If anyone can take credit for spearheading the fanboy revolution that now dominates Hollywood, it's filmmaker Kevin Smith. From his clever references, shout-outs and tributes to comic book culture in his movies to owning his own comic book store and occasionally writing the on-the-page adventures of top tier superheroes, the writer/director's fanboy bonafides have never been a secret. And now, he's shot a for-real superhero show.
Smith stepped behind the camera to direct an episode of "The Flash" titled "The Runaway Dinosaur," which airs May 10 and features an appearance by the writer-director's on- and off-screen BFF Jason Mewes. And as executive producer Andrew Kreisberg and series star Tom Cavanagh revealed during a recent Q&A with the press, Smith impressed the cast and crew on a profound professional and personal level with his approach to helming the show. And, they were only too happy to reveal, his fan flag was flying high the entire time.
"There's one scene in there that is like literally a scene out of a Kevin Smith movie," Kreisberg said of the episode. "But Kevin, he's such a fan of this show -- like, in a way that humbles me beyond my wildest expectations, to be able to sit in a room with him and talk to him and think about how often I quote him and quote his movies, and how he was who I wanted to be when I was in college. To sit down with him and have him speak about this show so lovingly, and so intelligently, and so deeply -- he didn't approach this in like, 'Well, here's my chance to put my stamp on it,' or 'Here's my change to "Clerks"-ify it. His biggest drive -- and I hope it's okay for me to say this -- was like, he just didn't want to mess it up because he's such a fan."
"I think it's a testament to him," Cavanagh said. "This is just more of a note about the guy. He's achieved so much, and for many of us where comedy goes in that direction, we love him. I think we love the fact that he is such a fan of this, and is so knowledgeable about it. Just as a person, to watch somebody who's accomplished so much come on set with such humility, I think it's rare.
"In some ways, your accomplishments, for some people, those accomplishments are bequeathed as power. For Kevin, it seemed that none of that mattered," Cavanagh continued. "What mattered was the day and the fact that we're doing what we love, and he would say that. The first time Grant showed up in the suit, it was incredible to watch Kevin. He was like, 'I just can't believe this is in front of me, let alone directing it.' He was like, 'Guys, isn't this amazing?' After lunch he'd have a quick speech: 'Guys, I just want to say, I know it's lame that I'm saying this in front of 45 grown men and women, but I think it's amazing that we get to do what we love.' Our script supervisor is incredibly knowledgable, very good at stuff that needs to be done and stuff that you might be missing. Kevin gave her credit for directing the episode. Really, this is the person that's really directing the episode. And it wasn't like -- it didn't seem false. It seemed like he felt like someone needed to get credit. He would single different individuals out."
"I think there was a reverence and an awe, almost, in how he approached everything," Kreisberg said. "Usually there's a lot that goes on it editing, and this was an episode that we basically watched and gave a few notes and just said, 'Go with God,' because the thing came out so great."
"His demeanor on set was unlike most" Cavanagh recalled. "You rarely get that experience. Jesse Martin said, 'I always feel like I'm energized about "The Flash." I'm completely reinvigorated just being around that man for eight shooting days.' I think all of us felt that way.
"It was rare that you see that -- I don't want to necessarily say 'enthusiasm' as the way to describe it -- just the gratitude. Kevin Smith proceeds from gratitude," the actor continued. "I feel -- I've always said a set is the place that outs you as a person. You can be a certain way, but after 17-hour days for four months, your true personality will come out. This guy -- he's a good human being. He's incredible to work with."