EXCLUSIVE: Over the weekend EPIX premiered a brand new Kevin Smith special, “Jay and Silent Bob Go Down Under.” Chronicling a small smattering of the Australian leg of their “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” live show, the engaging one hour program features Smith and his “Clerks” costar Jason Mewes doing what they do best, which talking about nearly every topic under the sun. Last week, we got a chance to catch up with Kevin Smith ourselves, and he generously answered our wide range of questions.
So we’ve split the conversation up into a couple of more easily digestable pieces and today, you can read about his plans to turn his previously planned two film hockey project “Hit Somebody” into a single movie, and why he liked “The Avengers” more than “Dark Knight Rises.” We’ll have more tomorrow. “Jay And Silent Bob Go Down Under” is now playing on EPIX.
As fans of the filmmaker know, Smith has been talking up “Hit Somebody” for a while. While making the press rounds for his horror flick “Red State,” he said would be coming nextm, and plans called for an R-rated epic, a story that would span three decades over two films, tenatively titled “Hit Somebody: Home” and “Hit Somebody: Away.” But in today’s climate, getting one non-tentpole movie financed is hard enough, not to mention a sports drama covering two pictures. And in order to help get it off the ground, Smith is scaling his ambitions.
“The problem with ‘Hit Somebody’ is that I wanted to do it as two movies. It’s tough to get one hockey movie made, let alone two. So I’ve switched back to one movie. I had one-and-a-half scripts that I had to get down to one. I want to get it down to a 150-page script and I know that’s longer than the average script length but I figure I give myself a two-and-a-half hour length on paper knowing that I’m really ruthless in editorial and I can get it down to 2, 2:05, because this is a movie that takes place over 30 years,” he explained. “So at the end of the day if I can get the script down to 150 pages then I can pull the trigger and we’re off and running. And right now I’m at page 240. So I’ve still got to page 90 pages out. It’s a lot of material that I’m just paring down,” he explained.
But, as always, Smith’s very busy schedule and variety of projects means that “Hit Somebody” could still be a while off just yet. “I’ve been occupying myself with ‘Spoilers‘ [his film criticism show] or the ‘Jay And Silent Bob’ tour from which the EPIX special comes, I wrote the book, and there’s other TV stuff coming down the pike that’s kind of exciting. I’ve been keeping myself busy,” Smith said. “People are like ‘What’s with that last movie?’ And it’s like, well, it is my last movie so I’m going to do it right and do it on my own timetable. I feel no need to rush into production. I still want to do it for as little money as possible. You’re talking about a movie that takes place between 1950 and 1980 – period piece. It’s going to be expensive, in a way that none of my other conversation pieces have been expensive, because those were pretty much set in the present. You’re talking about not only dressing motherfuckers through 30 years of period, but all the equipment, cars, so it’s going to cost a little bit of money. I’m going to try and keep it low. When I say a little bit of money I’m talking about $20 – 30 million.”
That kind of money is certainly peanuts when it comes to the hundreds of millions being spent on superhero movies and blockbusters at the studio level. But like any fan, as long as a movie delivers, Smith doesn’t care if it costs $5 bucks or $200 million. So when we asked the director what some of his favorite movies were in 2012, it was a hardly a surprise to see some very big spectacles on his list.
“The ones that come to mind are ‘Cloud Atlas.’ I thought, Wow, this is a fucking movie, man. If I had gone back in time and talked to the pretentious young Kevin Smith and talked to him about whether this is a film or a movie I’m sure he could have done twenty minutes on it. I don’t know what it is but I think it’s wonderful cinema. It’s a real triumph. I wish it had made a lot more money but at the end of the day that doesn’t really matter,” Smith gushed. “They produced a compelling piece of art that will live for ages. The kind of three-week box office race that becomes the sexy in industry doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a really wonderful flick. Now you look at Ben [Affleck]‘s flick [‘Argo’] and that’s really wonderful and that’s doing well too. Both movies are really strong, both I enjoyed thoroughly. They would be at the top of my list.”
Of course, the massive comic fan in Smith couldn’t help but get into the fray with “The Avengers” vs. “The Dark Knight Rises” debate, and for him, Joss Whedon‘s movie came out on top. ” ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ I have a weird relationship with – it’s like a chemical romance with a toxic ex-girlfriend where I love her to death but there are some things about her that are just fucking wrong. ‘The Avengers’ I loved so more than I thought I would. I’ve written for Marvel but I was never an Avengers guy. I’m more DC,” Smith elaborated. “But I’ve become obsessed with Favreau’s ‘Iron Man‘ movie because I think it’s very nearly a perfect film. So when I saw Favreau wasn’t doing it I thought, Well what do I care? The first time I saw it was in Australia and it opened a week before it opened here and we were traveling for the ‘Jay and Silent Bob Go Down Under’ tour and we had just done a show and we went to a midnight show. And the first time I saw it I could not get past the Loki poke-y stick in the beginning. Because Loki sticks something in somebody’s chest and it’s like ‘WAAMP, you’re a bad guy.’ What the fuck? Is this the level of discourse we’re going to have? But you can’t deny that flick.”
“By the middle of it I was like, ‘The Hulk is amazing.’ The next time I watched it I was totally into it. You can’t watch that movie and be like ‘I object to the Loki poke-y stick’ when there’s a motherfucker who turns into a green giant. In my mind Marvel science is okay because we were raised on it. As someone who looks for realism in comics, you can say, ‘Well, you could get belted by gamma rays and turn into someone else.’ But you can’t say, ‘A stick from outer space that makes you a bad guy is bullshit!’ So I got past that and embraced the whole thing,” Smith continued. “I’ve now watched ‘Avengers’ about eight times, twice on a plane back-to-back. It just keeps giving. That’s 10,000 across the board! Whedon in the driver’s seat, 70-80 years of Marvel, and the charm fucking factor of Robert Downey Jr. It runs like a golden machine. I never imagined that I would love ‘Avengers’ more than ‘Dark Knight Rises.’ Not only would I have never imagined that ‘Dark Knight’ would underperform (based on other mitigating factors of course). But I would have never thought ‘Avengers’ would make more than ‘Dark Knight Rises.’ But I never would have thought I would have liked ‘Avengers’ more than ‘Dark Knight Rises’ but I really did like ‘Avengers’ more. And I’ve watched them an equal amount of times. ‘Avengers,’ I’m not going to say it’s the better movie, but it puts a smile on your face. It’s magical cinema.”