Jason Mewes *

  Scott Mosier*

  Renée Humphrey*

  Bryan Johnson

  Vincent Pereira
    by Mike McCarthy*
    by Jesse Ray Boehm
    by Nolan Reese

  Brian O'Halloran*

  Ethan Suplee
    by Mike McCarthy*
    20 questions with Ethan

  Brian Lynch
    by Jesse Ray Boehm
    by Jesse Ray Boehm

  Big Helium Dog
     Brian Lynch
     Kevin Crimmins
     Vincent Pereira
     Bill Woods
     Brian Quinn
     Lorene Scafaria

* denotes feature interviews by writer Mike McCarthy

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© 1998
View Askew Productions

conducted on March 14, 1999

The first character to come to mind when one mentions the movies of Kevin Smith is usually Jay. The farcical, always-talking sidekick of Smith's own Silent Bob, Jay has become one of the world's most famous stoners, capturing the laughs of millions. And yet Jason Mewes, the actor who plays him, has easily been the least interviewed of all those in Smith's films, perhaps causing some to confuse him with his character. On some level, that has admittedly made Jay -- the character -- all the more intriguing.

But it didn't stop me from doing the following interview and something tells me it won't stop you from poring over it quicker than you've read any of the previous Interviews Askew. Or perhaps you'll read it slowly and savor it? Either way, I promise you'll be a bit closer to solving the mystery that is Jason Mewes when you're done.

MM: You mentioned that it was your idea to eat the sugar during the diner scene in Chasing Amy. Did you discuss it with Kevin first or did you just start doing that while filming?

JM: We discussed it first. There was a scene cut out of Clerks. Remember Kevin bought a box of sugar? Well, he bought a box of sugar then I was eating sugar in Clerks. But they cut that out. So, I was like, "I'm just sitting there doing nothing. What should I do?" He was like, "I don't know." I was like, "How about the sugar?" And he was like, "Yeah, do the sugar. It'll make up for when we did it in Clerks." So then I did that.

MM: How many takes of that scene did you do? And how much sugar did you end up eating?

JM: A lot. We did like 11 or 12 takes. Yeah, I ate lots of sugar.

MM: Just to clarify, do your friends usually call you Jay or Jason?

JM: Jay.

MM: I've never read an interview with you. Have you ever done any?

JM: A few, but not many. I did one with Film Threat. I did one with High Times. That's it. I can't think of any more, really.

MM: Well, first of all, because it demands to be asked -- were you a metalhead in high school?

JM: Yeah. I was a metalhead and then I was into the rap and then I was a metalhead again.

MM: Who was your favorite metal artist?

JM: King Diamond.

MM: The Satanic guy, right?

JM: Uh-huh.

MM: For those who don't know, could you tell the story about when you first met Kevin?

JM: A good story, the first time I met Kevin. Well, it's one of the first times. I met Bryan Johnson, who was a friend of my brother's. I used to hang out with Bryan down at The Rec. They were going to a comic book show, Kevin, Bryan and Walter. Bryan invited me and told Kevin that Jason Mewes kid's gonna come. And Kevin was like, "Oh, man, I don't want that dude going." He's like, "I ain't driving him." And Bryan was like, "All right. I'll drive." Kevin tells the story better, but when we were driving up -- I don't remember, really, but he said I was saying all this stuff and Bryan and Walter were laughing and the whole time he was like, "This guy ain't funny. He ain't funny." He seemed like he really didn't like me. I think that was the first time I met him -- he didn't want me coming with them to the comic book show. He didn't even know me, really, but he just didn't want me going. And then one day at The Rec I wound up doing something funny and that's when he started to like me.

MM: I remember he said something at Vulgarthon about you running around simulating oral sex on things.

JM: [Laughs] Yeah, yeah. That's when he said he liked me now.

MM: Did he ask you to be in Clerks before or after he'd written it?

JM: I think he had written it already. He asked me, "I wrote this movie and I wrote a part for you." He's like, "Will you do it?" And I was like, "Sure!" I didn't think nothing of it. He wanted to do it, but I didn't think he was gonna do it. It didn't even cross my mind again for a few months. And then all of a sudden he called me up and he's like, "Yo, you gotta come pick the script up, we're shooting the movie in like two weeks." [Both laugh] I was like, "What?" He was like, "Remember the movie I told you about? I wrote the part for you? We're doing it in like two weeks." I was like, "Oh shit. Cool." That was it.

MM: Were you guys at as friends at that point? Had you started hanging out all the time?

JM: Yeah. By then we started hanging out a lot. I started working at the Quick Stop with him. Every Sunday I used to go to the Quick Stop and we used to put the Sunday papers together at like five in the morning. And then after a while he got me a job at the video store next door. I used to lock up the store and go next door and hang out all the time and watch movies and stuff.

MM: Do you ever wish your character in Kevin's films was named something other than Jay, if only to put more distance between you and the character in the eyes of the public?

JM: Not in Kevin's films, no. In Kevin's movies I would like to stay Jay. But, yeah, I'd love to do something else in someone else's movie. I got a script sent to me at this office and I got a call from a woman -- Universal's doing a snowboarding movie. I'm not in it yet, but I'm supposed to meet with the director in New York soon. I'm waiting to hear back from them.

MM: Do you think you'll get a lot of offers coming in once Dogma is released?

JM: I'm hoping, you know? Kevin and everyone that has seen Dogma has said they think I'm gonna get a lot of offers. So, hopefully it'll happen.

MM: What was it like for you when Clerks became a big hit? Kevin wanted to be a filmmaker, so it obviously wasn't something he hadn't hoped for. But for you, who'd only taken him half-seriously when he'd said he'd written the script, what was it like?

JM: It was weird. All of a sudden Kevin told me that the movie got bought and was gonna be shown in a movie theatre. I was shocked. I was psyched. It was just weird.

MM: How did your family and other friends react?

JM: Everyone was shocked. I showed my mom the movie then I told her the movie got bought and that it was gonna be shown in theatres and be on video. Everyone was really psyched about it. Everyone in my little town of hounds started to call me movie star.

MM: Had you any acting experience at all prior to Clerks? School plays or anything?

JM: I did some school plays in elementary school, but that was it.

MM: How serious are you about acting in general? Have you decided that you want to make a long term career out of it?

JM: Yeah. I definitely want to do it. I love it. I have so much fun doing it. I'm hoping that I'll get to do some more stuff.

MM: Would you cut your hair for a role?

JM: Um . . . Yeah, I would. If I got paid a lot. And if it was a script that I really liked.

MM: Do you think you'll stick with comedy? Would you like to try serious drama at some point?

JM: I definitely would like to do something serious. Not like a love story, but serious like maybe a gangster or a mobster. A gang or a mob movie would be great.

MM: Do you have an agent seeking roles for you?

JM: No, I don't have an agent. I'm hoping to get one soon. I was supposed to meet with one but the day I was supposed to meet her up in the city something happened. My car got impounded because I got pulled over and I didn't have my license and registration on me. So, I didn't make it up there. That sucked.

MM: With writing and directing, Kevin can easily stay in New Jersey. But in your case, wanting to do more acting, do you think you'll move out to Los Angeles?

JM: I'm hoping not to. I think I'll be fine in New York. If I could stay here and just get jobs in New York, that would be fine and that's what I'd want to do. I don't want to move.

MM: Do you receive a lot of scripts from fans? People writing roles that resemble Jay?

JM: I get a few scripts sent to me. There's been a few people on the board saying they had some scripts they wanted me to read. There's been a few people that sent stuff to the office.

MM: Have you ever received any really weird gifts from fans?

JM: No weird gifts, but some weird letters. Like some people send letters asking me to sign stuff but in their letter they send a picture of themselves at their wedding, which I just think is weird, you know? I mean, it's nice and sweet and stuff, but I just think it's weird that somebody would send me their wedding picture.

MM: Have you actually written back to any people?

JM: Yeah. I usually sign stuff and send it back to them and write stuff back. The last few that I've gotten I didn't get to because I went away.

MM: Is it true that you've not had to buy yourself a drink in a bar since Clerks came out?

JM: Not every time, but a lot of times people will recognize me and they'll buy me beers. But I've had to definitely pay for my own beers.

MM: What are some of the more common reactions you get from people when you're out and about? Are there certain lines people ask you to recite?

JM: Yeah. A lot of people say to say, "Snooch to the nooch." A lot of people ask me to say, "I'll fuck anything that moves." Bunch of different stuff. But say "noochie noochies" is probably the main one.

MM: Has anybody ever asked you to sell them pot, thinking you and your character are one and the same? Or maybe just being a wise ass?

JM: No, no. No one's ever. I don't think anyone's ever thought I was a drug dealer.

MM: You mentioned that you did an interview for High Times. What's your position on the legalization of marijuana?

JM: I think it should definitely be legalized. Like they say, if anything it should be more legal than booze because people get drunk, they drink and drive, they crash and kill people. And when you get drunk you get a little rowdy and shit. And you get stupid and have unprotected sex. Weed, you know, you just get mellow. You can drive pretty stoned and be OK. I mean, sometimes you get too stoned and you can't drive. But you could get pretty stoned and still drive. And you don't get all stupid and sleep with someone. You're so stoned most of the time that you don't want to sleep with someone. So, that's that. And a lot of people get shot and shit during fucking drug deals -- the cops busting and raiding and stuff. So, I think they should legalize it.

MM: Do you think your character, Jay, will ever stop selling drugs?

JM: Yeah. In Mallrats, you pretty much don't see him sell any weed, really. I don't consider him a big dealer. You barely saw him smoke or anything either. I don't know. I won't say it's gonna be said that he's gonna stop selling, but, like I said, in Mallrats you don't even see him sell. I don't think in Dogma either, really.

MM: I guess people just think of Jay as the neighborhood dealer because that was so prominent in Clerks.

JM: Yeah.

MM: What do you think you'd be doing right now if you'd never met Kevin?

JM: Never met Kevin? Um . . . I'd be roofing still, probably. I was roofing before I stopped to go do Mallrats. Even after Clerks, I was roofing. But then I went to Minnesota to go do Mallrats, so I had to stop. So, I would say I'd still be roofing.

MM: While it's known that Kevin doesn't like improvisation on the set, one has to wonder if some of the lines he's written for Jay didn't originate with things you'd said in real life. Can you think of any examples of that?

JM: I know there's stuff. But usually we'll go over it beforehand. I'll say something beforehand, like, "What if I say this?" And he'll be like, "yeah," you know? So I'll do improv but we usually talk about it before we start shooting.

MM: You played a different character in Drawing Flies. What was that like after playing Jay in Clerks and Mallrats?

JM: It was cool. It was cool to do something a little different. It was cool to do someone else's movie. It was a lot of fun.

MM: Are you in Vulgar or Big Helium Dog?

JM: Vulgar, I am. I'm in one scene in Vulgar. But not in Big Helium Dog.

MM: What's your scene in Vulgar like? Or is it an amusing cameo you don't want to spoil?

JM: Um, yeah. I'm gonna keep it a surprise.

MM: There's going to be an animated Clerks TV show. Will you be providing Jay's voice?

JM: Yeah. Definitely.

MM: The show is going to be on ABC, right?

JM: Yeah.

MM: I can't imagine Jay not swearing. Have you guys been talking about some things that kind of push the line that could be used in substitution?

JM: I don't know what he's writing. But, yeah, it's gonna be weird, not being able to curse and stuff.

MM: If it was Fox, maybe you could at least get away with a little.

JM: HBO, I think, would've been cool, too.

MM: Does Kevin ever ask you for input in regards to what you think Jay should be doing in something like this or the comic books?

JM: No, not in the comic books or nothing. But sometimes before a scene we'll talk about what I'm gonna do. He usually says, "You should do this." Or, "What do you think you should do?" Sometimes I'll just do stuff like eat sugar in the scene at the diner.

MM: You did the MTV spots with Kevin. What was that experience like?

JM: That was cool. It was a lot of fun doing the Nike commercials, too.

MM: Was there a lot of pressure to please MTV?

JM: Not MTV, just the Nike commercials. There was Foot Locker guys and stuff. I was doing it one way and they were like, "No, do it this way." I kept changing it and changing it but they weren't sure what they liked. But I kept doing what they wanted and they wound up liking it in the end.

MM: You'd done these movies that didn't have huge budgets, particularly in the case of Clerks and Chasing Amy, and then you're getting paid so much more, I assume, to do these commercials. What's that like?

JM: Oh, it was great. It was two days worth of work for 30 thousand. So, for two days, that was 15 grand a day. That was really sweet, you know?

MM: Did you guys know what you were gonna do before you shot them?

JM: Yeah, they had the script. Well, someone else was supposed to do it and the guy wanted to change the script. The people at Foot Locker and Nike, I guess, were like, "No, we like the script how it is." And the guy was like, "Well, I'm not gonna do it unless I can rewrite them how I want to do them." And they were like, "Forget it." And it was two days before shooting. So, they called up Kevin and were like, "Can you think of two people that we can audition that would want to do a Nike commercial and that would be good?" And Kevin was like, "Yeah, I could think of two people, Jason Lee and Jason Mewes." And Lee was busy and couldn't do it. So, they said, "All right, we'll have Jason Mewes come in and audition." I came in the next day and I auditioned for it and the next day they called me up and said, "You got the part. We really liked your audition." And that was it. I read the scripts and they were cool. There were four different ones.

MM: Were the MTV spots scripted before you arrived on the set as well?

JM: That was scripted as well. Kevin had written them.

MM: Is there a particular segment that you like the most?

JM: My favorite one is the Run DMC one with the little girl. That was my favorite.

MM: You mentioned going to a comic show with Kevin. Are you an equally big comics fan?

JM: I'm a big fan. I love comics. All I've been doing is reading every day, sitting in the house. Because I've not been feeling too good, so I've been reading and reading.

MM: Any other hobbies?

JM: I'm a big toy collector. I've been slowing down because my money's been tight, but I collect toys, too. I have like five boxes of toys up in my attic right now. When I moved to my mom's house, I had to put them up in the attic.

MM: I used to put my Star Wars figures on my walls, hanging the packages on push pins, but I've run out of room--

JM: --You keep yours sealed?

MM: Yeah.

JM: Kevin keeps his stuff sealed, too. But I open my stuff up. All of it. My favorite right now is the Marvel Famous Covers. I have almost the whole collection. I need Iron Man and I need the Mister Fantastic/Invisible Girl Marvel Famous Cover two pack and the Spider Man/Electra two pack. They're the only two I need to finish the whole set. It's so hard to find them. They're Target exclusives.

MM: I hate it when they do that. Up here in Massachusetts, I guess they're opening a Target soon, but we've never had one before that I know of.

JM: Around us, too. The closet Target to us is a good half hour, maybe 40 minutes. Now they're opening a Target close to us, too, but it's not gonna open until like August or something.

MM: Are you excited about the new Star Wars toys that will be coming out?

JM: I'm not a big Star Wars collector, but I like some of the stuff. I collect some. I'm more into the Spawn toys. They're really cool. They're coming out with a Techno Spawn series and another series, The Dark Ages, which are really cool. So, I'll be getting them. I used to get everything, but I've been slowing down. I'm getting Puppetmasters, too. They're one of my favorites. And they're coming out with new Puppetmasters. I try not to get everything, but I want so much.

MM: Do you collect any of the wrestling figures?

JM: I'm not into wrestling at all, but they're getting pretty big.

MM: How about the Japanese toys? Force Five or Voltron or any of that?

JM: No, not really. A little bit. Some of the Japanese stuff is cool.

MM: Any thoughts on the Jay action figure?

JM: Um, you know, it's really cool to have a Jay figure. I was excited when I heard it and it's really cool to see my own figure.

MM: If Dogma does really well, do you think there will be a Dogma toy line?

JM: Yeah, I think so. There's been talk about that and I really hope there is. There's potential for some good toys. Like the shit demon. That would be a cool figure. Ben and Matt's angels. You could have Matt and Ben in their normal gear, then you could have them in their angel set up.

MM: So, is there anything in particular regarding the filming of Clerks that you could comment on that hasn't been talked about to death?

JM: I can tell one funny thing. The scene where I come into the Quick Stop in the end and I'm talking to Dante and taping the dollar bill together. I'm like, "My grandmother used to piss and shit herself." You know that scene? That night I was so ripped that they came into the videostore and I was passed out in the chair with the phone on my ear. Hanging on my ear. I was talking to someone and I passed out. I was so drunk and stoned. Then I kept messing up so bad. Slurring and stuff. We had to re-do the shot the next day.

MM: Was it like a dream being on the set of Mallrats, having had no inclinations for acting then Clerks became a hit and there you were doing a studio movie?

JM: Yeah. Right. It was so cool, being in the hotel, being in a different state. It was the first time I'd really been somewhere. That was the first time I'd been in L.A. and that was the first time I'd ever spent a few days away from home. Then to go to Minnesota. It was so cool, living at a hotel with a pool and Jacuzzi downstairs. Every night after everyone shot everyone would go down to the bar, hang out and drink beers and shit. It was just really cool.

MM: I understand that certain parties at Gramercy didn't want you to play Jay in Mallrats initially.

JM: Yeah, I had to audition.

MM: How many times? I've heard horror stories, interviewing Renee and Ethan.

JM: I had to audition once in New York and once in California. Did you interview Ethan Suplee on the computer?

MM: On the phone.

JM: I've gotta call him. He's one of the only people that I've kept in touch with since Mallrats. He's a really awesome guy. He's one of my best friends.

MM: One of the things people liked so much about Clerks was your performance. So, if you weren't in Clerks it might not have done as well and Kevin probably wouldn't have been doing Mallrats. That said, did having to audition make you angry?

JM: Yeah. It sucked. I know it had nothing to do with Kevin. It had to do with the studios. But, you know what, I sort of understood because it was a lot different. Their worry was that I had never done a studio film and it was a big jump from doing a black and white low budget film with my friends. When I did Clerks, I was really nervous. Like when I did that dancing scene, I asked Kevin if he could have everyone go inside and the only ones that could be out there were Dave, who was running the camera, and Scott, who was doing the sound, and me and Kevin. And then I made him wait until it was dark out and I had a bunch of beers in me and I made sure no one was outside. Like no people watching from the town. I was really nervous about doing my scene. It was gonna be even more frightening doing it in front of like 40 people in Mallrats. The two producers said, "We're gonna have someone on standby." They came and they watched me do my first scene and they said if I was nervous and I couldn't do it they were gonna hire someone else. Kevin was like, "This is your chance. You can be in this movie or you can fucking, you know . . ." I said, "Fuck it." And I just did it.

MM: How nervous were you during the shoot?

JM: After doing the first couple scenes and I got used to being in front of a few people it got easier and easier. In Chasing Amy, I wasn't nervous at all. And in Dogma, the same.

MM: Why didn't you loop your own dialogue for the Mallrats TV broadcast?

JM: They wanted me to. They called and set up a date for me to come up to New York to the studio and loop it. I forget what happened, but I missed it. Then they said, "We need to get it done. Is there any way you could come in tomorrow?" And I couldn't make it the next day. So, they just said, "Well, we're gonna have to get someone else." I said, "Whatever."

MM: I think the person who did it was so awful that it practically made it unwatchable.

JM: I haven't seen it, but I heard that it don't sound anything like me.

MM: What's the status of the Mallrats Special Edition DVD?

JM: I don't know anything about that.

MM: Have you sat down and done a commentary?

JM: Yeah, we did that. And that was a lot of fun. We had a good time doing that. But I don't know anything about it coming out.

MM: Who else participated in the commentary?

JM: Fuck, I don't even remember. I think it was me, Ben, Kevin, Vinnie, Scott and, I think, Lee.

MM: Was it done fairly recently?

JM: Yeah. It wasn't too long ago.

MM: You mentioned that it was your idea to eat the sugar during the diner scene in Chasing Amy. Did you discuss it with Kevin first or did you just start doing that while filming?

JM: We discussed it first. There was a scene cut out of Clerks. Remember Kevin bought a box of sugar? Well, he bought a box of sugar then I was eating sugar in Clerks. But they cut that out. So, I was like, "I'm just sitting there doing nothing. What should I do?" He was like, "I don't know." I was like, "How about the sugar?" And he was like, "Yeah, do the sugar. It'll make up for when we did it in Clerks." So then I did that.

MM: How many takes of that scene did you do? And how much sugar did you end up eating?

JM: A lot. We did like 11 or 12 takes. Yeah, I ate lots of sugar.

MM: Any amusing stories from the set of Dogma?

JM: Not that I could think of. It was a lot of fun on the set. I had the most fun making that movie out of all of them. I'm sure if I sat and thought about it, but none that I could think of offhand.

MM: What was it like working with the special effects?

JM: I don't know. Like, we had the gun. That was, I guess, a special effect. It was cool shooting that UZI.

MM: Obviously, some of the other stuff wouldn't have involved you, but there was the shit demon and the angels and such.

JM: I wasn't there for a lot of it. Like when they did the shit demon. I wasn't there for those takes and then with the angels and stuff I wasn't there either except for certain things.

MM: Kevin had speculated that Dogma would be the last movie appearance of Jay and Silent Bob. What are your thoughts on this?

JM: If the movie does really, really fucking good -- like it does fantastic and everyone loves it -- then, yeah, that'd be a cool way to end it. This way we don't do another movie and no one likes it and end it like that.

MM: Were there nervous executives around on the set of Dogma like Mallrats?

JM: No, not at all. They were really cool there. There was never really anyone. There were some people there from Miramax sometimes, but they were really cool and they weren't worried. They were just hanging there and watching and having a good time.

MM: As an actor in the film, is it painful to see things get cut? I understand there was initially a lot of trimming to be done with Dogma.

JM: No, not at all. Not my stuff, it doesn't bother me. For me, it's not painful. But some of the other stuff that I liked from other people and other things that were going on.

MM: When I interviewed Scott Mosier, I got the impression that you can make his life on the set rather difficult. Is there anything in particular that comes to mind?

JM: On Mallrats, a lot of times they'd have to come find me. I'd be off hanging around. Looking around the stores, hanging out with people. So, he'd have to come find me. He's in charge of getting someone to find me to make sure I'm on the set everyday, stuff like that. I think that's one thing. And then, like I said, the one time on Clerks, worrying about me coming to the set too drunk or stoned to do my scene.

MM: Of Kevin's films, which do you enjoy watching the most?

JM: I'd say Mallrats. I'd say Dogma -- I saw Dogma once -- but I haven't watched it a lot. It's not like I can watch it whenever I want. So, right now, out of the three, I'd say Mallrats. But definitely Dogma when that comes out.

MM: Who are your favorite filmmakers, apart from Kevin?

JM: I don't know. I don't really pay attention to the filmmaker thing. There's a lot of other movies I like, but I don't even pay attention to directors to tell you the truth. I pay attention to the actors and stuff, but not even that much. I don't pay attention to who's writing.

MM: Are there any particular actors whom you really admire?

JM: Jim Carrey. I'd love to work with him and I'd love to meet him. I'm a big fan of De Niro and Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken. But Jim Carrey mainly.

MM: Are you doing any work for View Askew behind-the-scenes?

JM: Yeah. I work at the comic book store and I'm gonna start helping out a little bit at the office. Helping Bryan out with mail orders and stuff.

MM: How did the grand re-opening of Jay & Silent Bob's Secret Stash go?

JM: It went really well. I had a good time and met a lot of cool people. Everyone I talked to said they enjoyed it a lot. That was good.

MM: Am I correct in understanding that you were a tour guide, taking people around the city to the locations seen in Kevin's films?

JM: I wasn't really the guide. Brian O'Halloran was, but I went on three of the tours towards the end. For the first few hours, I stayed in the store and hung out and signed stuff. And then the last six hours I went and hung out on the bus.

Interviews Askew