INT: Kevin Smith & Sam Jaeger

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 we’ve 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, he’s one of those guys you’ve probably seen before being that he’s 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 it’s 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? You’re 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 that’s why my entire repertoire of stuff I’ve 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 they’re sittin’ there waiting to tell you and they’re like oh, he knows, alright.

I like JERSEY GIRL, you know, but it’s just easier to kinda make fun of, and it’s tough to take the whole thing serious, which is good and bad. It’s good because it kinda armors you, it’s bad because then people tend not to take you serious. But that’s fine, I haven’t really made any serious movies and whatnot, but I don’t know, it’s always the way I’ve been so it would be tough to change at this point to not be like, hey I’m pimp aren’t I, I’m 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 don’t believe it.

It seems like you’re 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. I’m the only person in DIE HARD who talks [Laughter] and doesn’t 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, he’s like no. But its fun, it’s 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: What’s nice about working on those big god awfully expensive Hollywood movies is that they have so many writers they don’t even notice if you’re 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 couldn’t get in there, you have to kinda make it germane to the movie. So I don’t 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 don’t respect Susannah’s writing. I just learn very quickly that I’m so not a good actor. A good actor to me is someone like Sam who I only say about cuz he’s sittin’ here [Laughter], but also Jennifer [Garner] and Tim [Olyphant]. A good actor can take what’s written on the page without changing a f*ckin’ word and make it sound like they’re coming up with it off the top of their head. I would try to do that, I just couldn’t, I mean how bad was I?

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

KS: And then I don’t do it anyway…And then Susannah would go, there’s that director move where you’re supposed to lead the horse to water, you know, where you’re supposed to make the actor feel like they’re discovering it for themselves, you know, where you want to say it with more emotion here, where you feel like you’re Emu in this scene, where all these people are lying, or something like that. Finally, I’d be like, Susannah just tell me, say it, and I’ll say it like how you say it. And so she loved it because that’s shorthand. But the other actors, I can’t 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: That’s a great visual.

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

KS: She’s 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 we’ll do what’s on the page and but we’ll also keep adding shit, that way when they cut other shit, there’s 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 time…you know I’m 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 wouldn’t call that acting, so if people come to me and they’re like hey we want you to something that you’ve not done, I’d be like oh, you’re outta your mind. [Laughter] I’m very very limited. So its fun when someone offers you something and you’re like well, I can do this, this is kinda easy and fun and it f*ckin’ pays well [Laughter] So that’s 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, it’s just like, tell me if you f*cked a lot on the movie [Laughter]

But she wouldn’t answer the question?

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

So it’s just a fruitless two-hour track then… [Laughter]

KS: I’ve 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 didn’t want to talk about period. Period. That to me is interesting, that’s the kind of shit if I was listening to the commentary track, I’d go that’s a great question. [Laughter]

Hey Kevin, you’re 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 didn’t get a part was Jason Mewes. Jason Mewes was like, what are you doing today, I said I’m gonna do the voice over for the TMNT, do the CG cartoon, what’re you talking about, I showed him the trailer, and he’s like, oh I want f*ckin’ be in it. Well dude, you’ve been in Weinstein movies, call em’ up, they’ll 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 don’t have anything left, like I’m sorry. He’s 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, it’s a pilot, I don’t know if they’re going to pick it up, god-willing they do. It’s me and James Purefoy from ROME , Paul Hipp and John Corbett.

Manchild? Is it based on the British one?

KS: Yeah, it’s based on the British one…

With Anthony Stewart Head…

KS: With who?

Anthony Stewart Head.

KS: I didn’t see it [Laughter], but I know it’s based on a British one. In the UK , they were all in their 50s and this one, they’re all in their 40s, and I’m not even 40, I’m 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, they’re asking everybody. [Laughter] But it’s 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 there’s 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 that’s because they’re 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, I’m 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 there’s nothing I saw…I go into it with a different perspective and that’s 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 I’ve seen ten of these this year, you know, you’ve seen one, so f*ck you. [Laughter] It’s different for them, because they’re forced to watch every f*ckin’ movie and they’ll see like multiples of the same f*ckin’ tired plot or something like that, whereas I don’t go out and see movies like ‘The Guardian,’ when I got to see it for free, I was like, I like it.

SJ: Yeah, Kevin’s got a different kinda criteria for watching movies too, he’d 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 I’ve been watching movies for years and I’ve 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 isn’t it “certified fresh”. I mean its not like curing cancer, laying brick but it’s a tough job as much as you’re 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 wouldn’t have gone to see?

KS: I mean, yeah, I wouldn’t have gone to see … I mean I got a kid so I probably would have seen OPEN SEASON especially cuz it’s a Sony picture [Laughter] Some of them I probably wouldn’t have wanted to see like I wouldn’t 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, what’s 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 you’ll 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 don’t know if I’m up to that, I mean I love that book so much, and being able to translate one of those books to the screen, that’s just daunting to me, cuz you don’t want to be the guy that f*cks it up, and so I was like I’ll give it a shot see, but I’m certainly not committed to doin’ it, only as much as I just don’t want to drop the ball, cuz I like it so much. If it was some show I didn’t like…I mean I’ve 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 don’t 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 we’ll see, we’ll 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 I’ve 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 don’t know how that happened but…

KS: That’s the only fight I’ve been in my whole life.

SJ: Really? Wow.

KS: Yeah, that’s 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 didn’t actually kill each other in the process or shave something off one another’s 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, I’ve watched half of it, I like it, it’s a rather sweet movie; I haven’t 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 what’s the movie about…

SJ: You turned it off after your part didn’t you?

KS: My part wasn’t in there, but I turned off where my part would be. [Laughter] Cuz Mosier was like, 'don’t finish watching that cuz we’re still in the missing cut', and I gotta watch the finished version and whatnot. But I like it, I think it’s a really sweet movie actually and right up my f*ckin’ alley so obviously I’m 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. She’s really good.

What’s next for you, do you know what you’re doing?

KS: Next for me, I don’t know, I really don’t know. It’s 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 I’ve done seven comedies in twelve years, and I don’t 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, I’d try to make something completely out of my safety zone, completely out of my genre. That being said, I’ve never tested myself, so why would I start now? [Laughter]

…emails between you and [Ben] Affleck…

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

Q and A’s?

KS: I got one comin’ up in Kent State, and then I got one in Denver, but nah, I’ve 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 that’s like twelve episode, four months so I have to leave that open. So not too much. But I don’t know, I mean everyone’s kinda seeing my dog and pony show at this point.

Going back to DIE HARD, you said that you’re 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 they’re like it must have been great, because your friend is Ben and his old lady in the movie, and in fact, back then it wasn’t 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 wasn’t 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, I’m gonna kick your ass [Laughter] and right away you’re like, is she jokin’ or not.

I couldn’t understand it; Alias is taking me seriously, and should’ve 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 I’m looking at her I’m thinking like, I know things about you. [Laughter]

… Is it parallel to your character’s relationship with her character in the movie?

KS: A little bit. And Affleck was around as much as the Grady character was around. He didn’t spend a lot of time on the set. He would bomb by and say hi to her and shit, but generally, even though he’s up in Vancouver … you know it sucks when you have nothing to do with, it’s just kinda boring. It’s 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, he’s like dude, you don’t f*ck me [Laughter] Right on, go to Olyphant’s 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 don’t look like that. Its weird cuz generally I wear this in every movie I’ve 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 there’s one more layer, they can’t tell I’m fat yet [Laughter] Susannah, like when we were doin' the massage scene, Susannah was like of course you’re gonna have your shirt off in this scene, I was like f*ck you, I will not.

She’s like you’re 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 don’t 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 haven’t worn what I was told to wear since I lived at home with my mom, so it’s kinda like that. And in terms of Celestial Seasoning, I haven’t gotten a single box of tea. Maybe when the movie comes out, they’d be like oh, you’re our hero, but I’m 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, I’m on a surfboard in the middle of the Pacific, I’m 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 they’re like, you don’t wear a shirt in the ocean, and I’m like Paul would, Paul’s gonna…

SJ: But this guy’s a method actor.

KS: And the method is like I don’t 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 doesn’t cast. [Laughter]

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

SJ: That’s 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 [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com



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