WC10: Kevin Smith

Green Hornet

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As was evident by the roaring applause for his 40-minute-late entrance on Friday, San Francisco's WonderCon audience still loves cult filmmaker and comic book writer Kevin Smith.

The self-deprecating "Chasing Amy" and "Clerks" mastermind revealed that his voice was gravelly when he took the stage because he'd been singing Whitney Houston tunes in the car between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Smith's breathless entrance marked a highly anticipated return to the convention after more than four years of nonattendance, during which time he worked on a number of projects such as recent Green Hornet and Batman series for Dynamite and DC Comics, respectively.


Friday also marked Smith's first visit back to the Bay Area since the media frenzy surrounding an incident earlier this year where Smith was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight departing Oakland International Airport for allegedly exceeding the size limitations of his seat.

"Thank you for the greeting. It sent a clear message that I'm not too fat to be loved," Smith quipped. "Last time I was in the Bay Area, I had some problems."

Smith launched directly into a question-and-answer session that elicited digressions about having an "orgasm high," "pooping high," and misconceptions that he was always a stoner. "You can't come to a Kevin Smith show and say 'too much information,'" he warned the audience, after announcing the previous night had produced his "best sex in a decade." "It's like going to Disneyland and saying 'too many pederasts' - comes with the territory."


Smith said there is no burning desire to merge his love of cinema and comic books and lightheartedly ragged on an audience member for mentioning the Green Hornet film he attempted to make prior to Michel Gondry's upcoming "The Green Hornet." Watching big budget superhero flicks, Smith said, is more appealing than making them. The two films Smith always wanted to see made were "The Dark Knight" and "Watchmen," but adapting a comic for film for the sake of it is not his thing. "I didn't give a fuck about the character of Iron Man until [Jon] Favreau made that movie and now I'm looking forward to the second one," he said, as an example.


As for Smith's current projects, he was finally ready to loosen his lips about the pre-production horror film "Red State." He divulged that it was inspired by a '70s satanic Winnebago chase film called "Race with the Devil," and described a scene in which a woman dancing naked in woods gets her throat slit. "It's spellbinding man, it's a frightening affair."

Smith dished about his firm belief in not wasting material. He used some of his Green Hornet story for the comic book he later wrote for Dynamite Entertainment, and turned a dead-end pilot idea for Jason Lee from the '90s into "Zack and Miri Make a Porno."

"First time I saw the issue, I was like, 'This is fucking dope,'" Smith said about Dynaite's "Green Hornet."

In response to a fans question about how someone can work as a writer at Smith's production company, the auteur said writing is a one-man show. "It's very fucking simple," he said. "You have to come out of my mother's vagina and be me. A lot of dudes get it half right and come into my mother's vagina and they find out very quickly I don't want to help them make movies."

Smith wasn't afraid to share honest thoughts about his career and where it's going. He said he worries that his films today lack the authenticity of his earlier work, but added that "Clerks II" was his favorite to make. "I still love them every bit as I did back then but film is not religion to me, it's an art form," he said.

Perhaps the biggest breakthrough of the evening was the disclosure of Smith's latent marijuana habit, particularly because the drug is a recurring motif in his films. He revealed that until two years ago he had only smoked weed around ten times in his life. "Adding weed to sex is like taking peanut butter and somehow making it better," he gushed to a straightedge 26-year-old in the audience.

Smith said that on a phone call with Arnold Schwarzenegger, he advised that the California Governor legalize marijuana on his way out of office. "In my head I'm going, 'I'm talking to Conan the Barbarian,' and man I wanted to go, 'Gov, what is the best life?'" Smith said.


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