AMY, if it ever were to get made. He also said that he didn’t want to talk more about it, in case he decided to do it one day…

·        At some point in the panel, actor and Kevin Smith friend Jason Mewes came onto the stage at the delight of the packed house. He did his usual schtick and then sat down next to Kevin. One of the first questions that he got was someone asking him how he prepared for his role as Jay. His response: “Drank and smoked a lot of bud!” You gotta love this guy!

·        When asked about how he developed his screenwriting abilities, Kevin explained how he had gone to film school in Vancouver for 4 months, but hadn’t gotten much out of it. Fortunately, that’s where he met his present-day producer Scott Mosier, and they started their reign of cinematic terror soon thereafter. BTW, Kevin’s philosophy on writing is that you either “can or can’t write”. He said that school was mostly for shit like formatting and stuff like that. He also said of directing that he “was of the mind that a chimp can direct, and that if he can direct, you can direct”. I’ve always appreciated Kevin’s support of others, frankness and humble attitude in this respect.

·        Kevin was asked what else he planned to do in comics and he said that he would be continuing on GREEN ARROW (although he said that he wasn’t attached or anything to the possibly rumored movie based on the comic), BLUNTMAN & CHRONIC and would like to pitch something to DC for BRAVE AND THE BOLD. He also announced the next day at the Con that he would be writing THE BLACK CAT as well.

·        When asked whether he liked THE PHANTOM MENACE or not, Kevin said “Yeah, I did, but I didn’t really expect that much from it”. He also joked about how the pod race should definitely have been cut down.

·        An audience member started off one of his questions by referring to Kevin as Dr. Smith, which Kevin laughed at and told everyone that he had, in fact, been given a doctorat from a College last year. He was asked how the FLETCH treatment was going and he said that he hadn’t started it yet, although that would likely be his next thing or maybe the next, next thing.

·        Of course, Internet rumors are so prelavant nowadays, that any panel would not be complete without at least one question about them, so someone asked Kevin to address the rumor about him being in the next STAR WARS movie: “I am?” The guy who asked the question then said “Yeah, you’re supposed to be Obi-Wan’s cousin or something!” Of course, Kevin and the crowd couldn’t help but laugh at that one and Kevin said, “No, nobody has asked me to be in any STAR WARS movie, but I’d love to do, if asked.”

·        As per Jay’s demeanor in person (very quiet with few words spoken when asked a question), Kevin was asked whether or not he really based his character of Jay on Jason Mewes. Kevin said that he definitely did, but that he based him on Jason’s persona when he was about 14-15, when he was pretty much bouncing off walls every day.

·        Someone asked about the DOGMA DVD documentary that was left out of the Special Edition due to legal reasons and whether or not it would ever see the light of day and Kevin said that he actually wanted to bring it to the Con to show everyone there, but that it was just too long (45 minutes) and that not everyone was “into” DOGMA. He did however say that it would be seen “…all in good time” one day, and that his Internet site would likely be the first place to showcase it in 3 sections (15 minutes each). Or maybe even on the VULGAR DVD, which is a film directed by his friend Brian Johnson which should be in theaters on October 11, 2001.

·        Asked about the test screening results for JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK, Kevin said that things were going “great” and that they had received an 87% approval rate in their San Diego test run, which is “very, very cool”. He also said that another one in Arizona had gone really well (81%) and that most of the people there went in “blindly” (no prior knowledge of the film that they were about to see), so that was an even more positive result. He also said that the film was having great press screenings and that “so far, so good”.

·        When asked from where he drew his own inspiration, Kevin said, “Do I steal my shit, is that what you’re saying?” Everyone cracked up, of course. Then, he seriously responded (with a bit of mush thrown in for good measure) and said that his wife was his “chief inspiration” (this is when the whole crowd went “aaaaaaaaah!”).

·        And what about the rumored CLERKS animated series to continue on MTV? Kevin said that he is still working on this, although Miramax would rather do a full-length animated CLERKS feature film, than continue with the shows. Stay tuned.

·        Kevin then presented the crowd with a 5-6 minute reel of gags/outtakes from his upcoming JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK flick, which were obviously…very, very funny!

·        “So Kevin, would you ever direct a script that you didn’t write? “No, I don’t really consider myself a director, as much as I do a writer who just happens to direct.” Kevin said that he gets offered a lot of stuff, but turns most of it down (like GOOD WILL HUNTING for example).

·        And what would Kevin’s comic book dream project be? He said that if he ever got the time, he would try and write up something called “Tales Gone Askew”, which would be like a chronicles anthology, with all of the characters from View Askew.

·        Will Jason Mewes ever do films other than with Kevin Smith? The answer was a resounding “yes”.

·        Of course, what’s a panel of questions without at least one query about Paul Thomas Anderson. “So Kevin, what’s up with Paul Thomas Anderson?” Kevin’s response: “Not much.” He also said that his relationship with Paul is pretty well detailed in the interview that he did with Mysterio from the AIN’T IT COOL NEWS website, which you can read here.

·        As a director, does Kevin allow his actors to improvise? Kevin responded to this question with yet another one of his patented jokes, “I tell them to just fuckin’ do it!” Then he said that it really depends on the movie actually, because on CHASING AMY, the tone was much more serious, so there was a little more interaction with his actors. Comedies are usually much easier, he said, but he generally hates “ad-libbers”. He also told a story about how Ben Affleck loved to ad-lib and Kevin would always tell his to “write his own script” if he thought that his lines were better. Of course, Ben went on to write GOOD WILL HUNTING with Matt Damon and won an Oscar for screenwriting. Kevin noted the irony in all of that.

·        Someone asked Kevin why the credits at the end of CLERKS say that DOGMA is the next film. Kevin said that he had already written DOGMA at that time, but that it was technically too difficult to film and that he wasn’t sure on whether or not he was ready to do it just then (especially since the script meant a lot to him). So he continued to write drafts of the film every year since 1994, until he finally found the right time to film it in 1999. Mind you, he says that he “still sees the flaws in the film today”.

·        Kevin was also asked if music inspired him at all? He said that he usually listens to music while he’s writing, but that he generally changes his mind about a certain song by the time filming comes around. He said that music is usually just an after-thought.

·        What’s Kevin’s favorite experience on a movie set? Kevin said that he couldn’t really remember “one moment” since he does have a lot of them, but that he definitely knows what his “least favorite” moment was and that was directing his own daughter in JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK. She plays the young Silent Bob character early on in the film and was apparently the “toughest actor” he’d ever worked with. The irony was that she was supposed to be playing SILENT Bob, but that she was NEVER quiet.

·        Someone asked Kevin about his experience working with actor Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) for his upcoming movie, so Kevin took that moment to show us another 5-6 minute video of behind-the-scenes of JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK. ** SPOILERS AHEAD ** The tape was all about Mark Hamill’s super-hero character in the movie called COCK-KNOCKER and how they had originally painted a blue cock on his face as his disguise. They actually showed us the original make-up on Hamill’s face, with a blue ball on each cheek, but Smith changed his mind once he saw it, and had it replaced by something else for the film. Still pretty funny though.

·        Now I’m not sure if any of you had heard about this already, but musician Prince had called Kevin a few weeks ago and asked him to film a documentary of him. Kevin said that he obviously couldn’t say “no” and that he’d always been a fan of “Batdance” (everyone laughed). He said that he didn’t really know much about the guy before he met him and that the experience actually felt more like a “job” to him. He said that he did see “another side” of Prince, and that his main task was to film people talking about his new album and stuff. It was apparently a pretty long process and lasted about a week or so. He also mixed in some concert footage of Prince in Minnesota. Smith wasn’t sure what Prince had seen in DOGMA that made him want to call him up and ask for his help, but he wasn’t sure if he ever wanted to do anything like that again either (work for someone else). It basically sounded like Kevin didn’t have much “say” in the project and that he was just there as a “hired hand” and I could imagine that after all of his own projects at View Askew, it must’ve been weird being told what to do and all. Smith also said that Prince would still be a little “vague” with him about certain questions that Kevin had, and Kevin would be like “yeah, but what exactly does that mean, dude?!?”

·        When asked about what was next on his plate, Kevin said that he was definitely just gonna stick to writing/directing, and that acting was definitely not for him (he joked that he had pretty much done his “face-time” and that he would now just want to sit behind a camera and get “Brando-fat!”

·        Would Kevin Smith ever teach his learnings onto others? Apparently not. Kevin first said that he wasn’t sure if he actually had any wealth of skills to pass onto others (always the modest one, this guy) and that he really didn’t have any greater desire to teach. He also talked about his one experience as a teacher in a high school, and said that he didn’t really like it all that much. Some kids would be paying attention, others wouldn’t and others would just be looking at him pissed and shit.

JoBlo reviews Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back

Joey Baloney reviews Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back

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SAN DIEGO COMIC CON 2001


Another year, another San Diego Comic Con for the Arrow and I. Okay, so this year's event wasn't as exciting or interesting to us as the one presented last year (see our entire coverage of that event here), but I guess we did still have quite a few things to check out, as presented below:

The Spider-Man/ Sam Raimi panel:
Sam discusses the "Spider-Man" movie that he is currently directing, answers some questions and gives us all a sneak 5-minute preview scene from the movie in question...

The Kevin Smith panel:
Kevin discusses everything in his View Askew universe, talks about his upcoming movie "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back", his future and even shows us some behind-the-scenes outtakes and more...

The John Carpenter panel:
Legendary director John Carpenter comes to the Con to discuss his latest horror flick "Ghost of Mars", answers some questions and gets dissed in the process...

The Planet of the Apes Q&A with Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa:
Cary discusses Tim Burton's project and answers questions...

The Joss Whedon panel:
The man behind "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" discusses everything and the kitchen sink in here...

Glen Morgan/James Wong present "The One":
The men behind last year's surprise hit "Final Destination" discuss their upcoming sci-fi/thriller starring Jet Li and more...

The Mick Garris panel:
Director Mick Garris discusses all of his films including his TV version of "The Shining", "The Stand" and his upcoming Stephen King movie "The Talisman"...

Interview with David Naughton:
You might not remember the name, but you will definitely remember his part as the guy who turned into the werewolf in John Landis' classic film "American Werewolf in London". The Arrow interviews him here...

Misc. stuff:
JoBlo reviews "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" and the "Movie Webmaster panel" while The Arrow reviews "Elvira's Haunted Hills" and the "Jason X" trailer...

The official JoBlo.com / 2001 San Diego Con Photo Gallery:
Pictures from our trip to California for anyone who gives a shit...

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