‘JAY and SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK’ – On-Set Production Report
WEEK SIX – Part II
To clear up any confusion in Part One’s report, let me clarify to you that when Ben was quoted as saying that he “hated ‘MALLRATS’,” he was, in fact, clearly joking.
February 20th through February 25th, 2001.
PART 2 INTERVIEW with BEN AFFLECK – Wednesday, Day 26
In continuing our discussion where we left off last with the upcoming ‘PEARL HARBOR’ I ask Ben:
MYSTERIO: Would you view ‘PEARL HARBOR’ as being on the same scope, in terms of production and ambition, as ‘TITANIC’?
BEN: I think its similar in the sense that you have a love story set against the kind of epic backdrop of a true life event from history that people are aware of, but some maybe don’t know much about. But it’s a totally different movie. One of the things I really like about ‘PEARL HARBOR’ is that its very much like a classic movie. A kind of movie that could have been done, four - five years after the war ended if they had the capacity to make movies then the way they do now, which they didn’t in terms of effects and that kind of thing. In tone and spirit, it’s very much a classic Hollywood movie, and that I’m really excited about.
MYSTERIO: What’s the most absurd rumor you’ve heard about yourself?
BEN: Uh, they’re quite a few.
MYSTERIO: What’s the one that rings most true?
BEN: What’s the one the rings most true? Well besides just being gay, you know, just gay as the wind, there’s so much silly stuff. I get a big kick out of it. I’m like surprised by these people who act like shocked and indignant, that I’m just kind of flattered that anybody would give enough of a shit to make up some silly ass story about me.
MYSTERIO: Had you heard the rumors a while ago that had you playing ‘BATMAN’?
BEN: Now that’s not even fun, those are just like movie rumors, I’m talking about the ones where they say that I’m like dating Princess Leia and shit, which IS a fantasy. But you know I think they always will do that anytime there’s a movie that comes up. It’s like people think up who they think might be, might do it and stuff, so they name a bunch of names. No one has ever called me or said anything about me playing ‘BATMAN’, so that’s not true.
MYSTERIO: What’s you definition of success?
BEN: Being proud of what you’ve done and being happy. And marrying your personal life or your professional life.
MYSTERIO: What do you most like and dislike about your fame?
BEN: Its presented more work opportunities for me that are really exciting. And the dislike - the consequence it has for other people who didn’t ask to have any involvement and who didn’t kind of make the agreement that I made -‘cause I can’t really bitch.
MYSTERIO: How do you challenge yourself from an artistic standpoint?
BEN: You try to do something different every time, and try to find something that challenges you. I always feel challenged in some way, its really hard. What I never realized before I started working as an actor is how truly difficult it is to make a movie work. Even a movie like, we made a joke about ‘FORCES OF NATURE’ here ya know, those movies are very hard to execute well, kind of Cary Grant, romantic comedies, sort of Doris Day things. They’re not easy to do and neither are thrillers and this is why ‘THE SIXTH SENSE’ is one of my favorite movies of all time. Some people, when it first came out dismissed it as kind of a genre movie, where as I think they’re exceedingly difficult to do and do well. So anytime you do a movie there’s an inherent, serious challenge in it just to make it work.
MYSTERIO: What’s it feel like to win an Oscar?
BEN: Surreal. The closet thing I’ve ever experienced to an out-of-body experience. It feels in some ways like, you know, a car accident – everything moves in slow motion and it feels like it’s not real. That’s what it felt like.
MYSTERIO: How’s your Blackjack game lately?
[** It’s been reported that last August, Affleck won $140,000 playing the tables at the Hard Rock casino in Vegas, and gave his winnings to the staff. In January of this year, it was reported he lost about $40,000 at the same casino. **]
BEN: (laughs) Uh, it’s an up and down game. You know the house does have an edge; you gotta keep that in mind. But I had fun. The most important thing is don’t, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose and STOP when you’re ahead, that’s the hardest thing to do. And have fun.
MYSTERIO: Now you’ve worked with Bruce Willis on ‘ARMAGEDDON’ and recently now with Sam “the man” Jackson on the film ‘CHANGING LANES’, just who’s cooler?
BEN: Whoa, now that’s a tough contest. I don’t want to get in the way because both of them could kick my ass, so I have to stand out of the way. But they’re both pretty cool guys. On this film we’re doing, we call him “Slam Jackson”, because it just seems like a cool nickname, but I don’t call him that to his face ‘cause I’m afraid he’ll kick my ass.
MYSTERIO: How easy it for you to recite Kevin’s dialog?
BEN: I forgot how difficult it was. I reminds of how they used to train actors just in breathing, ‘cause like you’d go out and do these long soliloquies from ‘Oedipus’ or something.
MYSTERIO: They still do.
BEN: (laughs) Yeah, they still do! I simply don’t do that training anymore, but I obviously need to, to do just like these thick ass, long speeches and it becomes more or less (laughing)… its like halfway through you’re just about surviving. So when he doesn’t really do coverage you know you’re gonna ruin the whole take if you stop. I just try to remember all the words and get to the end.
MYSTERIO: What are your feelings about Holden’s final proposition to Alyssa and Banky and how satisfied are you with how ‘AMY’ ended?
BEN: I was definitely very satisfied with how ‘AMY’ ended. I really liked the kind of ambiguity of it and the resignation he had, to just the fact that like, the series of mistakes that he made. I had a hard time trying to wrap my mind around the leap of logic that he took to try to propose the 3-way like that. But I do understand that people, like get faced with that. You know you get that ‘rock in a hard place thing’ and a lot of people have it with they’re best friends and they’re girlfriends. I think not outside - it’s on the very peripheral of things that are conceivable, but it’s not outside of that and so I tried to make it work as hard as I can. I don’t think I ever quite completely understood exactly where he’s coming from and in a sense probably failed in that regard. About the ending, I have no qualms. I really like the ending. Although I always thought that they would probably end up back together in some regard, but Kev’s kept that sort of secret.
MYSTERIO: What are your feelings about ‘JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK’ being the final film in the Jersey chronicles, and how do you feel the character of Holden McNeil has progressed from the ending of ‘AMY’ to where he’s at now?
BEN: (laughs) If you think this is the last time you’re gonna see Jay and Silent Bob in a Kevin Smith movie, you’re high on crack. Obviously, the dude has a total obsession, fixation with himself and these two characters and he’s been promising this’ll be the last time they’d show up in… forever. He’s endless writing ‘JAY AND SILENT BOB’ comic book. He loves the Jay and Silent Bob racket. It’s been good to him. And with Holden, he’s wised up a little bit he’s having more fun. He kind of fucks with Jay and Silent Bob, which is nice. He’s a little more mature; he’s made a little more money and I think he’s stop taking everything quite so much to heart, in the sense that he’s not as easily kind of wounded and heavy hearted as he was.
MYSTERIO: Now after this you’re ready to start filming ‘THE SUM OF ALL FEARS’…
BEN: Yeah, in fact we just shot the first two days.
MYSTERIO: Cool. What do you plan to bring to the character of Jack Ryan that’s different from what we’ve seen with either Baldwin or Ford?
BEN: Well you know, I really admire and respect both of those guys, and I really liked the movies they did. So I’m certainly not going out on the approach of like, “ah, they did a shitty job” because you know if those guys wanted to do it, I’d just be buying a ticket. But it’s different because I’m younger. I’ve went down and spent some time at the CIA, which is incredible, and did a lot of research. One of the things I’m gonna try and make him is just a much more innocent, and focus a little more on the details. When I first took it on, I thought “god, it’s gonna be so hard for me to say the line, like I’m in the CIA,” because I just think, you know that its kind of like saying “I’m Superman.” I mean if they’re real, it’s got all this weight. Then I went to the CIA, and it’s just kind of like a college grad school gang and immediately I felt comfortable and I felt totally like “I can totally do this. There’s nobody here as cool as Harrison Ford or Alec Baldwin.” So, that was a relief to me and other than that I think it’s a good story and we’ve got a really good director (Phil Alden Robinson) and a good script and I just hope that it works somewhere near as well as those movies did because they we’re terrific.
MYSTERIO: Have you had a chance to discuss the role with either Tom Clancy or Harrison Ford?
BEN: I’ve spent a lot of time talking with Clancy, e-mailing him back and forth, and then I went down to his house. I’m a big believer in respecting the original writer of something and I think the reason why Clancy’s books sell so popularly is because people like him. They like what he writes. One of the reasons I think is because of his detail and level. You feel like he really knows what he’s talking about so I wanted to spend as much time as I could with him, and Phil’s spent a lot of time talking to him and getting notes from him. So he’s been involved in this. I hope he’ll continue to be involved in more of a capacity, in as much as he wants. And I called Harrison Ford just kind of out of respect, and just because I wanted to get his blessing, and he was really nice.
MYSTERIO: Lastly, how excited are you to see ‘JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK’ with an audience when it opens in theatres everywhere on August 10th?
BEN: Very excited. It’s always fun, these movies, particularly Kevin’s movies, when like the first weekend is when all the die-hard people that really love his movies go and get all the jokes. And it’s a stand-alone movie, but the other thing about this movie is that it’s just a comedy; it’s just supposed to be fun. You know what I mean? It will succeed or fail based on whether or not you laugh. And that’s kind of freeing. It doesn’t have to be profound, it doesn’t have to be anything but just funny and if it’s not funny it’ll suck. But I think that will be the audience that’ll be most inclined to laugh, so that’ll be the audience I go see it with. So yeah, I’m pretty fired up, it should be fun.
[** Just then, Ben gets called back on set. **]
MYSTERIO: Thanks for taking the time out to answer some fan questions, including a few of my own.
BEN: No problem. I look forward to downloading and reading it sometime.
And off he and Matt went to continue filming, as I’m left thinking, “wow, very cool interview.” And then reality hits. “Oh fuck, now I’ve got to transcribe all of this?!?!?”
Hope you all enjoyed it half as much as I did conducting it. Ben gave a great, engaging interview, and proved to me that he’s the real deal (like with most of the VA bunch) and if he hadn’t been called back, I’m sure we’d have talked quite a bit more. But alas, there’s a movie to make here, so back to the weeks end coverage.
“TO THE BLUNTCAVE!” – Thursday, Day 27
Before heading off to the secret location of ‘The Bluntcave’ (pssst! Stage 19), the crew grabs a few quick insert shots on Stage 14.
Now, as I reach the huge “elephant door” to Stage 19, it slowly begins to open, revealing to me for the very first time, The Bluntcave!
Simply put in describing this sweet looking set, think of what the Batcave was to Batman, the Bluntcave is to Kevin.
It’s looks like it’s from a comic book brought to life, even down to the colors from the lightening, which compliment the set, accentuating it in all the right places.
There’s going to be some serious stuff happening on this set, including some thrilling action sequences, which Kev is on set with the stunt players to rehearse blocking some scenes to be shot in the next few days.
“STILL AT THE BLUNTCAVE!” – Friday, Day 28
This is Mark Hamill’s first day in full make-up and costume on set in The Bluntcave.
Mark is even doing a few stunts with the team as well, as Kev directs from behind the “video village”.
As Mark takes a break, he takes the time to chat with several of the cast and crewmembers. I over hear him chatting about, among other things, ‘Star Wars’ which even this fanboy cannot resist eavesdropping on. Too cool, but wait, it gets even cooler.
“HANGING OUT AT THE BLUNTCAVE” – Saturday, Day 29
This is the first 6 day shoot, and I’m able to be on set in the early am, because I’m able to san the Monday to Friday day job I have.
As I arrive, I see several champagne bottle lined up on a craft table.
Kev approaches me and we chat for a bit, and then I inquire about all the champagne bottles.
“It’s to celebrate our 200th roll of film shot.” He tells me. As the roll is finished and changed, the corks are soon popped, and cups of bubbly are passed about. Since Kev doesn’t drink alcohol, he opts for a bowl of ‘Lucky Charms’ instead. A fitting cereal of choice me thinks.
Today mainly consists of filming several choreographed action sequences, which is tiring and slow paced due to the several camera set ups and lighting which takes place, and really only proves interesting once the scenes are all cut together.
Speaking of cutting, Scott stayed up all night last night editing some of the fight sequences shot with Mark and the stunt team on Friday. It’s a rough assembly, but Scott has even thrown in a temp track – “Duel of the Fates” from Episode I. The cast and crew gather round the monitors and watch about a minute of two of the cut footage. It really sets the mood among the cast and crew as all love what they see, even in rough form, and seem excited at the payoff their work will yield.
I talk a little more with Mark Hamill at the end of the day and ask him about doing a little interview if he wouldn’t mind. Mark is more than happy to do it, but seems concerned in not discussing spoilers, as he’s signed a confidentiality clause in his contract.
I assure him the interview will be spoiler-free, and he agrees.
After a long full day of shooting, Kev invites Mark to check out some of his dailies from the day before.
I ride back to base camp with Mark, and then later to dailies with him.
After dailies, everyone soon leaves, and all that’s left in the room is Kev, Mark… and me!
I stay behind, and am witness to the coolest thing any fanboy who grew up loving the ‘Star Wars’ films would cherish – spending about an hour and a half, treated to Mark Hamill relishing about his experiences, both personal and trivial that no one’s ears outside this room right now would be privy too. During this Kev and I just look at one another, fan-to-fan, nod and smile wide as to how cool a moment this is.
Later as Mark’s van waits to take him home, I thank Kev for allowing me to share in the moment. “Would you ever, in a million years, guess you’d be in a room, talking with Luke Skywalker himself, on a rainy Saturday night in LA all these years later?” Kev smiles and agrees with me wholeheartedly.
More Bluntcave, birthdays, catfights, and hanging out with Banky Edwards himself, Jason Lee!
And for all those who thought I’d forgotten about Mewes’s quote, fear not as here it is!
“Cup the balls and stroke the cock.” - Jay