Man, Harry here, Mysterio is kicking some serious ass with this Kevin Smith interview. Kevin just spills and spills and spills and ... man, I'm looking at this and all I can think is thank god Mysterio is a amalgamation of various parts, because I'd hate to think about a human transcribing all of this. Wow... Great Interview.... read it all... good stuff! Click Here For The Previous Part of the Massive Interview Series that Mysterio has undertaken!!!
The KEVIN SMITH SESSIONS: PART II of IV
"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.