Never one to beat around the bush of a sensitive subject, or to pass up the opportunity to tell a few dirty jokes (or a whole bunch of them) to an auditorium filled to the brim by some of his most ardent fans, Kevin Smith’s panel at the New York Comic-Con on Saturday held true to the candid, extraordinarily blunt, un-PC public persona that the director is most commonly known for.
Smith, one of the weekend’s Guests of Honor, and attired in his customary Silent Bob garb, fielded the standing room only crowd’s questions in an amusing, rambunctious, mostly profanity laden marathon Q&A session Saturday afternoon in the Jacob Javits Center’s Special Events Hall (Smith’s panel running over necessitated the pushing back of fellow Guest of Honor Todd McFarlane’s by just over half an hour).
After coming on stage to deafening applause, and telling a couple of jokes to warm up the crowd – extremely tame when compared to the candor of some of his replies to follow – Smith promptly proceeded to launch right into the audience’s questions-and into the audience at times themselves.
When asked the first question of the afternoon, why he chose a relatively second-tier character like “Green Arrow” to revitalize several years back for DC when he just as easily could have worked on any hero of his choosing, Smith replied, “I’m really into dudes who sling arrows. Seriously, though, I was a big fan of Oliver Queen from way back. I actually went into the DC offices back in 1996’s [when I was writing the script for “Superman Lives”] and begged the editor on “Green Arrow” at that time to let me write the series. He didn’t even know who the hell I was. He said, “F#$* you, Chuck Dixon writes “Green Arrow!'”
On the subjects of women and sex (two subjects that repeatedly came up during the course of the two-plus hour panel, repeatedly in conjunction with one another) Smith replied that his secret for keeping the ladies satisfied wasn’t really a secret at all, “I just had to learn to eat p@$$! real well…to make up for my lack of d!$#”
When asked about his involvement with a “Green Hornet” film, of which he is still credited over on the Internet Movie Database’s website: “Nothing on IMDB is true. I mean, for a couple of years I was listed as the writer of “Dogma” along with some guy who nobody’s ever seem to have heard of before. Yeah, I was attached to do “Green Hornet” over at Miramax with the Weinsteins…for a while. [How that happened is] Harvey pulled me into his office one day and said, ‘Hey, Kevin, you like comics, so why don’t you do “Green Hornet”‘ for us, Wow!, I thought, what a weird criteria for making a seventy million dollar movie. Hell, if it’s that easy, any one of you guys in this room could have been the director on “Green Hornet.”
Smith stated that although he is a huge fan of comic book movies, he doesn’t think he’ll ever be the right man to helm one. “Sam Raimi does more cool $h!% in two minutes of one scene from either of the “Spider-Man” movies than I’ve done in my whole entire seven movie career.”
“My version of “Green Hornet” would have been very simple and straightforward. It probably would have just been him and Kato standing around the whole movie talking about getting laid. I’m just not really way into the visual side of filmmaking.”
When told by a fan that he was his inspiration for wanting to write and direct his own movies someday, Smith joked, “Yeah, I heard I’ve inspired a new generation of filmmakers that all look like shit.”
Seeing Richard Linkluter’s “Slacker” for the first time was what most inspired him to become a director, “When I first saw that movie I went-holys#! I’ve never seen a movie like this before. It’s just people walking around talking the whole time. S#*!, even I could make a movie like that.”
A fan asked if Smith considered Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s “Sin City” to be the Best Comic Book Movie Ever Made, to which Smith, after taking several moments to deliberate, replied, “One of the best…”
“Clerks 2” is not going to reference his previous films as heavily as most of his other work does. “It’s not riff with references to everything that’s come before in the View Askew-verse, not like Dante’s walking around saying, ‘I’m still not even supposed to be here today’, or anything like that.”
Smith said that sometimes he still can’t even believe that his career’s been as successful as it thus far has, “I set out to tell stories that I thought maybe me and a couple of my friends would get, and if other people like them, then, hey, I must be doing something right…I guess.”
As Smith knew it inevitably would, when the topic of his lateness on “Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do” was raised, he jokingly replied that the only reason he finished the series at all was so that he could set foot on a comic convention hall’s floor again. “I’m such a lazy fat-ass that I never would have finished [“Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do”] if it wasn’t for me being accosted by some crazy 14-year old fanboy every I’d set foot on the floor of a convention for three straight years shouting, ‘Dude, where’s “Spider-Man/Black Cat!” Dude, where’s “Spider-Man/Black Cat! Dude, where the f&*# is “Spider-Man/Black Cat!”‘ I finally had to make myself finish the thing just so that I could walk around and haggle with retailers at one of these things again. The series’ ending came from that desire more than anything else.”
Smith dodged the question of when he would complete “Daredevil: Target.”
He also said that he was never paid for his work on “Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do” and is not looking to be. “I told my wife to expect three more checks to come in for the series now that it’s finished, like the three that came in when I first started it [over three years ago], and she didn’t know what I was talking about. So then I called up Marvel and asked them to check and see if I’d been issued checks for my work, and they said that I hadn’t because I’d forgotten to sign the damn contract!”
How to raise money to make your own movie: “Very simple,” Smith replied, getting down on both knees and then tilting his head slightly backwards, opening his mouth.
To Finance “Clerks”, Smith said that he lied about his job and income to various credit card companies and then charged the costs of the whole production.
When he first screened “Clerks” for his mother, she replied, “You spent twenty-eight grand on that garbage?”
On the question of where he finds his inspiration, “Easy, it’s usually when my wife walks in the room and says that the mortgage is due again, then it’s like, ‘Okay, so what would Jay and Silent Bob do today?”‘
Smith said that he is no longer attached to do a “Brave and the Bold” project for DC Comics (Mark Waid is currently attached to an upcoming project at DC under the same title), and also that, “I’ve decided, based on my inability to produce a script on time, that I should never go near a comic book again. I’m probably even going to screw up reading them at some point in the future.”
CBR’s coverage of the New York Comic-Con is Sponsored by Comics Unlimited.
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