This year’s panel with Kevin Smith started alarmingly late, and that tardiness was largely forgiven when longtime confidante Jason Mewes showed up at the front row (being given a row-blocking seat after two attractive young women were booted from a similar position). Fans rushed him for photos (“Ya gotta hit the button, sir,” he suggested to one man having a problem getting a shot of his female friend with Mewes) and autographs, and one even paid him ten dollars for a cup of water from the stage. Seriously. Of course, Mewes tried to encourage several female fans to doff their tops, which was further egged on by rowdy audience members and the writer of this article.
Smith finally emerged, and was weirded out by Mewes in the front row, but soldiered on. “Was there a titty show going on, sir?” Smith asked. “I heard you tried.”
“She’s a teacher, she won’t fuck,” Mewes responded, disgusted.
She said something that was difficult to hear, which made Smith respond, “You wouldn’t show your tits but you would fuck. Interesting.” He turned back to Mewes and said, “I was backstage and I heard somebody say ‘fill the cup.’ And it was like nobody reacted,” eliciting laughs from the capacity crowd.
Apparently, the lateness was caused in part by a late night poker game, involving not only Smith and Mewes, but other notable names, with Smith as the over all winner with a pot of seven hundred dollars. “We played poker last night until about 5 in the morning,” he said, rubbing his eyes. “Me and Mewes, [Wizard’s] Gareb Shamus, we took his money. Which is really your money. Jim Lee. Now he’s broke.”
Wasting no time, he leapt into taking questions, forcing questioners to stand on their chair while the question was answered (which was a marathon affair for some). The first one was about his experience as an actor on the new film “Catch and Release,” which led him to discuss first the difference from his normal work (“I walked away with a lot more respect for actors than I normally had. I used to be like ‘aw they’re fucking puppets. stick my hand up their ass and they say what I want.’ The acting is free, they’re paid to sit and wait. Like one day, I got to watch ‘Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2,’ back to back. It was weird to be on the sideline. It was weird, because I’d show up and have an idea how I’d do things, and she’d do something completely different. Like move the camera. Just set it up here, I’ll say ‘snoogans’ and we’re done. I’m the bad kid on the set, because I’m chronically late.”). He talked about getting chastized for blogging, and realized he’d become his friend Jason Mewes — set scapegoat.
“So that was my experience on ‘Catch and Release,'” he finished simply.
He was asked if he got tired of having his movies quoted at him, or being called Silent Bob, and he shook his head. “It’s annoying when people come up to me and say ‘I love your movies, Michael Moore.’ Or they’ll come up and ask, ‘You know who you look like?’ I don’t respond to the fishing expedition question. I was having dinner, and this woman comes up to me and says, ‘I love your work, could I have your autograph.’ So I give it to her and she was like ‘this doesn’t look like an M.’ I said, ‘My name starts with a K, not a silent M.” She’s like, ‘Aren’t you Michael Moore?’ I was like no, I’m the other fat bearded director. So she asks, ‘Peter Jackson?’ I’m like, ‘Keep going,’ She finally asks, ‘who are you?’ I was like ‘Kevin Smith,’ and she was like ‘oh I’m so sorry.’ It’s weird for me to answer that question when it’s open ended, it’s so braggy. ‘Well, I am Kevin Smih.’ People ask you, and then they just punch you in the face. It’s happened to Mewes, this girl talked to him, and her boyfriend saw it, so his friends are like ‘He’s totally macking your girl, man!’ Going to bars, your chance of getting punched in the face goes up 75%. In places like this, my only fear is people like ‘Hi, I love your films’ [mocks a handshake], I totally fucking stink palmed you!”
The fan who paid Mewes for the water was next, and he asked for another cup of water. People shouted out what had happened, and Smith responded, “Who was in here before? Frank Miller and Jim Lee? Jim Lee spit in that water!” The fan shrugged, and Smith said, “Only at a comics convention. People are like ‘Jim Lee spit in the water,’ and they’re like …” Smith mimicked pouring water all over himself and writhing in sexual ecstasy.
Smith gave a follow up to the Prince story he’s told at numerous conventions, about being hired to do a documentary on the Purple One and things going famously wrong. “I got a call two years after the DVD came out, [Prince’s] producer calls, and she was like ‘I can’t believe you named me, by name!’ I was like, ‘Did you get in trouble?’ She said ‘I left there, but I was getting frantic calls, and I had to go in to meet him. He was like ‘where was his non-disclosure agreement?’ They had given me one to sign, but I put it down like ‘I’ll get to it later. I forgot, and thankfully I didn’t sign it. He was really fuckin’ mad about it. ‘He wanted to sue you, but he found out you didn’t sign the agreement,’ so I was like ‘right on, good for me.’ It went around Paisley Park for a year, from employee to employee, like ‘you need to see this, he fuckin’ nailed him.’ Then I heard he was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, when Musicology came out, and the author of the piece called me up. ”Prince talked about Jersey Girl.’ And I’m still like a fan, like ‘Prince talked about me? Did he love it?’ No. ‘He went out of his way to talk about it. He said he saw Jersey Girl, and he just didn’t like it. He said, ‘I guess that’s what happens when the potty mouth don’t work for you no mo,’ that’s what he said. There’s another DVD, ‘Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder’ where I talk about him again.”
When asked about his favorite character, Smith replied, “The most simple pleasure, because I was so happy no one else thought of it first, was Cock Knocker. Oh, I love the simplicity of it. Duchovny had called me for ‘Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,’ and I’m like I don’t have a part for you. He’s like, ‘Just let me read the script.’ So I sent it, and he calls me, Duchovny’s like ‘I must play Cock Knocker!’ I was like, ‘why?’ He said, ‘do you know how brilliant that is?’ You could build a whole movie around that guy. But Holden McNeil is my favorite character.”
One fan wondered if Smith overexerted himself with too many projects running simultaneously. “I don’t even exert,” Smith countered. “I do over commit, to a lot of projects. Half happen, half never happen. It is a flaw of mine, just learning to say no. That’s a fat mentality. This inability to say, ‘hey that stuff might be there tomorrow.’ I’ll go to the grocery store, and buy three boxes of cereal. And eat them all in, like, one sitting. Those apple jacks ain’t going no where. That’s part of the reason why I put the kibosh on ‘Fletch.’ They wanted to do something more like the Chevy Chase movie, and I wanted to do something more like the book. So I was like, ‘either let me do this my way, or we’ll just part ways, no hard feelings.’ I finished up that Spider-Man/Black Cat mini series, that’ll be out in November. When I turned it in, Axel was like ‘what do you wanna do next?’ I was like, ‘are you retarded?’ I took three years to write three comic books. He was like ‘do you wanna take over Spider-Man?'”
Clerks fans got good news with the next answer, about “Clerks 2: The Passion of the Clerks.” “We start shooting September 19th. There’s a chick I want to play the female lead who’s gonna read on Tuesday. She’s not super famous, but to me she’s super incredible. I don’t wanna talk about it in case she doesn’t do it. We’re ready, can’t wait. ‘Clerks 2’ is Randall’s movie. We’re done by the end of October. By the beginning to middle of ’06 we’ll be out.”
Smith was asked of he prioritizes family over career. “Do I feel that way?” he wondered. “Yeah, but only because I can afford to feel that way. I get up, try to fuck my wife, wind up jerking off, go on the board, answer emails, play Ultimate Poker online, eat nine meals. My life is in pockets, work on a movie for three months. Adter the ending of ‘Jersey Girl,’ he’s totally in his bedroom like, ‘I’m a fucking garbageman! I hate that little cunt!’ I should film a ‘Jersey Girl’ continuation with him calling the kid cunt, killing ’em.”
How about Green Hornet? “I’m not doing it anymore,” Smith said. “I was going to, and then as I got closer to it, I just was like I don’t wanna make a big budget movie. When you’re making a movie for seventy million, you have to make it appeal to everybody. I make movies that don’t appeal to anybody, they’re for me. $70 million is tough to recoup, there were a lot of factors where I was like ‘nah, this ain’t for me.’ I was excited to be tapped, they made the announcement, the dust settled, and then i was like, ‘I don’t wanna do this.’ It feels great to be chosen, but then when you have to do it, it sucks, it’s like ‘what now?’ I have no interest in making a movie about Green Hornet that everybody would be interested in. I’d have Green Hornet and Cato, leaning on Black Beauty, their super car that can do anything, and be like ‘did you fuck her in the ass.’ Then you hear some noise, they go out of sight and stuff happens off panel. Then they come back and they’re like ‘I totally fucked her in the ass.’ If I’m going to do a big budget movie, it’d be something I create, like Ranger Danger. That I can take the risk on. They’d be like ‘Smith blows it again.’ if I’m gonna take that shot and shoot for the fences, it’s gonna be me.”
Further following that theme, Smith said, “I feel like I shouldn’t apologize. This shit makes me happy. If I can make a living off it, I should do what’s fulfilling to me. I like putting on that coat. Makes me look thin. If I put [Mewes] in a movie and he gets paid, that’s less money he has to borrow from me in the real world. I am where I am today because I followed the same path, make movies that you like, and if people go along with it great. But you can’t call me a hack. The definition of hack is somebody who’d direct a movie for a paycheck, and I’ve never done that. You can call me untalented. I’d agree with some people on that. Then I’d hit ’em with a fuckin’ chair.”
The panel ran over by more than an hour, even past the closing of the convention floor, but the fans stayed faithfully and never wavered, down to the last words.
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