Wizard World LA, Day 2: Q&A with Kevin Smith

The follow article contains strong language.

Saturday at Wizard World Los Angeles writer/director Kevin Smith held one of his now regular panels chatting with and updating fans on what he's working on. The panel didn't start on time as Smith was 15 minutes late getting to it, but upon the first sign of his arrival the eager crowd rose to its feet, cheering and clapping. As Smith took the podium, he addressed the crowd and with regards to how to handle the Q&A session that was to follow, Smith simply said, "Let's go fucking nuts." And that's where things began.

First up was a question about Smith's upcoming (for us US viewers) three episode stint on "Degrassi: the New Generation," the hit Canadian television show. It will air probably on August 7th, 14th, and 21st on cable network Noggin here in the States. It was a chance to fulfill a dream to be on the show and make out with the Kaitlan Ryan character.

Smith's current hair style caught the eyes of a fan earlier in the day, who advised him the mullet was out. Smith's reply? "The mullet's out. But it's coming back. Maybe only in Jersey." Then the real reason, the shooting of "Clerks 2" beginning in May, was given. That brought up a discussion on the use of hair extensions which further explained the length of Smith's hair. As he said, he was "rocking the mullet for a reason."

He was asked about the "and cue the music" gag from "Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back." It evolved from a private in-joke between Jason Mewes and Scott Mosier and has gone on from there. Smith took the time to mention how amazed he is "Jay And Silent Bob" works as well as it does. This sent him into a ramble about his writing process, where he pondered the difficulties of translating his ideas to the rest of the world, and how he settles on his friends and himself as being the best judges for his material. It appears to work well as a method, as the enthusiasm of the crowd attested many times during the next two hours.

The comic book which got Smith hooked was an issue of "Hot Stuff" he saw when he was five years old. The very idea of the devil wearing a diaper was fascinating to him. So he fell in love with comics then. Only to fall out of love during his high school (typical reason: comics geeks don't get girls; Smith didn't get them anyway, so what was the point?), coming back to comics with Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns."

While this was going on, a very interesting, oddly sexual shadow play was happening on the one of the projection screens. It was right in front of me, but I missed most of it. Why? Because I was doing my job, taking notes. By the time I looked up, the shadows had melted away. More on that in a bit.

Kevin then talked about how cool the "Sin City" trailer looks. Which got him going about the fans who hate most things, like comic book based films, or even the trailers. He admitted he liked both "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones." He even found Jar-Jar Binks funny, in a broad racial stereotype kind of way.

And the shadow sex play begins again, first oral, and then standing. Smith was actually waiting for the flying spunk shot himself. It was at this time he brought out one of the culprits, Jason Mewes, aka Jay. Smith went back to talking about "Star Wars," saying he was looking forward to the recently announced 3-D version of episode three. He wondered why some fans had gotten so upset about changes to "Star Wars"; it wasn't like these people actually owned the franchise, according to his view.

When asked about advice for new writers from a young lady, Jason Mewes jumped in with a quick "Pull your top off." Kevin tried to make up for this by saying a new writer should try to hold onto his or her integrity, but, maybe, try to balance that with flashing one's breasts. He thought about it some more, and decided to stick with his first answer, telling the young lady to keep on writing what she wanted to write. He mentioned "Green Hornet" at this point, saying how many people kept telling Smith to write something akin to the "Spider-Man" movies. It frustrated him until he spoke with Quentin Tarantino who told Smith to just write the movie he wanted. By writing what one wants or is interested in, one won't feel like a whore.

Kevin said the "Clerks" sequel was entitled "Clerks 2: The Passion of The Clerks," which brought a roar of laughter from the crowd. It's live action, and will be black & white, and color. As opposed to the planned "Clerks" animated film, which is expected to go straight to DVD. He wondered about why Miramax wanted to put out a movie based on a failed TV series. Then he thought about Joss Whedon's "Serenity" and quietly continued the discussion.

A rather confusing question about breaking into the movie business brought the Q&A almost to a halt. (It seems the person asking the question wasn't making his point clear to Kevin Smith. It took a few people and a few minutes to get it right.) The first question was would Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes ever play characters other than Jay and Silent Bob in films. The answer was yes. For example, they would play Ray and Silent Bill in the upcoming "Fletch I." That got a big laugh. Then Smith pointed out that Mewes would be in his planned "Ranger Danger," as well as a film that so far stars Paris Hilton and Paul Walker. The follow-up question about becoming a producer only got profane responses (Jason Mewes: "Pull your top off.") and some lude oral sex play with the microphone by Mewes as well. The laughs continued and the discussion moved into lessons on proper oral sex techniques.

Getting back to reality, a question about storyboarding was asked and Smith admitted to only storyboarding action sequences, as he felt doing so for dialogue sequences would create the world's most boring comics, as if he didn't do that already (a paraphrasing of his words). To him, storyboards don't improve camera techniques. That good movies come from directors with vision, which he ain't (his words again).

He likes the casting on "Superman," figuring an unknown works best as Superman. He thinks Bryan Singer will do a good job.

Smith and Mewes saw a screening of "Sin City" on Friday. To quote Smith, "it was pimp." The film looks like the comics brought to life. It's violent as "shit," said Smith while Mewes stopped him from spoiling the whole thing for the audience. Smith added "X-Men 2" was his favorite recent comic book movie.

A question came up about "Daredevil: Target." Smith's response? "It's coming." He has turned in two more "Spiderman/Black Cat" scripts to Marvel, but it looks like he will have to add one more book.

Smith mentioned he never beat the tic-tac-toe playing chicken featured in a bit he did for the Tonight Show. When he's asked if he ever tied the chicken, he surprised to hear the term cat's game; he had never heard of it until that very moment. He wondered about the derivation of the term, but wasn't satisfied by the answers given to him by the audience. (At this writing, this reporter wasn't able to locate the derivation either. Readers are encouraged to send the info to Kevin Smith's website, if they so choose.)

Smith then found himself in a dialogue with an Arkansas comics shop owner about the possibility of his visiting the shop located in North Little Rock. Smith said he would never go there again, having been once when he was dating Joey Adams of "Chasing Amy" fame. He also chided the shop owner for mixing comics with gaming, saying the two were bad together. Which got some of the gamers in the crowd grumbling, but not so much as to make an impact.

Smith then said he sometimes wishes he wasn't known as Silent Bob, especially when he's at the mall. According to his war stories, it appears fans encountered in the mall don't want a Kevin Smith autograph; they want a Silent Bob autograph. One went so far as to throw away an autograph in order to get what he wanted. But on the whole, Smith likes being Silent Bob. He would only like to play Jay in real life, not the movies. Because of all the dialogue Jay has to say.

A member of the audience was invited onto the stage to show Smith the Jay and Silent Bob tattoo he had. It even had Smith and Mewes' signatures along with the image of their characters. The audience member said Smith was his Elvis, a pop hero worth worshipping. Smith said he plans on getting a Jay and Silent Bob tattoo of his own. Maybe on both sides of his penis (a more profane word was used here, which got big laughs from the crowd), and then again maybe not; his wife might not like that. Smith joked his wife does have his initials tattooed on the "crack of her ass."

One guy just wanted to shake Smith's hand. The closest he got was being in front of the podium. Because Smith was afraid of getting the stink palm.

Smith's favorite comic book hero is Batman, for the classic reason, namely that anyone could be Batman with the resources he has, and that's all. Smith likes Batman because he is a regular guy at his core. Then of course, if Smith were Batman, he might not fight crime because of those very riches, preferring to hang out with his money and bitches. He said that's probably why DC won't let him write Batman.

He then talked about his plans to retire Jay and Silent Bob, saying that one reason for that original decision was Jason's drug abuse problems (he's nearing two years of sobriety). Another reason was that "Jersey Girl" didn't quite work. So now it's time to bring back Jay and Silent Bob.

In a sense, according to Smith, "Ranger Danger" is "Jay And Silent Bob In Space," a film he would like to make anyway.

Smith claimed he doesn't have any scary fan stories, mostly because he is so accessible to his fans. So he doesn't have any scary fans. Then he thinks of the tattoo man and wonders aloud, to much laughter. Smith figures it's hard to stalk a man who is as readily available as he is.

The inevitable "Jersey Girl" question arose. Smith says he's dealt with what the failure of the movie means. To him, "Mallrats" was a bigger flop, it was butchered by the critics. So when the panning began for "Jersey Girl," he wasn't surprised. Although Smith did think Ben Affleck should be forced to star in "Gigli 2," as punishment for hurting "Jersey Girl." Smith likes "Jersey Girl," as it is a story about fathers and fatherhood, written when he first became a father and also was a reflection upon his own father. He figures "Jersey Girl" will do well over time, because of DVD sales.

Smith was asked a Michael Jackson question. Right after "Clerks" came out, the man who would go on to produce "Sideways," asked Smith to write a film for him. The movie was called "Hot Rod," a star vehicle (pardon the puns) for Michael Jackson, where the story was about a man who turns into a car and the young boy hangs around and rides in the car. Smith was glad he passed on that idea.

Kevin was asked about his stint co-hosting the Sarah No Name radio show, saying that he had fun and is interested in doing some more radio in the future. Maybe after Howard Stern switches over to satellite radio. Smith said he's a Stern fan.

When asked about possibly working with Ben Affleck on "Daredevil 2," Smith was flattered by Affleck's comments but doesn't want to work on "Daredevil." For the same reason he had a hard time working on "Green Hornet." He's finished that script, has pulled himself out of the running for directing it, and said the script was being looked at by John Woo right now.

Smith went on to say that superhero movies have to appeal to the mainstream, which isn't his forte. He likes writing the comics themselves, because the readers are more accepting of his dialogue heavy writing style, and because he and the readers share a common language and references.

The audience learned "Clerks 2" is more a spiritual sequel than a literal one. And it isn't a cameo heavy affair. The other films are mentioned, but not so much no one couldn't enjoy this new picture.

When asked what super power he would like to have, Smith wishes he had the ability to wade through "bullshit questions." Then he amended his answer to say he always wanted to be like the Human Torch. "I guess that would be kinda hot...that's a bad joke." Then he wondered about why there wasn't a mutant who could make any woman have sex with him. Then a few profane names were tossed about before dialogue continued.

He talked about the "Mallrats" 10th anniversary DVD. It will be a two-disc set, where he has put together an extended version of the film which he edited. Plus storyboards by Scott Mosier and some audition tapes. Smith wanted to use other films' auditions tapes, like Cindy Crawford's for the "Flintstones" movies, but couldn't figure out a way to justify doing that. The "Mallrats" DVD will hit the shelves in the fall.

Also coming soon is "An Evening With Kevin Smith 2," which was filmed in Toronto and London. Plans are to use the best two hours out of each show and put together a two disc DVD set.

At this point the Q&A was supposed to end, but because he arrived late, Smith stayed late.

Smith still plans to do a "Mallrats" sequel as a comic book, but did mention he does have a movie sequel approved at Universal.

The next to last question brought Smith back to talk about "Degrassi." He always loved the show. The chance to be on the show was very tempting, but he couldn't direct the show because he isn't Canadian. He did write a three-episode story arc featuring himself as if he were single and childless. The basic idea has Smith filming "Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh?" at the high school. Which provides a rationale for his presence there and involved with the kids' storylines, in a kind of creepy way. Jay will spend most of his time chasing after the teen girls.

Finally Smith closes with saying he will stay with Harvey and Bob Weinstein after Miramax splits from Disney.

With that the crowd again cheered again and it was over. And to close us out, here's a random list of Smith and Mewes quotes from the panel.

  • "Father Ass-fucker."
  • "Fuck this. Tell me who got fucked in the movies."
  • "It would be weird, to listen to some jackass talk about his shit."
  • "Hitler's School of Nazis."
  • "Spanish-Fly Man."
  • "Ass-tonishing X-Men."
  • "It's not big, but will get hard."
  • "As the guy who shouts stupid shit out?"
  • "Pull off your top."
  • "Man-cunt."

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