verbosity - Kevin Smith Breaks the Silence
Kevin Smith, head of View
Askew Productions, recently took the time to
speak with us here at verbosity. Kevin is best known
for his writing and directing on both
Clerks and Mallrats, as well as appearing in these
features as Silent Bob--a character quickly becoming an underground
culture icon. Kevin is currently at work not only on the follow up to
Clerks and 'Rats, Chasing Amy, but is also the
screenwriter for the upcoming Superman feature from Warner Brothers.
verbosity: Clerks has a certain quality about it that truly captures the essence of working in a retail situation. Did you have experience with this sort of work and did you incoporate any personal experiences into the story?
Kevin Smith: Clerks was born out of working for three years in that fucking store (not
to mention all the years prior to that doing time in sundry other convenience
stores). Things like the Milk-Maid and the Egg-man come directly from
register-jockeying experience, as does the spirit of most of the discussions
Dante and Randal share. When you're that bored, and in the same location
day-in and day-out, you begin talking about some inane and merrit-less shit,
just to get you through the day.
v: It's been said that many of the characters in your movies are based on actual people. Are Jay and Silent Bob at all based in reality or are they just out there?
KS: Jay is definitely based on Jason Mewes. Silent Bob then became necessary
as an antithesis - someone who said nothing while Jay never stopped rattling
v: You're currently signed on to write the upcoming Superman feature.
What can we expect from this venture in the way of storyline? Will it parallel any events seen in the Death of Superman/Rise of the Supermen storylines of recent years? W
ill Jay and Silent Bob somehow manage to pop up?
KS: Would that I could get Jay and Silent Bob into Superman...but, yes - the storyline is based on the whole Death of Superman arch,
compressed for logic and time to fit into a two hour flick. The Eradicator's
in there, Doomsday, Lex - and Brainiac (although he didn't figure prominently in the Death storyline).
v: Speaking of comics, as a comic enthusiast, how do you feel about the highly commercialistic trends in comics today, where sales outweigh continuity?
KS: I'm a comics lover, and love is blind. It's hard for me to find fault
with an industry so close to my heart.
v: How was working with Stan Lee (founder of the modern Marvel Universe) on the set of Mallrats?
KS: Working with Stan was a pleasure. He's - hands down - one of the nicest guys
you'll ever meet, and very cooperative.
v: What can you tell us about the much-anticipated follow-up to Clerks and Mallrats, Chasing Amy? What can we expect in the way of characters and continuted storylines?
KS: There are ties to the previous two flicks in terms of references to fringe
characters (Rick Derris, etc.), and of course, the appearance of Jay and
Silent Bob. But this is a very different film from the previous two. It's
more of a drama with comedic edges. People expecting a laugh-fest might be
taken back by the fairly serious content.
v: You began your career as an independent film director. Since hitting it big with Clerks and Mallrats, do you feel in any way that you've "sold out?"
KS: We made Amy on a $250,000 budget, so it was very indie. I like to think of indie as not only low-to-no budget, but also as film with an edge. All the stuff I like to do is edgy, so I never consider ourselves as having l
ost touch with our roots.
v: View Askew's website has attracted quite a bit of attention over the past few months. How "into" the Internet and the WWW are you? Is it the creative medium of the future?
KS: Once I got onto the net, I was hooked. I spend a great deal of time each
day at our web-site, answering all the posts on our wwwboard. I think more
than a creative medium, it's a communications medium - I'm meeting and
conversing with people and fans that I'd never get the chance to without the
v: What does Kevin Smith eat to start his day off right?
v: If you could let the world know one thing about yourself, what would it be?
KS: That I'm very into Jesus (usually scares the shit out of people).