‘JAY and SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK’ – On-Set Production Report
WEEK SIX – Part I
For the record, Harry’s previous ranting and raving in last weeks column about the party we’re obviously all concocted from his own fan boy induced delusions, which for the most part are all lies I tell ya, all lies.
February 20th through February 25th, 2001.
"WOULD YOU LOOK AT THESE MOROSE MOTHERFUCKERS HERE." –
Tuesday, Day 25
Today, filming takes place inside a rented loft somewhere in LA, which is a rare find. Kudos to the production team for finding this one as they did. It’s actually used for building furniture I’m told, but today the production is using it as Holden McNeil’s loft.
Many cool items adorn the walls, such as original ‘Bluntman & Cronic’ comic artwork, as well as Scott Mosier’s original "$100 bill" sketch used in ‘CHASING AMY’. From the looks of the place, Holden’s been keeping quite busy for himself since we last saw him in ‘AMY’.
As it’s Ben’s first day, and he has only two scheduled days to shoot all his stuff for the film, the shooting schedule for today is very tight. Six pages of dialog between Holden, Jay and Silent Bob must be shot and wrapped by days end. You guys know how much six pages of Kev’s dialog can be, so you pretty much have an idea of the schedule crunch that the cast and crew is in for today.
Inside the loft is cramped and crowded with crew and equipment, and the safest place to keep from the camera’s view, and out of the way, is upstairs.
Kev catches me between set ups and asks if I’ve met Ben yet.
"No" I say, and he motions me with a little wave, to follow him outside to the craft service table where I see Ben standing, peeling the shell from a hardboiled egg.
Kev kindly introduces me and informs Ben I’m from AICN, and soon Ben and I are left standing, conversing about. He asks me such questions as to how long I’ve written for AICN, how I came to know Harry and such. He’s clearly familiar with the site.
First impression of Ben, the man is tall. Second, he’s extremely friendly and charismatic, and when you speak to him, his attention is focused directly on you and what you have to say.
As we talk, I manage to slip out the obligatory "interview" request, and ask if he has some free time today, that we might sit down for a few minutes to talk and answer some of your questions.
"Sure." he says, and that’s it. More than happy to do it, without the slightest bit of hesitation.
Later Kev takes the time out (yet again) to introduce me to Jim from ‘WIZARD’ magazine. He’s down here for a few days to check things out and do a cameo later in the week.
During the course of the day, as time gets tighter and tighter, I realize that any chance of doing an interview with Ben is pretty much shot. Ben finds me later and apologizes as he assures me that we’ll do it tomorrow, when he has fewer lines of dialog. He indicates that he really wants to do it and take the time to answer some of your questions.
Running in at a lean, mean 13 hours, the day finally comes to an end. The crew wraps a productive and successful day with Ben, and as always, it’s back to the lot for dailies.
"JUST SOME ‘GOOD WILL’ BOYS" – Wednesday, Day 26
I arrive early in the morning at the lot, on Stage 14 to find shuttle buses full of extras being unloaded out onto set. Only a small portion of the stage is being used today for a scene featuring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. For some reason, the set seems more crowded than usual today, even with the 25 or so extras.
As the extras are gathered, PA’s search through to find a few "feature extras", which pretty much assures them some up close screen time, rather that just an out of focus blur in the background.
With all that’s going on, it’s a bit of a madhouse to get everyone situated, and set up the numerous shots that need to be completed today. Add to the fact that Matt just literally flew in from filming ‘OCEAN’S ELEVEN’ to do his cameo. Plus, he’s only available to shoot until 7pm tonight before he has to hop a plane and jet back to the ‘OCEAN’S ELEVEN’ set for shooting the next day.
There are also 3 _ pages scheduled to be shot today, involving some effects as well.
I later notice "SPIKE, MIKE, SLACKERS AND DYKES" author and indie film guru, John Pierson and his family stop by on set for a visit. If you have any interest in independent filmmaking, and the business, I cannot strongly enough recommend this book. It’s essential reading, and entertaining at the same time as Kevin collaborates with Pierson in the discussion of indie cinema, adding some of his own trial and tribulations in making films outside the studio system.
10:44 am - Kev yells cut, and calls Ben and Matt back over to the playback monitors and instructs them on what he’s like to see on the next take.
It’s obvious to see that Ben and Matt are having a great time working together again, and after a few more tries they finally get the take Kev wants and they move on to another setup.
Mark Hamill pops up on stage to show Kevin some makeup tests for his role shooting this Friday. Matt and Ben come over and stand beside Kev, taking a moment before realizing that it’s Mark Hamill underneath the makeup. They then show a little "fanboy" admiration, shaking his hand and expressing their pleasure in meeting him.
I later have the opportunity to show a little "fanboy" appreciation of my own as I chat a bit with Mark. We talk a little about his role as the Joker in the ‘Batman’ animated series he did alongside Paul Dini. He tells me he thoroughly enjoyed playing that character so much that he quickly goes into reciting one of his Joker monologues, complete with Joker voice.
I ask him how he feels to be a part of ‘JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK’, to which he says, "Yeah its great. Now in the eyes of my kids, I look really cool again." His kids are obvious fans.
Brian Lynch, Jeff Anderson, Ali Larter and Dave Mandel all stop by on set and hang out briefly. I converse briefly with Jeff about his film project an he shows me the script he’s written that he’s currently in pre-production on, to direct himself.
Later in the evening, as the camera and lights are being set up for the next shot, Ben finds me and asks, "You ready to do this thing?"
"Yeah, let’s do it." I say.
Just as Ben and I are set to do the interview, Matt comes up and stands beside me. Matt and I exchange a few words until Ben jokingly gives Matt a warning to "watch out what you say around this guy -- he’s from Ain’t-It-Cool!" We laugh and I soon excuse myself to go with Ben to do the interview before he’s called back on set.
Ben and I find some open chairs by the monitors and sit. He politely offers to hold my tape recorder for me as I flip though some of your questions to ask him.
MYSTERIO: Ok Ben, first question.
"Ryan Free" asks: "Ben, what’s your favorite View Askew movie?"
BEN AFFLECK: Probably, um, well I mean ‘CLERKS’ in a way just cause I saw that without kind of being in it. You know when you do something you always have a degree of exposure to it where you never really quite get to enjoy it. But the best work experience I had was with ‘CHASING AMY’, but I really, really like ‘DOGMA’ as well. I just hate ‘MALLRATS’.
"Adam Daniel" asks: "What’s your favorite memory on set with Kevin?"
BEN: One of the cool things is that I became friends with Kevin on ‘MALLRATS’ and we hung out and stuff, but the best kind of memories, most that I have, are just from the fact that when we did ‘CHASING AMY’ I stayed at his house, kind of on his couch, and so he used to like come home, watch dailies, and then I would school him in Sega hockey every night. Playing Sega hockey with Kevin Smith, I thought it was like playing basketball with Michael Jordan, you know what I mean? Here’s the guy that personally popularized the sport, so that had to be the high point. I think I still owe him $1200 bucks or something from that.
"Jason Revington" asks: "What aspects of Kevin’s writing and filmmaking is it that keeps you coming back to do his films when you can make much more money doing other films?"
BEN: Well if I just did stuff based on just money alone, I would’ve done a lot of it and never would have done a lot of the movies I did. And you know some of them turn out to be good, and some didn’t work as well. I mean for one thing, Kevin’s writing is very distinct and I think we share a similar sense of humor, so I just find his stuff really, really funny and we also have a similar kind of sensibility. Also, nobody would give you like giant hunks of dialog to work with like Kevin does. You’ll find like one, two or three sentences are virtually a monologue in movies today. As an actor, maybe it’s selfish, but you want to be able to work more and I get that opportunity with Kevin, and whether it works of falls flat, its always interesting and fun for me to work on personally.
"Jon Moody" asks: "Do you think Kevin’s movies have made you more famous than say playing roles in movies like ‘Armageddon’?
BEN: No definitely not. The sector of people that know Kevin Smith or who are big Kevin Smith fans, often times seems like this huge presence on the Internet. When I go out on the world it’s very rare that people ever say to me or talk about Kevin’s movies. They tend to be in a certain demographic, like younger. The people that do know Kevin’s movies really know, and are aware of it and care about it and are more die-hard fans, but movies like ‘ARMAGEDDON’ have a much broader scope because they’re not as specific and they don’t have the same pointed, specific point of view. There’s a lot of people that just don’t identify with Kevin’s worldview.
"Sam Haddad" asks: "With your experiences in bigger movies and with bigger stars, how would you say your experiences with Kevin and the crew compare to the more larger budgeted studio films that you’ve worked on? Are these films any more or less fun or satisfying to do?"
BEN: Well he makes a very good point in the sense that from the very first time when I went and did ‘MALLRATS’ I was shocked. I was working with a guy for the first time who’s my age and it was easily the most kind of fun, good-natured, happy go lucky, just pleasant set to be on and initially then when the movie kind of didn’t pan out, I thought, "Well, there ya go. You can’t have fun or the movie’s gonna be a disaster." But it was the same when I did ‘CHASING AMY’, which did very well and ‘DOGMA’ and now this. It just makes it fun to come to work and I always think I do better work when I feel comfortable. Some people want to create drama, anxiety and tension and problems that’s like an indicator that they are, in fact working. Where as for me, I think I’m better the more relaxed and at ease I am and that’s definitely a hallmark of Kevin Smith.
"Belinda Hillard asks: Ben, any plans to write some more scripts now that you’ve wrapped ‘PEARL HARBOR’"?
BEN: (laughs) Yeah, actually Matt and I were just talking about that. I think the strike, in a funny way, whether it happens or not and even if it doesn’t happen, I think there will be a 3 month kind of de facto work stoppage because studios have more product than they need and no one will have prepped anything. So either way, it’s gonna be a kind of a summer vacation and I probably will take the rest of the year off. We’re making plans to… in fact we were just talking about that in the trailer today, we’re talking about what to do, what to write, and what kind of stuff we wanted to get into. So yeah, definitely.
End of Part 1 interview with Ben Affleck.
In Part 2, Ben let’s loose about his feelings on the pros and cons of fame and fortune, his thoughts on his last turn at possibly playing Holden McNeil, landing the role as the new Jack Ryan, and playing the odds at Blackjack.
I’ll also try and finish up my weeks end coverage as well.
Part II will hopefully find its way on-line later in the week. So keep an eye out for it.