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 September 15, 1998

Even if you're just a casual fan of Kevin Smith's films, chances are you're as curious about Scott Mosier as I was. Apart from producing, he's played small but amusing roles in each of the three Jersey Trilogy installments (in addition to appearing in other View Askew films) and even shared an executive producer credit with Smith on Good Will Hunting.

As Jay is Silent Bob's sidekick on screen, it would seem that Scott Mosier is Kevin Smith's sidekick in reality.

But to what extent is he involved in the navigation of the entity that is View Askew? And does he have ambitions and interests beyond the realm of Kevin Smith?

In the following Interview Askew, the seemingly press-shy Mosier speaks candidly about his hopes for the future, experiences thus far and whatever else came up . . .

MM: Are there any particular genres you're striving to produce that you haven't touched yet?

SM: I'd be curious to do some suspense stuff. I've been watching The Thing lately--the John Carpenter movie. That classical horror stuff. Not this new high-schoolers-running-around.

MM: You met Kevin Smith at Vancouver Film School. Do you specifically recall the first time you met?

SM: There was an orientation day. On that March 8th, I believe it was, 1992. Everybody had broken up with your class, which is about 24, 25 kids per class. You stay with that one class the whole time. I remember later on when we talked about it he thought I was an asshole. I had just got back from L.A., so I was kind of tan, and I got up and said I'd been working for a producer. I think he thought I was some kind of pretty boy, Beverly Hills, 90210. I just remember he got up and he was wearing his trenchcoat and all this stuff and I thought he was a real loudmouth kind of jerk. I was like, "Who is this fucking guy?" Because he fancied himself pretty funny. Very funny people, initially, it's like sometimes you don't think they're funny. That was my take on him. I can't even remember if he said anything funny or not. As the class went on, we were in documentary class and got divided up into groups. For whatever reason we ended up in the same group. We were talking about--God, I can't remember--but during that conversation we sort of hit it off and went to lunch. And that was it.

MM: Did you leave school at the same time?

SM: No, no, no. I stayed. He left about halfway through and I stayed for the last four months. I finished up. Dave and I stayed behind and finished.

MM: Was there a plan for you to hook up with him at a later date or had that even been discussed?

SM: He wanted to leave because he wanted to put the money into his movie. And he had a script that he wanted to write. He'd mentioned something about it, but nothing concrete as far as Clerks went. So, he left in the middle. I knew he was gonna go home and write, but when he was gonna get it done and everything I really didn't know. The idea was, we agreed that we would help each other out. I was staying for the purpose of learning more, so when I did come to New Jersey I would know a little bit more about editing and some of the basics. Basically, what he missed out on was just more work. On short films and stuff like that. More experience. I stuck it out, but he finished the draft right around the time that I graduated. We were supposed to start in January of '93, but there was a big flood. The big noreaster flooded his parents' house, so we ended up waiting. I came out in March.

MM: How long had you been working in L.A. before you left?

SM: Well, I was going to school. I went to U.C.L.A. for about a year, maybe, and I worked for a producer named David Permut, who did Dragnet. I think when I was there--because I was only there for a couple months, because I didn't like it--he did 29th Street with Danny Aiello and Anthony LaPaglia. I'm surprised if anyone remembers it. Mostly I was just going to school, but it was a lot of theory and I got really bored, so I decided to go up to Vancouver because it's a tech school. All it would do is teach you the hands on stuff.

MM: Where are you from originally?

SM: I was born in Washington State. Just over the bridge from Portland. Because of my dad's job, I moved around a lot. When I was five, we moved down to a suburb of Los Angeles and when I was 10 we moved up to Vancouver, British Columbia. When I was 18 I left, went back to school down in California.

MM: Clerks and Chasing Amy were made independently and then sold, while Mallrats was made for Gramercy and Dogma for Miramax. How did your responsibilities vary as a producer in those situations?

SM: It doesn't really change that much. Clerks is a completely separate experience because nobody knew who we were. Even on Chasing Amy, where it was investors, there was still a certain amount of responsibility. On Clerks, we were really just responsible to ourselves. We didn't have to answer to anybody. We could just get up and shoot when we wanted to. On the studio stuff, the difference is they come by to visit and there's more politics involved. There's some strategy involved. You can't just concentrate on physically making the films, getting the most out of the day and all the rest of that. You end up having to deal with studio politics and the money people. You know, they're concerned about language, so you argue and you talk and stuff.

MM: In the case of Mallrats, you shared credit with two other producers, James Jacks and Sean Daniel. What was that experience like?

SM: Well, when the movie started Gramercy and Universal were less concerned with having me than they were with having Kevin. At the time, for Kevin, it was easy for them to watch Clerks and see what they want. What they're paying for. With me, it's sort of like, "What are we paying for? He's done one movie that cost 27 thousand dollars and that's not the business we're in." It was basically because Kevin made it part of the deal that I would come along--that's how I got on board. It was like these other two guys are the guys that were getting it made. At first I was very open to the idea because I wasn't experienced. I didn't know what to do with six million dollars and the actors and all that stuff. Also, I didn't know how to play the studio. But as it went on, you start to get more experience. I didn't really like working with other people. You know what it is, at a certain point it became too much--like any patting on the head--which became very annoying to me. Their idea was like, "So, you're learning, you're learning." It was just creepy. They were sort of trying to take on like father figure [roles]. I was like, "I've got a Dad. You're not even that bright." One of them was never even there and the other was there on and off. Mostly, what I did learn from them is how I didn't want to do things. How I wanted to do things. So, it was valuable. It was a good experience.

MM: Were there other producers involved in Dogma?

SM: Nope. It was me and there's a co-producer, but she's basically the line producer. She was the line producer on Mallrats, so she came back on Dogma. But it's just me and her.

MM: What's the budget at this point?

SM: It's probably up to about seven million. Usually, as it goes, the budget goes up and down and up and down, depending on each stage that you go through. Everybody watches it and decides, "Let's put more money into it." Or, "Let's put more money into this or that." Right now it's about seven. I imagine it will go up. Everybody seems really excited about the movie and I'm sure they'll dump more money into post-production when the time comes. For the score and all the rest of it.

MM: What percentage of the budget was consumed by the cast?

SM: Minimal. Very minimal. They basically worked for scale plus 10, which works out to a couple grand per week. Basically like SAG scale. It's not that much money at all. Even when you work in the perks--to see the number that it ended up costing to have that cast--it's nothing.

MM: There have been rumors for a couple months now that Miramax is supposedly getting shit from Disney because of the subject matter. Is there any truth to that?

SM: I don't think there's any truth to it now. Whether it happens eventually, I don't know. There's a lot of rumors flying around about a movie that isn't even done. There was one moment where Ben [Affleck] said some things in the press and there was that week or two where there was stories about it, but it eventually went nowhere because it was founded in nothing. There's no movie for people to reference. There's no movie to show Disney for them to be mad about. Perhaps there is a fear down the road of something happening. Right now, even when that whole situation happened, I didn't hear from anybody. I was out of the loop like everybody else, just reading it in the paper.

MM: If Disney does say something to Miramax at some point, is Miramax still able to release it regardless or whether it's with their blessings or not or . . . ?

SM: Well, I don't know the exact details of the Miramax deal. As far as their relationship, we tend to stay out of it. Our position is, whatever is gonna happen is gonna happen. We're concerned with what sort of distribution it will get, wherever that is, whatever the best place is for that. We'll see what happens.

MM: There's Something About Mary was a very un-PC movie that ended up being perhaps the biggest hit of the summer. Do you find any reassurance in that?

SM: I did not see it, so I don't really know what the un-PC elements of it are. Being un-PC depends what you're doing. If you're just grossing people out, or being slightly rude, or a little sexist or a little whatever--all you're doing is making people huff and puff a bit. The difference being that if you're making a movie which could possibly offend the religious groups it's something that's much more direct. That movie would never be a point of reference for us, as far as Dogma goes. We're dealing with a completely separate group of people. If we have to deal with them at all, once again. I fear now that we're building it up too much. Not that we're building it up, but that other people are building it up--the controversy--where it's like the movie won't really deliver on that level. It's not a two and a half hour movie about pokes at the church. That's not what it is at all. I hope the controversy goes away. And we'll see how controversial it is when it comes out.

MM: The draft of the script I read was the earlier draft that's been circulating for a few years. I thought that it might push buttons because many of the points the characters were making were sentiments I often agreed with. I think that's what makes the religious entities panic--when someone puts something out there that might make people think. With The Last Temptation of Christ, some people might have seen that and thought, "Well, maybe . . ."

SM: When you look at The Last Temptation of Christ, it's not like usually anybody goes to see it. The controversy is over what they're being told it represents. The kind of people it's gonna piss off, they're just gonna be pissed off because there's no real convincing them. A lot of these people protest a movie they wouldn't even take the time to go see and form their own opinion. Do you really think you can convince them? To go there and be like, "You don't understand. Go see the movie." They're not gonna go. They didn't feel like forming their own opinion to begin with.

MM: On a smaller scale, I guess the potential for controversy is something you've already dealt with in the case of Chasing Amy, where Alyssa ending up with a man could've been controversial.

SM: Ultimately, it was like nothing really happened. A lot of preparation was taken. A lot of people were like, "You should be ready for this. You should be ready for that." We were just like, "Look, just put the movie out. The movie will speak for itself." And the critics and everything lends credibility to what you're doing. Once it's regarded as a really good movie, I think the controversy fades away. The film also sort of backed up its own arguments. All the questions people would've asked were answered as the film went along. It says the things it needed to say. It explained the logic. I think Dogma does the exact same thing. It's just a question of the people who are gonna get up in arms about it going out and seeing it.

MM: As far as your long-term career goes, do you intend to move into other realms, such as writing and directing?

SM: I don't really have a plan per say. I'm taking things as they come. Just sort of taking it easy. As opportunities come up, I either take them or I don't. It's something that's in the back of my mind. There are things I want to do. I would be curious to direct someday, but I'm not, you know, killing myself trying to get there. Some day at some point in time an opportunity will come along and it'll just make sense. I don't have any plans at this point.

MM: Did you write any scripts in film school?

SM: I wrote a couple short films. I wouldn't say that I'm a writer. I mean, Kevin has this long history of writing since he was a child. I really don't have that interest. I started writing a lot later in life. I do it here and there when I have time but usually I'm much too busy to dedicate the time I would need. At some point, I'm sure the time will come.

MM: Because you also appear in Kevin's films, as well as in other films you've produced with View Askew, you've developed quite a fan base as an actor. How serious are you about acting?

SM: There are times when I would be interested in doing something bigger just to experience it--and as a challenge, to see how I'd do--but on the whole I'm much more comfortable behind the camera. I do these day parts because they're fun. I just jump in and do it. It started out more out of necessity than anything. Now it's sort of become something that people expect. I have fun doing it, but I actually find it kind of boring. I do it for a day and I'm like, "Man, I couldn't imagine doing this for a three month shoot." It would drive me crazy, to sit around. I'm much more interested in what's going on behind the scenes.

MM: Have you joined SAG [the Screen Actors Guild] yet?

SM: Yeah. I had to join. Walter, Bryan and I all joined SAG on Chasing Amy.

MM: It's commonly said that Kevin took Good Will Hunting to Miramax, but you also have an executive producer credit. What was your involvement?

SM: Basically, we took it together. I guess you could say that the history of what Kevin did is the history of what I did. I read the script with Kevin and we called Miramax, brought it to them and got it set up. After that, we just got the executive producer credit.

MM: I understand Malcolm Ingram is making a new film, Taillights Fade. Will you be involved with that?

SM: No. Kevin's executive producing, but I took the summer off. They're done shooting already, I know that.

MM: Did you produce Big Helium Dog and/or Vulgar?

SM: No. Those are both, once again, executive producer. Vulgar is produced by Monica Hampton and Big Helium Dog is produced by Richard Primila.

MM: Was your involvement different with A Better Place and Drawing Flies?

SM: It was all pretty much the same. We were reading the scripts. I tend to do all the shit with going over the budgets. I go out to the shoot and sort of watch what's happening, offer some advice. You get calls. Sometimes it's up to us to make some financial decisions and what not. If things are going well, then I just leave them alone. When there are problems that need my attention, I'll go in there. Or when they want us to come out. Mostly, we just try to get the money together and leave them the opportunity to do it on their own, make some of their own mistakes.

MM: Are Drawing Flies and A Better Place still being shopped or has that been retired for now?

SM: It's something we haven't talked about for a while. I'm sure they're looking into it. With Drawing Flies, they've moved on to their second feature. Perhaps with that coming out, there will be a newfound interest. It's also a film that stars Jason Lee, so there's all these elements. Down the road, it might find a distributor if Jason becomes 10 times more popular than he is now. With A Better Place, once again, I think people will be curious to see what they do next. If Vinnie does something else and that does well then suddenly the interest in the first film pops up. Especially for a video market. When actors become popular, you see all these video movies pop up. All these really awful million dollar movies show up in the video store because they want to put out anything with their name on it. Hopefully, as they go on, those films will find distribution and have their audience. It's something to discuss.

MM: How much say do you have in determining which films View Askew produces apart from Kevin's?

SM: We sort of do it together. They're presented to us and we talk about whether we're gonna do it or not. It's a fairly painless process. We know the people, going in. Usually we had an idea of what we were gonna be reading before it even got there. The scripts were all very like the people.

MM: Kevin's scripts weren't all written in the order in which the films have been made. Do you give input insofar as deciding what order they're made in?

SM: Not really. His creative process, as far as writing goes, is up to him. His inspiration or what's on his mind at any given moment is what's on his mind. It really doesn't have anything to do with me. When and what he does is something I completely leave up to him. I don't pressure him. He had written Clerks and Dogma was always on his mind, but then he started to write a couple scripts in between and then Chasing Amy was something he pounded out very quickly. The inspiration comes and he just does it. Some scripts take longer than others, but I don't really get involved. I just wait until he's done.

MM: To what extent do you give input on casting?

SM: My input's always along the way. My opinion is available at all times. I usually wait 'til I'm asked. If he really wants to do something and my opinion is on the fence about it, sometimes it's better for me to just keep quiet. Let him make the decision and let things happen. Sometimes I can't understand everything he's doing. I mean, he'll always have a better insight to the movies than I will because he wrote them. We all carry our own personal baggage. Everyone who's read the script can understand--they see different people. When they read it, they cast it in their mind. We all do that shit. Ultimately, I do it, too. And then you sit down with him and sometimes he has different ideas. I'm like, "All right, go and do that." I'll just sort of nod. "Let me kick it around because at this moment it doesn't fit." I wait and allow it to take shape. 99 percent of the time it ends up making sense because he does have that insight.

MM: Is there a certain aspect of the whole process--be it on the set or before--that you're most likely to disagree about?

SM: Oh, where we have issues?

MM: Yeah. Is there a certain area, having done four films together, where you butt heads the most?

SM: You know, we don't butt heads that much. Being in my position, he is still the writer/director and at the end of the day I will always defer to what he wants. It still has to remain one person's vision. It's a collaborative effort on any given movie, but ultimately all ideas or thoughts--as far as actors, sets or anything--still have to be pasted into his vision. You can throw ideas out, but he has to take them. If he puts them into his vision and it fits, then it stays. But it still has to fit in. If we disagree, it doesn't really become butting heads. My job is to keep throwing out ideas, being somebody to bounce something off of. I don't sit there and edit in my head what I'm gonna say to him because I want them all to be winners. You've got one chance to do all this stuff. You might as well throw out as many ideas as possible because sometimes your idea triggers his idea.

Probably in the editing process, it exists more than anywhere else because it's just the two of us. It's the one time during the whole process where literally 90 percent of it comes down to just me and him in a room. That's probably the process where we butt heads the most, but it's hard to even call it butting heads.

MM: Have you seen any films, doing the festival circuit and so forth, where you wished you had the time to produce the person's next film?

SM: Sometimes, yeah. A lot of times, also, I just can't wait to see their next movie. I never get consumed with producing someone's next film. Like Todd Solondz, who did Welcome to the Dollhouse. I'm very curious to see his next film, but I never sat there and said I'd love to work with him. I don't know what I would lend to that. To his vision. He did something great--what the hell am I supposed to do? If I'm not gonna bring anything to the plate, there's no point for me. When I watch a film and think it's really good, I just wait for their next movie. I never really feel like going in and inserting myself.

MM: Do you receive a lot of offers to produce for companies outside of View Askew?

SM: It's slowly beginning to pick up. I don't live in L.A., so I think a lot of people don't bother. Also, with Dogma, it takes me up to another level and I think the offers will increase. So far, no one's gonna give me a job based on Mallrats because it's a failure in one sense. My other two movies were so low budget that I think a lot of people are just wondering how this will do, with its mixture of stars, money and all the rest of that shit. This is the movie that's gonna change them.

MM: What's your goal? Do you hope to do some producing apart from View Askew on the side, or do you hope to part ways with View Askew at some point, or ... ?

SM: I don't feel like producing other movies just because I feel like I have something to prove. There are probably people out there who think that I hitched my wagon to Kevin or whatever. I've come into contact with a couple of them, but I don't really care. It's really childish. I'm not gonna go do other stuff [in response to that] because then I'm doing it for those people. I don't want to do anything with those people. If a project came along and I really wanted to do it, I'm sure I'd do it. At the same time, I'm sure Kevin and I will continue to executive produce it. Maybe there's something that I'll produce, but he'll probably be an executive producer. I don't need to create my own identity. Maybe there will be some project that I'll want to do that he doesn't. That would be something that I would do on my own.

MM: Are there any particular genres you're striving to produce that you haven't touched yet?

SM: Well, I'm a fan of action films, but having done action in a couple films, especially in Dogma, it's definitely not as exciting as shooting dialogue. I'm not fueled up to do something like that. I'd be curious to do some suspense stuff. I've been watching The Thing lately--the John Carpenter movie. That classical horror stuff. Not this new high-schoolers-running-around. I'm not a fan of Scream or any of those movies. They're just boring as shit. I'd like to do stuff that is more horror-oriented. If you see my laserdisc/DVD collection, it's not like anyone would look through it and be like, "Obviously, he's a fan of . . ." I'm a fan of movies of all kinds. I'm just all over the place.

MM: That said, do you simply consider yourself to be a film producer, as opposed to a quote unquote independent film producer?

SM: Yeah. I mean, I guess I have the label of being an indie guy because of my roots but it makes no difference to me, what's the title or not. In the end, I just hope that people say I produce good movies, regardless of the budget or anything else.

MM: Generally speaking, do you feel that producers have a bad reputation, be it in the business or in the public eye?

SM: No. I think that their reputation is deserving. For the majority of them. I'm definitely not gonna join The Producers Guild. I don't really like most of the producers I've ever met.

MM: I read an interview where a French producer said that he's often felt like the kid in school who's put in charge of the classroom when the teacher steps out, because it's his job to say "no, you can't do that" when he often wants to say "go right ahead." Is that something you can relate to at all?

SM: When he's doing the job?

MM: Yeah. When he's on the set.

SM: Definitely feel like an old man because I'm not the same age as a lot of these other people and I'm paid to be responsible. On a certain level, being an actor, being a creative person, you're not really being paid to be responsible. I am definitely stuck holding the bag a lot. With Mewes, it's like it's a job. Like running around, being like, "Don't do that! Get off of that! Why are you late?" I don't like sleeping four hours a night. Sometimes the responsibility will drag you down. Everyone comes to you. There are definitely days when I don't want to make decisions. At the end of the day, I don't want to hang out with all these people that have been driving me crazy all day.

MM: Is there a certain group of people that's the most difficult to deal with, be it the actors or the studio or whomever?

SM: The job is difficult in that I'm supposed to be the nuts and bolts guy. You're trying to run a group of highly creative, smart directors and actors. It can be a pain. It's like butting heads a lot of times. I am not a total nuts and bolts guy all day long, but I am the guy who's saying, "You need to do this. I don't care about that--just get in there and do it." You try to respect their process, but sometimes it's just like, "I need you to go in and do it. I understand you have a process and all this other stuff, but at this point in time I can't respect that because I need to get through this." And the studio's hard. In the end, I tend to take everything very personal, so I get really caged in, like people are poking things at me. I get real defensive. Part of my job is also to be the complaint box. I get frustrated. I'm sure that if you ask them, they'll be like, "God, Mosier's a pain in the ass." They get frustrated and complain to me. Where am I supposed to put all of this? I understand why they get that way. There's a lot of pressure.

MM: Do you find that they start using you as a therapist and rant about things that have nothing to do with your job?

SM: Sometimes yeah, sometimes no. When you're making a movie, everything kind of blends together. When you're spending 16 hours a day with people, your life and work blend into one because you have no life outside of your work. You tend to hear a lot of personal stuff. But at the same time, I do it, too. Everybody starts to share personal stuff, just because that's who you're surrounded by.

MM: In closing, what are your vices and hobbies apart from film?

SM: I like comics, more for the art because I like to draw. I like to travel. You know, normal shit. I play video games. I've got a Playstation that I fuck around with a lot. If I get bored, I go online and shit like that. I work all day and usually when I get home I just want to sit back and relax and smoke cigarettes.

Interviews Askew