Mysterio Interviews Kevin Smith
Original posted at AICN on July 16th and 17th, 2001
The KEVIN SMITH SESSIONS
What’s to follow will hopefully be a three-part series with writer/director Kevin Smith.
Beginning first with getting your questions answered, followed next by a one-on-one interview session where I’ll be talking with Kevin about his early days and previous films, which lead up to the third and final session in discussing the making of the final “ViewAskewniverse” film, ‘JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK’. This will hopefully include touching upon such things ranging from initial story concepts and scripting, budgeting, casting, post-production, acting and directing on-set, editing, the test screening process, working with visual effects to selecting the music and marketing and distribution of the film - the whole enchilada. (Now who wants to transcribe all this? Any takers? Bueller? Bueller?)
It’s a lot of ground to cover, and in cornering Kevin in his office last week to get your questions answered, we discussed what we could do that hasn’t already been done, as you’ll certainly be reading up on slew of interviews with Kevin elsewhere as he’s already literally done hundreds. Most will cover and the same tired territory that most fans already know.
So I suggested that it would be great to get both he and producer, Scott Mosier together, and sit down and discuss the flick between the three of us. Kev seemed to love the idea and thinks the last time he and Scott actually did an interview together was back in the day when they did CLERKS.
So we talked with Scott about it, and he too seemed excited by the idea as well. So hopefully the trio of us can find the time in our schedules and I can bring you all what should promise to be one of the more intensive, behind the scenes interviews that I think you’re likely to read about this film. So fingers crossed, this’ll happen.
But enough of what’s to come, let’s focus now on what’s here – the answers to your questions that some of you submitted back to me in February while the film was being shot. Yeah, it took a while to get them answered, but as promised, here they are.
Beginning with the first installment today, followed by the second tomorrow.
YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS? KEVIN SMITH HAS ANSWERS… AND MYSTERIO DELIVERS THE GOODS!
TUESDAY - JULY 10, 2001 – 4:47pm
On this very day, I arrived at the offices to find Kevin running behind doing yet another interview. The man’s been flogged to death with press lately, all the while desperately trying to edit the final music into the film. Thank god for producer Scott Mosier who valiantly takes the reigns at times like these to see that things get done.
Fifteen minutes later Kev opens the door to his office, and sees the reporter out. I haven’t seen Kev in about 3-4 weeks, so we’ve been playing a bit of a game of tag lately. He greets me with a “Hey! Would you look at this cat!” and then leads excitedly leads me to the editing room where he shows me the finalized end credits for the film, followed by revealing the 1-sheet art to me as well. All pretty sweet stuff as you can imagine. He then mentions to me that they’re doing the scoring session this week with the film’s composer, Jim Veneble, and urges me to join them because as Mosier puts it, “It’s pretty amazing stuff.” He tells me that it’s a 3-day session involving an 83-piece orchestra one day, followed by a lesser 55-piece set the next two days. Needless to say, I’ll be there, and hopefully be able to toss up a report before heading up to the San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday.
It’s now crunch time, and everyone’s feeling a bit tired and over-worked, but at the same time it’s an exhilarating feeling knowing just how close the film is to getting in theatres. As a matter of fact, the film has just been pushed up from Friday, August 24th to Wednesday the 22nd, opening on about 2,500 screens nationwide. The largest release ever, for a View Askew film to date.
Not much else to tell you, except that we spent a couple of hours going through your questions and there’s some pretty damn surprising stuff covered and talked about within his answers. I tried to stay out of the conversation and allow Kev to just step up to the mic and go. And for anybody who’s ever been to a Q & A session with Kev knows – he goes and goes and goes.
Now yes, the film is discussed within the context of your questions, so there may be some spoiler information contained herein. But it’s more like what’s NOT in the movie then what is. And there’s also some new information and revelations revealed here for the first time, that I’m sure will have some of you fans will be jonsing for the next installment. So, sit back, relax and let’s roll with the new!
“Where do you get most of your ideas for your films from?” – Tom
KEVIN SMITH: I don’t know. I mean CLERKS obviously kind of came from real life. That came from reading a Robert Rodriguez quote where he says, “Make a movie about what you know and with materials you have.” And Robert talked about like, “I had a bus, a turtle, a guitar and a guitar case,” which just all went into EL MARIACHI. So I said “I got a convenience store and a video store, so maybe that’s what it should be about.” MALLRATS was the idea to do a movie like I grew up watching. CHASING AMY came from my relationship with Joey; that was definitely the genesis of that picture. DOGMA, which would have come first, if I thought that I could have handled it, came from growing up Catholic and having tons of thoughts about religion and faith that I was raised in and reading a lot of comic books. And JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK came from everything that’s happened from the last seven years.
If you look at that movie, it pretty much touches on everything that I’ve done cinematically, and not necessarily cinematically for the last seven years. It’s kind of a real wrap up, not just of the movies we’ve made, but GOOD WILL HUNTING gets in there, the internet culture gets in there, there’s a little bit of the seven years of my life all over that movie. Shit, my wife and kid are in it. It’s a real tie-up picture.
“How do you teach yourself to write such structured dialogue? And what writing advice do you have for one to better themselves in that particular area of writing?” – Mr. Elliotto
KS: I mean the best advice is just to write everyday, often and much, even if it’s dog shit. Just write. Some of us can write everyday, even if it’s dog shit, and make a living off of it. That aside, you should just constantly be writing, any chance you get, throw it down there. Ya know, because practice kind of makes perfect. How I got to the dialogue that I eventually wound up writing had a lot to do with Gregory McDonald’s ‘FLETCH’ series of books. If you read those books, they’re very dialogue heavy, there’s very little expository passages, very little prose, its pretty much all dialogue. They read like screenplays to some degree and his dialogue is very snappy. The ‘FLETCH’ series of books and also Hal Hartley’s dialogue was a big influence on me; early Hal Hartley films.
Mysterio: Actually I think at one point you said it best by simply saying, “Write what you want to write, write what you have to write – just write.” I think that pretty much sums it all up.
KS: Absolutely, very true.
“I’ve read that the only reason you actually played Silent Bob in CLERKS was because you had to; necessity meant that you were that character instead of Randal. Are you glad you made that decision?” – James Smythe
KS: First to clear it up, it wasn’t a necessity. I did originally write the role of Randal to play myself, which is why Randal has all the best jokes. But as we got close to production, I realized, or remembered, that I’m not an actor by any stretch of the imagination and that means that I’m horrible at memorizing dialogue let alone… remove the performance question – I’m terrible at memorizing dialogue and Randal had a lot of lines in CLERKS. So I said, “there’s no way I can memorize all this, I’m gonna give this to Jeff (Anderson).
Jeff had come in and auditioned for the Jay part. He auditioned with the Jay part – he didn’t necessarily want to be Jay but he used the script and auditioned as Jay. But I’ve known Jeff in high school - he’s never acted, but he’s really great in his audition. He had a real natural presence going, a natural delivery and demeanor. So I said, “You know what? He should be Randal.” But I at least wanted to be in the movie. Having given up that role I felt that if this was the only movie that I was going to make, I at least wanted to be in it so that in years down the line I could pop in the flick on my VHS copy and see myself in the worst mistake I’ve ever made in my life, the movie that put me into debt.
So I said, “what’s left?” and I looked at the script and Silent Bob was a character I’d written for this friend of mine from high school, Mike to play. And I never told him about it, I figured Mike would look good standing next to Jay because he was kind of a bigger guy. And I said, “Ya know what? What Mike doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” And I took Silent Bob because I said, “I would look good standing next to Jay because Jay’s very thin and I’m not. And Jay is constantly moving and I’ll just stand there smoking the whole movie – because I just got into smoking at that period, and I won’t be saying anything, so I won’t have to act, hence I won’t have to memorize dialogue.
So it wasn’t a necessity to play Silent Bob, it was a choice but it wasn’t a choice along the lines of “this will be one-half of a very popular comedy duo in years to come.” You know, I didn’t think anyone would even notice Jay and Silent Bob. I was curious to see what the reactions to Jay would be like, that was just part of the reason I put him in the movie because I always thought Jay was funny, particularly when he was younger and the “Jay” character is based more on Jason Mewes when he was fourteen/fifteen. It’s kind of a romanticized version of him. But I said, “I’d really want to see if people find them funny.” But you know they’re not a big part of the movie and I didn’t intend at that point to be like, “alright they’ll show up in every movie I do.” So when I was done with CLERKS, I liked Jay’s stuff so much, that even though he’s not an actor, he came off pretty well, and he’s my friend and I wanted to keep using him, so I kept bringing him back and bringing him back. So by virtue of the fact that I kept bringing him back, I could not go back myself as Silent Bob. It would’ve seemed weird. So I kept coming back as well. And the weird progression of the movies led us up to the flick where we actually take the leap. And there are many times making this movie, where him and I would just chuckle to ourselves because we are the stars of the movie – you know, the 20 million dollar movie.
Mysterio: In fact, you’re still chuckling.
KS: Yeah! It’s just so weird. It’s like a dude whose never had any interest in acting and a dude who is not aesthetically pleasing in the least – does not look like a movie star and doesn’t really say anything, just bugs his eyes out the whole movie. Like what a great country! So do I regret it? No. Am I happy that I did it? Yeah. Absolutely. I mean I get to have a lightsaber fight ya know, in a movie. That’s pretty sweet.
Mysterio: Yeah it doesn’t get much better than that does it?
KS: No, no. It’s too sweet.
“I was watching Marx Brothers films the other day and noticed striking similarities between ‘Harpo Marx’ and ‘Silent Bob’.”
KS: Yeah, yeah. They pull shit out of their jacket.
“So I was wondering if ‘Silent Bob’ has shades of ‘Harpo Marx’ in him?” – Welch Canavan
KS: Absolutely. The jacket, the pulling things out of a jacket was a real nod to Harpo Marx. And also Harpo Marx never says anything; he’s almost the mute in the bunch. But yeah, it was only in MALLRATS that kind of started happening. I had the coat and there was an opportunity to do some gags, pulling stuff out from the coat, so yeah, it was definitely a nod to that.
“Where do you base your character of Silent Bob from?” – Andrew Waibel
KS: It’s not really based on anyone, but like my performance of Silent Bob from MALLRATS onwards, is very much based on (John) Belushi’s “Bluto” in ANIMAL HOUSE. In CLERKS, it’s very much a non-performance, like I just pretty much stand there. I don’t even give him a sidelong glance, really. I barely look at Jay and when I do I’m not making goofy faces and whatnot.
Mysterio: And in CLERKS, as opposed to the following films, it seems that the characters of ‘Jay and Silent Bob’ also seemed to have a harder edge to them.
KS: I think it’s a harder edge because I’m not speaking or reacting. And he’s not playing off me as much. I mean he’ll say my name and whatnot, but he’s not really playing off me or to me, or anything like that. As when you get to MALLRATS, it just felt like, well we’re going play second bananas in a more traditional, comedic setting and the characters should be a bit more arched. And that’s where I started reacting to the things he said, reacting to other people and started acting with a bit more input, but like the character more toward “Bluto”. Then every movie following, with the exception of CHASING AMY, you start to see it really come true. So that’s what I was going for. I mean you look at Silent Bob hopefully you think of “Bluto”.
Mysterio: But actually more folks seem to compare ‘Jay and Silent Bob’ to that of C-3PO and R2-D2 from the STAR WARS films.
KS: You know most people seem to draw the R2-D2/C-3PO correlation but like, what? I’m going to base my performance on R2-D2 - a series of beeps and whistles? I mean yes, I may be kind of be short and dumpy compared to Jay’s tall and always chattering C-3PO, but that’s about where the comparison ends. But the performance, if you can call it that, is more based on Belushi’s “Bluto”.
“How come ‘Silent Bob’ is always so… silent?” – Russell & Kathy
KS: Um, I don’t know. I mean if you were hanging out with Jay most of the time, you can’t get a word in edgewise, so there’s just no point. I always like to think of it, if I ever think of it, in the beginning maybe Bob talked, but after hanging out with Jay for as long as he did and Jay just never stops talking, he’s just a motor mouth, Silent Bob couldn’t get a word in edgewise. He just eventually gave up.
“You know Dante Hicks is 37 with Veronica. What number is Willam Black and are there different numbers for each Willam Black played by both Scott Mosier (in CLERKS) and Ethan Suplee (in MALLRATS)?” – SupernekkidBob
KS: I don’t know. I mean we never did get to resolve the whole “Willam of two worlds” theories, so I don’t know if Willam (Ethan) and Willam (Scott) are the same character or not. That being said, what number would they be? I would probably place the Willam from CLERKS in the late twenties, where at maybe at worst thirty. So it seemed like there was some time, which she referred to it as happening a little while ago.
“What is the reason for the different ‘Willams’ in CLERKS and MALLRATS?” – Lewis Bazley
KS: Originally Scott (Mosier), who played Willam in CLERKS, was going to play him in MALLRATS but then Ethan Suplee came in and wanted to audition only for that role. He didn’t want to audition for anything else. He was just like, “I want to play that guy.” And he auditioned, and he was really very funny and then Mosier was there and I said, “So what do you think? Since this is your role.” And he was just like, “He’s good. Give it to him, I’ll do something else.” So we wound up going with Ethan.
“Since Ethan Suplee was not going to be able to make the filming (of JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK), is it possible for you to explain how you were going to script both he and Mosier as Willam Black?”- Name withheld
KS: They were initially supposed to come out of the theatre together. Now at the end of the movie, Willam is standing there, as Dante and Randal come out of the theatre, looking up at the (ceiling) lights and saying, “That’s beautiful man.” Originally Willam and Willam were going to come out of the theatre together and they had a few lines back and forth and that was it. No biggie. We toyed with the notion of like, “They come out, say their lines to each other back and forth, and look at each other, then fuckin’ explode.” Because you know your doppleganger can’t exist in the same space and time. We just never even had the opportunity to do it because Ethan couldn’t make it. Ethan was busy on EVOLUTION.
“How are the pre-release ‘BLUNTMAN & CRONIC’ comics tying into the flick, and to what extent will you have a hand in scripting the books that come out after the films are wrapped up?”- Name withheld
KS: The comic book, which is now a graphic novel, it supposed to be the three issues of the comic that Holden and Banky did. How it ties into the movie is that the movie, at the end of our movie, the “Bluntman and Cronic” movie, is based on the comic book. So the scene with Cock-Knocker comes right out of the last “issue” of that book. In terms of who’ll be writing the books after the movie comes out, nobody’s gonna write those books but me. I would never hand over the View Askew characters to anybody else.
Mysterio: And when can we expect to see those books hit shelves Kevin?
KS: “Bluntman and Cronic” comes out first week in August I think or second week in August – just in time for the movie. And then the books that I’d like to do beyond that are still the “Bartleby and Loki” 1-shot I’d like to do. And then it would be nice if I could kind of get a schedule down and so a monthly “Askewniverse”, like “Tales Gone Askew” book where it just focuses on different characters from the movies. Like we can do “The Julie Dwyer” book, not necessarily her dying in the pool but just a story about a character you’ve never seen. You do all “Steve-Dave and Walt” book or a fat “Jay and Bob” book and then mix it up and do like a backstory of Missy, Sissy, Chrissy and Justice, the girl gang in this movie.
Mysterio: So you literally could continue and keeping going with it…
KS: Exactly. And you won’t be doing it in the movies, but you can keep going, telling story after story.
“Why wasn’t Bryan Johnson (aka, ‘Steve-Dave’) in CLERKS?” – Sandy
KS: That’s a very good question! Did Bryan Johnson submit that question?
Mysterio: Not unless he’s going the dude magnet handle of “Sandy”.
KS: Bryan Johnson wasn’t in CLERKS because Bryan and I had a large falling out earlier that year over a girl that I had dated, rather I had one with, I didn’t really date, that he had later went on to date. So we had a falling out over a girl. He got into… it’s a very weird, long story. I was supposed to work on a Sunday morning (at the Quick Stop), but I had to go to a family function so I asked Bryan to cover for me and Bryan said, “I’m supposed to go on a picnic with this girl Laura and I need to get out of here at 1:00.” And I said, “I will absolutely be back at 1:00.” As it turns out, I didn’t get back ‘til 2:00. When I got to the store, there’s a sign on the door that says, “Store closed due to bubonic plague.” So I got inside, opened the store and took the sign down. I was in the store five minutes, and a Middletown cop showed up and looked around the store and was looking at me very oddly and he was just like, “What’s going on here?” And I said, “What do you mean?” And he said somebody called in to report that we hung a sign saying that the store is diseased or something. And I said, “Oh, that was my friend. He was just playing a joke.” And he said, “Well that’s not really fucking funny.” And he left.
I called Johnson and was like, “What the fuck did you do that for? Now I got the cops coming down here and shit and you know they’re gonna tell our boss Topper.” I said, “You know they’re gonna tell him and we’re going to get in a ton of trouble!” And he was like, “Ah, I was just foolin’ around man. But you should’ve been there at 1:00.” And I said, “I was going to try man, why didn’t you just wait? I was here like half an hour after 1:00 or something.” I didn’t get there until 1:30. And we were getting up in each other grill over the phone about it. And then we hung up, a little pissed off, and then he was let go. Quick Stop let him go. Mr. Topper said, “That’s it. He’s fired.” The one thing they do is protect their business at Quick Stop.
So I was kind of pissed at the whole thing because I thought it was kind of stupid and didn’t want him to get fired, because I like working with him, over something dumb like hanging a note in the window. It just kind of blew up and we just, like I’d say “I’m not gonna call him until he calls me.” And he’d say the same thing I guess, and almost a year went by and I didn’t speak to him. And in the course of that year, we made CLERKS. It was right after we finished CLERKS that I finally started talking to him again when we were editing the movie and whatnot. So up until to that point I hadn’t really spoken to him that whole year that we were making the movie.
“What got you interested in hockey? Do you play the game and if so, which hockey players, if any, have influenced your love for the game?” – Cris Schultz
KS: Walter Flanangan got me into hockey. Walt Flanangan, of ‘Walt Flanangan’s Dog’ fame. When I made friends with Walter, it was in late ’88, early ’89. It was after I’d gotten out of high school and I’d been dating this girl for most of high school and we broke up. And then the friend that I had in high school, I didn’t really spend much time with anymore because I’d been spending all my time with the girl and also they were also into partying and going to keggers and I wasn’t really into drinking and all. So when I broke up with the girl, suddenly I was at ground zero with no friends.
Walter was a guy who I worked with at the recreation center in Highlands. It was a yearlong latchkey kid program where kids from school would go to the rec center and then at 6:00 their parents, when they get off work, come pick them up.
I was hired for a year (program was a year long) and worked beside him for eight months and we’d never spoke. Just never spoke. And then about eight months in somehow we struck up a conversation, I think about comics because Walter loves his comics and I saw him with a bag of comics one day, and I hadn’t read comics since I was a kid. So I said, “Do you read a lot of comics?” And it just kind of started a very long discussion and Walter gave me a copy of ‘DARK KNIGHT RETURNS’ and that got me back into comics and then I started hanging out with Walter fairly regularly. So Walter was my first, kind of real friend after high school. And he had gone to the same high school as me he was just in two grades above me.
So I started hanging out with Walter, and a lot of the things you see in the movies are very influenced by my friendship with Walter – comics, hockey. Walter introduced me to hockey. He’s is, and still is to this day, a New Jersey Devils fan. We’d go to games, and then he actually got me into playing hockey, street hockey. So the stuff like on the roof of Quick Stop, well we never played on the roof of Quick Stop but we’d always play down at the tennis courts and at this enclosed hockey rink that was a few towns away. But all that stuff is very Walter influenced. Without Walter there’s no comics, there’s no hockey - I don’t follow professional hockey, Walter does religiously.
Like I had season tickets to the Devil’s last year but I didn’t go because we were out here shooting the movie, but he got to use my tickets more often than not. My passion for hockey is only because of Walter and my passion for it kind of waned when we stopped playing. Because we played pretty hardcore for like four years, outside, you know, all the time. Never played ice because ice is too expensive to play and requires more expensive equipment than shoe hockey. When CLERKS took off, the games got less and less because we we’re traveling the festival circuit and then after CLERKS, before MALLRATS came out, I came home and we got people together again and I would get this indoor roller rink in Eaton town for a night and we would all play there. Walter busted up his leg at one point so he can’t really skate anymore. So it was kind of heartbreaking.
Mysterio: So then how come we’ve never seen Silent Bob on skates?
KS: Because I was a goalie so I was never really on skates. Walter was an ace roller-blader, and Bryan Johnson too. And Mewes is a fantastic roller-blader. I guess that’s never been shown in the movies either, but he’s really excellent in roller-blading and really great at ice too.
Mysterio: So how are you at being a goalie?
KS: I was a really good goalie. As long as I didn’t have to wear roller blades I was great, but on roller blades I sucked. I just couldn’t maintain balance, and to be a goalie, and your always moving and whatnot on those blades, back and forth. On the street I just played in my sneakers, everyone else was in roller blades, two goalies in sneakers.
“What are the many aspects that connect the New Jersey Quadrilogy?” – Aaron Fisher
KS: “The New Jersey Chronicles?” What are the aspects?
Mysterio: Yeah, I think that’s what’s he’s referring to.
KS: There’s the obvious stuff. Like there’s usually hockey references, JAWS references, STAR WARS references, dick and fart jokes. Primarily dick jokes, there’s not a lot of fart jokes in the movie. I think there’s two in this movie.
Mysterio: And one big one with Jay in the beginning.
KS: Yeah, yeah. The less obvious, in which isn’t to say it’s hidden, but they’re relationship pictures - all of them. You know CLERKS is about the relationships between guys. MALLRATS is more about the relationships between men and women. CHASING AMY is about that bizarre relationship between two best friends and a girl. DOGMA is about the relationship between man and God. They’re kind of unseen relationship. And JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK is about the relationship of two idiots; you know, two innocents or corrupt innocents who are kind profane innocents in a world that doesn’t seem to quite understand them and also about the relationship between the audience and Hollywood. If you want to go for something deep on JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK, don’t bring your “hip boots” ‘cause there’s not much depth in there, but if you want to look deep for it and try and write a paper on it, it is kind of about the relationship between filmmaker and studio, between audience and studio, between audience and film. You know, because it’s about how we relate to movies. I mean the movie is kind of a big valentine to movies, but really it’s more of a big valentine to the people that supported our movies.
“Will Randal be doing his famous “Wrangler” dance in the new film?” – Jason
KS: No, you know he didn’t. I wish we had thought of that. Where was that question when I needed it.
Mysterio: Didn’t you have a bit of a problem with using “The Wrangler” dance before?
KS: We called it “The Wrangler” but it’s never called that in the movie. In the movie we had to dub Brian O’Halloran. Brian O’Halloran initially sang the “The Wrangler” jingle when we shot the movie, which was:
“Here comes Wrangler… He’s one tough customer… He knows what he likes when he sees it… Ohhh, Wrangler.” So it was the only ADR (looping) on CLERKS we did. That was the only company that we couldn’t reference to. You would imagine Pringles would’ve said, “No, you can’t show a man with his hand caught in a can of Pringles.” They didn’t care. Wrangler said, “We don’t want our jingle showing up in your movie.” Which is very weird because I thought “You guys could certainly use the advertising, like who’s wearing Wranglers anymore?” But they didn’t let us do it, so we had to loop what Brian’s saying and thankfully his face is pointed the other direction. So instead he’s saying, “Here’s comes Randal… he’s a berserker…” I mean we still would call it “The Wrangler”, we still do when we refer to it; it’s just very seldom. But, no we didn’t do it in the movie. I wish I thought of that in advance. I wish that question had been asked before we shot the movie because I would’ve worked it in somewhere.
Mysterio: Ummm… My bad.
Mysterio: I actually got these questions in February and had I had more time, would’ve nailed you with them earlier during the shoot.
KS: Did you?
Mysterio: Yeah, but not for nothing, at least you got the Jason Lee’s Reynolds reference in there, which was one of the first things I told you was missing after I read the script.
KS: Yeah, we did get the Reynolds reference in there.
“Will there be an animated CLERKS movie?” – Bluntman Biggs
KS: Uh-huh. There will. Harvey Weinstein asked us if we wanted to do a CLERKS cartoon theatrical feature, to which I said, “Wait a second. Don’t you remember the cartoon that got shit canned off television?” And he said, “Yeah, but we can make it inexpensively. We can do it for seven/eight million bucks. And probably make our money back and turn a little profit. Like if we went theatrical – you’ve got enough of a fan base that they would probably go out and see it if you made one.”
Mysterio: Like with ‘SOUTH PARK’.
KS: Yeah. Like with ‘South Park’. “And you could curse in it, and you could put in all sorts of guest voices and shit.” So I said, “If you’re willing to put up the cash, absolutely, I’d love to.” So there was an initial outline for the movie that I turned in that they loved, which wound up having a lot of the stuff cribbed from it for ‘JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK’, because I wrote the outline for the cartoon movie before I even wrote ‘JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK’. So I cribbed some of things from the outline and used it; like the lightsaber fight was initially in the cartoon movie and then we wound up doing it in the feature. So there’s a bit of refiguring to do with the outline, with me and Dave Mandel, I guess are going to start writing that any minute now. And it’s pretty much the story of… nah, I’m not gonna say.
"Are Jay and Rick Derris in fact cousins?" – Andrew McAfee
KEVIN SMITH: What would have been revealed, had we done a movie called NAME, which we were going to do at one point, was that Jay and Rick Derris were brothers. Jay’s last name was going to be Jay Derris and it was going to out in that movie, but we never made the movie. So no, they’re not related.
"Are there going to be any overlapping events from the original movies to tie up loose ends such as what happens with ‘Dante’ and ‘Veronica’?" – Joeshmo16
KS: No, we didn’t address what happens to Dante and Veronica. I didn’t know that was a question that needed addressing. I always just sort of assumed that Dante’s love life kind of remained as poorly played as it did in the movie. Like in the comics, he went to see Caitlin in the insane asylum. The Veronica angle, I never felt the need to go back and touch on.
Mysterio: Unlike the Alyssa and Holden relationship.
KS: Unlike the Alyssa and Holden relationship, which in the earlier drafts of ‘JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK’, there was actually a scene where Alyssa and Holden were together and you got to see and learn a lot more about the resolution of their relationship. But Mosier said that it didn’t further the plot, and it didn’t. It was just a like a two-page dialogue exchange between them and Jay and Silent Bob that would’ve been cut anyway because it just did not move the movie forward. So I guess it was good that we didn’t do it. But it was a very cute scene and gave the people that really wanted to know whatever happened to those two - did they get back together or not? It kind of gave them some sense of closure to it.
"After CLERKS, how did the locals in your neighborhood react to the film?"- name withheld
KS: I remember what happened was there was a guy, his name was Gui, G-U-I, and he was a very large man, he was a postal employee. And would always come into the Quick Stop. Was very proud of the fact that he was a government employee and didn’t have to work a lot. He was just like "I can’t believe they pay me for this. I just drive a truck around all day." Like he didn’t deliver mail, he drove a truck that drove mail to other post offices.
But Gui was always around when we were making the movie and he’d come in while we were shooting, sometimes late at night, and was really curious about the whole thing. Then when I was cutting the movie in RST Video he would pop in and watch it from time to time. When we got our first cut together and did our print and made video transfers of the movie, he was like "I wanna buy it. I wanna be the first guy to buy this movie from you." And I was like, "You don’t have to buy it, I’ll just give it to you." And he’s like, "No. I want to pay for it. I wanna be able to say that I paid for this movie." So he gave me twenty bucks and I was like, "Dude, I so don’t need your money." But he was like, "No, no, no. It’s important. I need to be able to buy this." So he bought it and he’s the first guy that bought a copy of CLERKS. I think the only guy that I ever sold a copy of CLERKS to short of like what Buena Vista Home Video has done with the movie.
What I would find out later on was the Gui took that movie EVERYWHERE. Like all of Leonardo saw CLERKS before CLERKS came out in a theater. Because Gui would bring it down to the bar, the Depot Inn, which is down the street from Quick Stop, and just have ‘em put it on in the bar and people would sit around and watch it. The fire department had a copy. The movie traveled everywhere in the Tri-town area. So before the movie came out, everyone had pretty much seen it. And the reaction was, a lot of people were kind of, I don’t know how else to describe it, but just kind of bitter about the fact that we had the audacity to make a movie. And not even about the town, just like, "who do they think they are?" There are some people that really begrudge you a dream and some of those people were exactly that. I would meet people coming into Quick Stop, and they’d go like, "You made that movie. I saw that black and white movie you made." And I said "Yeah." And they were like, "What made you think you could make a movie? It doesn’t look like a real movie." Like give you shit for it up in your grill. You know those people?
Mysterio: Like some of those on the Internet.
KS: (laughs) Yeah. I mean those are the people that later went on to become the people on the Internet. There were people that would say, "I can’t believe you’d paint the people of Leonardo in such an unflattering light," in terms of the clientele. Which, I mean I never said it to them, but I was just like, "if the shoe fuckin’ fits man…" But then largely people really dug it. People were just like, "this is really funny and very cool that you made a movie."
Mysterio: And now what do they say to you when you walk through the hometown neighborhood today?
KS: When I was shooting outside of Quick Stop, before we shot for ‘JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE’, we went back to Jersey for the last week of shooting and we were standing outside of Quick Stop, with the whole crew, doing a location scout and telling Jamie (The film’s DP) like, "we’ll shoot from this side, do a wide, blah, blah, blah."
A van comes down Leonard Avenue, which is the street right in front of Quick Stop, and there’s me and fifteen other people standing across the street from the Quick Stop talking about what were going to be shooting for the next two days. In the van this very portly, homely woman, slows the van enough to lean out, and yells out at me in front of my crew, "Kevin you’d be a lot more famous if you lost 100 pounds!" And then just books down the street. We got through the whole shoot and like here we were, out in Los Angeles, where people are like, "They’re a den of vipers out there!" And it wasn’t until I got home that somebody fuckin’ like berated me publicly. It was so weird; the crew looked at me and they were like, "Oh my god. I thought this was your home."
Mysterio: They just want to keep you rooted, that’s all.
KS: I guess. Jamie was just like, "I thought this was where you lived?" I said, "Dude, that was just my mother." But it was really weird to be like there, in the heart of Leonardo and ya know, it’s no great shake, but we kind of put Leonardo on the map and here’s somebody who, just again, I mean "Did she really feel that way? Was it a piece of advice," like "you’ll be a lot more famous if you lose 100 pounds," or was she just an asshole. I lean towards the latter.
But that’s my one sampling, before we shot. I remember thinking that day, and even saying to Mosier, "I fuckin’ can’t stand this. I don’t wanna shot here now. I just feel such bad will." But when we shot the next two days we had a crowd of 200 people out across the street and everyone – just well wishes. I mean there were people that came, who aren’t from Leonardo, who heard we were shooting there. But the bulk of them were made up of people who live in Leonardo – people I had waited on in the convenience store years before. Kids who I used to wait on who were like teenagers and shit and just this very good will. It totally erased the one fuckin’ horrible moment from my mind, but really, really great people and supportive, so they seemed to kind of dig it.
"How much fun was it making the music video for "Build Me Up Buttercup" by The Goops? Was that something that you had always wanted to do?" – Spyboy
KS: No, I’m not a real big music video guy. I was offered the chance to helm the two music videos that come off this soundtrack and I passed because it’s not a fun process, really. It was fun kind of making the Soul Asylum one (from CLERKS) because it’s so directly tied into the movie. But The Goops video for MALLRATS, was kind of a pain in the ass, because it was mandated that I had to direct the trailer, we had to do the music video… but the working around the dates of the band was pretty weird and so finally I was like, "Can we just do a video with just me and Jay?" And they said, "Yeah, if you can find a creative way to do it." We shot that over the course of eight hours at a very small soundstage, it was like an art studio in Jersey, and we just kind of made it up as we went along.
"Do you really consider MALLRATS to be a flop? Because whenever you talk about it you seem disappointed?" – Marc Broering
KS: I mean there’s no two ways about MALLRATS, as a theatrical motion picture, was a flop. The movie cost six million to make and made two million – total. Grammercy pulled it out of theaters by the second weekend, so you can’t deny that movie’s a flop. Do I think the movie is a failure? No, I liked that movie A LOT and I kid it a lot because, ya know, that the one that fuckin’ tanked and I would rather be the person to point that out ahead of somebody else – steal the thunder. Don’t let them make fun of it, make fun of it yourself.
That being said, it’s more than made its money back on video. Video really pushed us through the roof and that’s where the people that really love the movie found it. And the DVD did phenomenally well and that movie has its hardcore audience. People poke fun at it and shit, and I think that has a lot to do with my reaction to the movie, or how I went out there and said this or that about it. But mine was always tongue in cheek and people just kind of take their cue from that.
Like I was at The Spirit Awards one year, and I said, "I just really want to take this opportunity to apologize for MALLRATS, I don’t know what I was thinking." It was funny, it was a joke; it was tongue in cheek, everyone laughed. Roger Ebert heard it and assumed I was serious and every time he talked MALLRATS, he mentioned that I’d apologized for it. You’re just kind of like, "Dude, I was kidding. It was joke."
But no, no MALLRATS, yes, as a theatrical film – definitely a flop, but it’s more than made up for it. You know its like made money for Universal over the course of last year. Also, it’s the one movie, like of all the movies of mine that people come up to me and go, "I really liked that movie." That’s the one I hear about the most. People are like, "Why don’t you make a movie like MALLRATS again?" And we did, we made this one.
"On the CHASING AMY DVD, you talk about working with Dwight Ewell and that he is the first black actor you worked with and since have cast Chris Rock and Salma Hayek in DOGMA..."
KS: Salma’s not a black chick!
Mysterio: Hold up. That’s not exactly what he’s getting at.
"I was wondering, will you cast more minorities in roles and write characters to reflect it?" – Jonathan
KS: I mean first of all you have to define anyone who is not white as a minority and I tend not to do that. But however, will I cast black actors? Yeah. I mean aside from (Chris) Rock coming back in this movie, Tracy Morgan is in the flick and did a phenomenal, phenomenal job. And Dwight’s back. Dwight, Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan. So yeah, I mean when it calls for it. I just don’t want to kind of be throwing in the token black appearance just to be PC. In this movie it absolutely worked. I mean, I knew going into writing this movie Rock was like, "Write me a part. I wanna be in it." So I knew he was going to be in it. Tracy Morgan, when I was writing that part, I wrote it for Tracy Morgan because I thought he was genius on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and I really wanted to work with him. So it gave me the opportunity to do that and bringing Dwight back of course. But yeah absolutely, I’ve worked with black actors when it calls for it. But nine times out of ten I’m writing about my life to some degree and my life in the Jersey suburbs and the area of Jersey I grew up in is not real black heavy.
"Will part of the book, CHASING DOGMA be used in the movie since so much of what I’ve read feels like it’s part of the film?" – Sam Johnson
KS: Yes. Almost the whole of issue three of CHASING DOGMA is a piece of the movie. We condensed it, you know, the monkey stuff…
Mysterio: Right, right. I remember seeing you leafing through of copy of CHASING DOGMA on set at one point during shooting too.
KS: Yeah, that we were cribbing and looking at going like, "Ok, this is what we need to do."
"In DOGMA, why were ‘Bartleby’ and ‘Loki’ sent to Wisconsin for eternity? Do you have something against the state or is it that it’s just an easy target for making jokes?" – Tony Rystrom
KS: It was just a state that was left to the one way. Since Bethany is starting out from Illinois, we needed to start them a little further west. So I just went with Illinois and Wisconsin. But no, I’ve think I’ve been to Wisconsin maybe once and I got no impression that this was hell on Earth or anything like that. It just happened to be the state left of Illinois.
"Why is Quentin Tarantino given a "special thanks" credit at the end of DOGMA?" – Keith Stimatze
KS: When I saw PULP FICTION at Cannes in ’94, CLERKS went to Cannes as well, and we went to the first public screening of PULP FICTION, before it even played at the festival itself. Harvey (Weinstein) had thrown together a quick screening full of press - kind of sneaked it, and I fell in love with that movie and its fantastic use on tone shift. Very funny movie then suddenly turns on a dime and then throws weighty stuff at you gruesome things or kind of disturbing things that you’re actually kind of chuckling uneasily through.
And that was right before I was doing my first serious pass on DOGMA. So watching that movie I was just like, "Holy shit. You can do that kind of thing. You can be funny and then throw something weird in there at the same time." So it was a very liberating flick to watch and it really informed DOGMA in the degree on tone.
"How do you feel your writing craft has developed from the old CLERKS days? Clearly your skills are much more honed and developed, but I’m wondering how you feel that’s happened. Is it simply a matter of more time spent at the keyboard makes for better writers, or is it because you’ve got high class people (Affleck, Damon, Rock) to write for, which makes the task easier, or is it that going through the process of producing your scripts, you’ve picked up some insight into the process you didn’t have before?" – Dan Jepperson
KS: No. Really what it comes down to, again, is that practice makes perfect. CLERKS was the first screenplay I ever wrote, and we filmed it and people saw it. So, I didn’t get to the DOGMA shit privately. Over years, I had to do it publicly. The big difference between like CLERKS and even now to JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK is if you look at CLERKS, even MALLRATS, I’m obviously like in love with language and then the fifty-cent vocabulary words. And I’ve since kind of eased up on that because it tends to like stick out like a sore thumb. I still love dialogue, I still love hearing people say my dialogue, but I tend not to be so flowery with the dialogue as I was earlier.
"Can you name some (would be) moments in your films that you wrote, loved and so much wanted to do, but when it actually came down to it, you knew that it wouldn’t work?" – Harry Bauer
KS: There’s nothing that I wrote and when it came down to it I knew it wouldn’t work, but there’s stuff that I liked or when it came down to it, we shot it and it didn’t work after we shot it. The whole opening to MALLRATS is proof positive of that. You see it on the DVD, all the cut stuff. That was something that worked, I don’t know if it even worked on paper but the execution just didn’t really pan out.
That "TOUCH OF EVIL" shot, which at that point I was like, "what’s a touch of evil?" But yeah, I mean not just like technically speaking but just in terms of the flow of the narrative didn’t really pan out. So yeah, there’s stuff that we wanted to do and tried, that didn’t work and you can always find that stuff in the cut scene sections of the DVD. Like you’ll see the stuff that we shot for this movie that didn’t quite work when this DVD comes out. There’s not a lot of it, but there’s definitely stuff where it’s just kind of lays there.
Mysterio: There are still some truly hysterical bits and moments that you cut out mainly for pacing concerns that’ll definitely make its way onto the DVD and worth taking a look at.
KS: Oh yeah!
"If you had all 5 View Askew scripts in front of you and you could only make one of the scripts into a movie (pretend this is before CLERKS was made), which one would you make and why?" – Mr. Blonde
KEV: Probably DOGMA because it was the one that meant the most to me. It’s the one movie that I look at and go, "This could be improved. I could’ve done it better." And would probably, like if somebody said, "hey remake one of your movies," I’d remake DOGMA. I’d do another few drafts of it and take all the criticism into consideration and try to make a better version of that movie and get a little more money too and not work in so tight a budget. Ten million was fine, but twenty million we had for JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK would’ve made a difference. So that would’ve been nice to have on DOGMA.
"With the end of the "ViewAskewniverse", what do you have in mind to develop (forthcoming)? Any particular characters, stories, messages you’ll want to get across?" – Gina Russo
KS: I’m certain I’ll address fatherhood fairly soon. How can I not? I’ve always talked about stuff that was kind of important to me or stuff that was going on in my life and now, over the course, that’s something else that going on in my life in a very big way and the one topic that I’ll probably have to address sooner or later. I just want to make sure that I never do a "baby" movie. You know like one of those movies where it’s apparent that the filmmaker believed their child was the most brilliant child that ever lived. I don’t want to make that movie.
Mysterio: So, no BABY GENUISES?
KS: No BABY GENUISES. No BABY’S DAY OUT, nothing where it’s like you look at the movie and you’re like, "god, this filmmaker really must just love his kid." That doesn’t necessarily make for an interesting or entertaining movie. But still just father hood is something that I could talk about without necessarily making a "baby" movie.
"What current comic book series do you like these days?" – Francis A. Rodriguez
KS: Peter Milligan and Mike Allred are doing a fantastic job with a book called, "X-FORCE". That’s my favorite at the moment.
"There was once talk of you and BATMAN BEYOND writer, Paul Dini working together. Any future projects that you both might collaborate on?"- Nick
KS: We collaborated on JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK in as much as he appears in the movie. But Paul’s a writer and I’m a writer so there’s no real need to collaborate with another writer. With that being said, if CLERKS the cartoon would have been ongoing, Paul would’ve been a writer; he would’ve written the scripts. We would have had him write the scripts. And you always tinker with the scripts as well and in that capacity I definitely would’ve worked with him.
I would love to see JINGLE BELLE be made into a movie. So I’m going to try and help him out there as much as I can. But people said the same thing about Garth Ennis, they guy who writes this little book, PREACHER. They would ask, "Why don’t you write something with Garth?" And I’m like, "Garth is great writer. He needs no assistance." You know he can write stuff by himself. He doesn’t need me.
You know I may not be a great writer, but I certainly don’t welcome the help. I’d much rather do it by myself, that way the movie or whatever I work on: the movie, the comic book - rises and falls on me. So I take the bullet - the credit or the bullet.
"Does View Askew still consider itself an "independent" film company like it was in the beginning, or does it consider itself one of those "big studio production companies?" – Deven
KS: I’d be hard-pressed to think of ourselves as a big studio company, but we haven’t been an independent film company since we weren’t a company. Like we made CLERKS and we called ourselves "View Askew" but we were not incorporated or anything like that. And that was the only movie we ever truly, independently made. MALLRATS had Universal money behind it, CHASING AMY had Miramax money behind it, DOGMA had Miramax money on it and JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK has Dimension money behind it. I mean, I haven’t made, in the strictest definition of the term, I haven’t made an independent film since CLERKS.
Now if you broaden your definition of independent films to mean "any movie that could not be made through the studio system," then yeah, we’ve definitely made movies that I would consider to be independent. CHASING AMY was an independent movie. If we made that for a studio, those guys would’ve wound up together by the end of the flick. DOGMA was a movie that could never be made through a studio system and as was proven later on almost didn’t work, although it did get made with studio money, but the studio didn’t want it. JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK couldn’t be made through a studio system unless that studio was Miramax/Dimension. There’s so much Miramax/Dimension family in it.
There’s so many references to movies we’ve done with them. We take MAJOR potshots at Miramax in the movie and Miramax takes it on the chin, you know, they never said "remove it." If we had made that movie elsewhere we probably couldn’t take the potshots at Miramax because the lawyers wouldn’t let us and no other studio would let us take potshots at them. You think Universal would’ve let us make the jokes at their expense that we make with Miramax’s expense in this movie? Heavens no. The studios are very protective of their image. Miramax thought it was funny, so they didn’t care.
"Any advice to "would be" filmmakers? Should they pack up and move to L.A.? Where should they start? – Jason Jancosek
KS: Start at home. That’s what makes for an interesting filmmaker. If you’re talking about trying indie film, which is what I imagine you’re talking about, you want to do it where you are because that’s the interesting voice. You know, nobody has your voice and very few people probably know about your little corner of the world. And regional cinema is always very interesting. It’s nice to see what’s going on in another part of the country that people haven’t really thought about. So I’d say don’t venture beyond home, you have it right there. Unless you want to make a movie like STAR WARS, in which case, yeah, get out and get your ass to Hollywood.
"It’s been about a decade from CLERKS and with the View Askewniverse (with it’s multitude of characters, stories and histories) has exploded from that wee flick. However, you always seem to be extremely self-deprecating about your work (or as you say in the credits – "your little stories"). What do you actually think about your mark in filmmaking, and how do you think your films are going to be looked at in fifteen or twenty years?" – Adam Smith
KS: I don’t how they’ll be viewed in fifteen to twenty years; the nice thing is that CLERKS still holds up and people still regard it fairly well. Some of the movies will be remembered fondly, some not as much. How do I feel about it? Look what I got to do for a living for the last seven years. I mean, what a great way to make a living! You get paid to pretend and tell your stories and then have somebody give a shit.
Not a day goes by where I don’t feel fuckin’ slovenly grateful. I’m happy with what we’ve done. You know there are some things, given the opportunity, I could go back and fix, but probably wouldn’t. At the end of the day, the movie is kind of a scrapbook of what we were doing at that point in our lives. I’m content to let them stay as such because they were so effective.
Whereas I’d pop in one of our movies, and I rarely do that, I rarely watch our movies once they’re finished. I can’t tell you the last time I saw MALLRATS or the last time I saw DOGMA. You know, we got this fat DOGMA DVD and I didn’t even watch it. I looked at the cut stuff and some of the shit, but it’s tough to sit through a movie that you’ve spent a year or two years with. So I tend not to go back and watch too much. But if I do, I remember the day that scene was shot, what was going on. They’re very much… the movies are very much like scrapbooks of particular moments in my life and they still function as such.
I know there are people that really dig the movies. Will they dig them in ten years? I don’t know maybe they’ll grow out of them maybe they won’t. Maybe they’ll always mean something to them. The John Hughes movies still mean something to me. I don’t watch them all the time but I can still pop them in and they put a smile on my face. They still hold up. So hopefully our movies will viewed in much the same way.
In ten years people will look at them and go, "Yeah, I remember that time in my life." There will always be some people that are like, "This is a modern classic of cinema." A very small group, but they exist. There will always be people who’ll like go, "Your movies suck and there not going to mean anything to anyone in ten to fifteen years from now," usually followed up by, "PTA is a much more brilliant filmmaker than you." God knows why they feel they need to put us against each other.
And then they’ll be people that are like, "Yeah, they were good movies. I liked them a lot," and who’ll never stop liking them and then they’ll be people where they mean a great deal to them on a personal level. They don’t necessarily think of them as fuckin’ classics of modern cinema, but I can’t tell you how many people e-mail me, post on the board or tell me in person, that like "CHASING AMY was the first date for me and my wife," or "me and my husband." To a lesser degree I hear that about CLERKS as well, but it’s usually CHASING AMY. So those movies will always mean something to those people, something very personal, more so than I intended perhaps.
So, you know, like many other movies, they’ll always have their fans I think. I mean the passion for them will vary as the years go by and maybe they’ll be rediscovered by future generations down the line or those people will look back and go like, "Holy shit is that what life was like in the mid-late ‘90’s?" Or maybe they’ll be like the "Savage" Steve Holland movies, where people are like, "Yeah, I think I remember that movie. Isn’t that the one where the dude is John Cusack? Before he was Lloyd Dobbler?" They kind of vaguely remember them, if at all and then eventually they’ll probably be forgotten, but that’s hopefully while the universe is on a verge of the cataclysm. Everything must end anyway. That’d be nice.
"What the fucks you beef with P.T.?" – Mr. Rio
KS: (laughing) I got no beef with P.T.! I mean it’s so nice to be asked that question in a forum that you can actually address it. I’m a huge fan of BOOGIE NIGHTS – I’ve bought every version of BOOGIE NIGHTS that exists: on laserdisc, on DVD - both versions on DVD. I’m a big BOOGIE NIGHTS fan, just wasn’t much of a MAGNOLIA fan. And you know that’ll probably change. Because that movie doesn’t bore me to tears every frame of it.
Like I think there’s wonderful stuff in it – the Tom Cruise stuff is really great, I could watch that over and over again. Not so much the "respect the cock" stuff, but when he sits down for the interview, like that stuff is really kind of powerful. It’s just what I felt when I saw it was that there was a lot of flab on that movie. And the only thing that really bugged me about it was that he’d spent 40 million dollars telling that story when, really if you’re going to tell a story that personal, I think you should be a bit more frugal because that’s 40 million dollars of somebody’s money that they ain’t seeing back and I just felt like he could have been a bit more responsible with his budget. Like would I have made CHASING AMY for 40 million dollars? Fuck no, not in a million years. I was happy I made it for 250,000 grand, because at the end of the day, I don’t know that MAGNOLIA grossed much more than CHASING AMY.
Mysterio: But are you also considering all the actors that he had involved in the film?
KS: But all those actors love him to death. Like all the actors in P.T.’s movies, they’d probably work with him for free…
Mysterio: …BUT, say if you had that 40 million dollars and you could give Ben Affleck 10 million for his performance wouldn’t you like to take that money regardless and…
KS: Share the wealth?
KS: Number one, Affleck doesn’t need me to share the wealth with him; in fact it’s vice-versa. Number two, even if somebody was like, "Here’s 40 million. Go make a real personal movie," wouldn’t do it. I’d be like, "Ya know what? I’ll make you a personal movie, but I’ll do it for a lot less than that," because I don’t want to be on the chopping block for a movie that doesn’t make it’s money back. So that’s my key beef with that movie. I also think the movie plays slow in places, some of it’s really awkward, but ya know what? It’s a very personal movie so it’s allowed to be awkward.
I absolutely believe that like one day in the future, 20 years from now, I’ll revisit that movie and not feel nearly as bitter about it as I did when I posted those comments. It was kind of a mistake on my behalf, but it’s not like I take it back or like I don’t feel the way that I did when I wrote it. But it was kind of mistake to say the things that I said in a public forum. Who knew that anyone would give a shit, but I guess it was a slow news day and somebody did. But you know I certainly wasn’t like, "I wish testicular cancer on the guy." Hell no. I mean, I’m a big fan of BOOGIE NIGHTS and look forward to seeing the next one. Sounds real interesting. Just wasn’t really on-board with MAGNOLIA for the reasons that I’ve listed.
And I ran into him! While I was getting my physical for this movie, he was getting his physical for the movie he’s doing with Adam Sandler. I was sitting in the lobby of the doctor’s office, looking down filling out paperwork and I heard somebody say, "Kevin?" and I looked up, and it was him! I said, "Hey man, how are you?" And he said, "Real good." I said, "So what’cha here for?" And he said, "I’m getting my physical." And I asked him, "How’s the new movie? Do you start soon?" And he said, "Yeah, pretty soon." And I was like, "Excellent, well good seeing you."
Not a fuckin’ unkind word exchanged between us. And you know it was a really classy move on his behalf. Had the roles been reverse and he had like attacked DOGMA, and I ran into him at the doctor’s office, I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t have been like, "Say it now motherfucker!" - you know ‘cause I’m that kind of asshole, but I thought it was very classy that he was just like, "Hey, what’s up?" I don’t know? Hopefully he understood that I don’t have or hold anything against him personally, just wasn’t a fan of the movie. And like I said, I regret fuckin’ saying that as publicly as I did just because I’m sure it caused him duress on some level and I certainly don’t want to cause duress to somebody who’s body of work I’m largely there for. So, no I got no beef with fuckin’ P.T., and P.T. has no beef with me.
"And also, did you know that on Mysterio’s ’99 Top Ten list, he ranked MAGNOLIA number 2 and DOGMA number 5 on his list of the years ten best. What the fuck’s up with that?"- Mr. Rio
KS: (Laughing) I don’t know. I’m happy to be on any fuckin’ list. I don’t care what the number is. I mean (Entertainment Weekly’s) Owen Gliberman made us number ten on his list of top ten movies for that year and I that was fine - at least we made a list. I doesn’t even matter if we were on a list - that we were saw at all is what it really comes down too. And if like "Mysterio"…
[Kev looks up at me and just can’t finish calling me "Mysterio"to my face in addressing the question, and we both break interview; just erupting in uncontrollable laughter for a moment, before collecting ourselves and continuing on.]
…liked MAGNOLIA more it’s still fuckin’ fine. Maybe it speaks to him on a level that it doesn’t speak to me. So that’s fine and you know you got other people out there that fuckin’ like DOGMA more than MAGNOLIA. It’s such a crapshoot, so fuckin’ subjective, and I could never hold anybody accountable for tha. Like what am I supposed to do? Shake you from across the desk and be like, "HOW DARE YOU!" If that movie spoke to you more than DOGMA that’s wonderful, but DOGMA apparently spoke to you as well, so it’s all good.
And finally Kevin, "What’s your ultimate wish for this film?" – AussieGirl
KS: You know I hope it does really, really well. Hope people think it’s funny. I mean, so far so good. Ultimately that’s about it. I mean is going to enlighten anybody? No, it’s not really a movie that’s made to enlighten people; it doesn’t even really try. Basically it’s just to get people laughing; a movie that hopefully you’ll go in, kick back, and really, really enjoy yourself.
See ya in theatres, August 22nd!