Interview: Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith lets off some steam with SciFiNow in this must read interview.

KEVIN_SMITH_faceSciFiNow recently had the pleasure of interviewing the godfather of geek Kevin Smith. Over the course of this swear-filled chat we learned a great deal about Smith’s major issues with Hollywood, his career to date and the state of his future projects.

Tell us about Shootin’ The Sh*t With Kevin Smith?

It’s a book based on the podcasts that Scott Mosier and I do together. The podcast is called SModcast, which is just us sitting around making up scenarios and placing one another in them. I mean SModcast really just seems to be about me trying to find every angle, or opportunity where Mosier would go gay. So we’d sit there and talk about things such as: “We’re on a plane and it goes down on the island from Lost. Nobody’s there but us, and there’s polar bears and a smoke cloud. How long before we start fucking?” And you know we just go off from there. So the good folks at Titan Publishing, who had the brilliant idea about taking my online blog, that was free, and charging people, said: “Hey man, what if we took SModcast, transcribed it and put it into a book?” And I just said again: “It’s free online, why would anyone buy it?” But they showed me a sample chapter and it made me laugh out loud. It does work. It’s a very good shitter reader, the kind of thing you keep next to the shitter.

You were one of the first directors to truly embrace the internet as a method in which to converse with fans?

Yeah back in 1995 somebody said to me: “Have you ever been on the internet and seen all the Clerks shrines?” And I said: “What’s the internet?” Then I got online but there was no Google at that time, so I used a pre-Google search engine and I saw my first website. I didn’t know how to explain it, I had no context so I was just like: “It’s a magazine in a TV.” The guy had done a phenomenal job, and thankfully the first website that I saw was constructed by a college student who at that time was worlds ahead of everyone else in terms of building something. I loved it, so I got in contact with the guy and said: “Can you build this website for me?” So that’s where the View Askewniverse was born.

As a director what has been your proudest moment in filmmaking?

The eight-minute standing ovation for Clerks II at Cannes was pretty awesome, and of course Clerks getting picked up was the be all and end all. But in terms of Clerks II, that was pretty damn sweet.

What are your thoughts on the Disney/Marvel merger? Is it a positive development?

I think it’s good. I don’t understand why some people online were saying things like: “This is it. Now Mickey Mouse is going to start fucking Spider-Man up the ass.” It’s really strange; DC Comics has been owned by Time Warner for the better part of 20 years or more. A comic book company, a giant even, can be corporately owned and business will still go on as usual. Disney identified a hole in its business structure, which is: boys. They don’t have boys, they’ve got girls but the boys they can’t get. No boys wants to dress up like Peter Pan or Little Bear, there is nothing for a boy to latch onto in their estimation. So they tried to develop a new channel, Disney XD, for that purpose. But then they were like: “Well, what could we do next? Maybe we can just buy something that boys like.” So they saw Marvel and they had the exact demographic that Disney does not, so Disney thought: “Alright, we’re going to buy it, plug it back into our machine and make it whole again. Now we have everybody under the Disney umbrella.” But does that mean they are going to change the content of Marvel books? Not at all. Editorially I think they are going to let them go on in the exact same way. In terms of movies, Marvel announced last year that they weren’t making anything harsher than a PG-13. That had to have been an overture to Disney as the deal was going on. I’m sure that was a carrot going: “Look, we won’t make dirty movies,” and why should they? It’s a comic book company and primarily the audience is kids. To me it makes sense, and what they paid for Marvel was pretty hefty; it was a pretty valid deal. I doubt you will see anything disrupted, I mean you will see a lot more model merchandise, a lot of Mickey Mouse as Wolverine, those kind of things. More stuff for the landfill one day.

Can you tell us about what comic projects you have in development at the moment?

Right now I’m two issues into a miniseries for DC, which is called Batman: The Widening Gyre. This follows up a three-issue miniseries I did with my friend Walt Flanagan, called Cacophony. So we’re two issues in, and there are four more before we take a break in the book, and then we do the next volume of six issues. It’s fun and is hands down my favourite comic book stuff I have written. I think it’s better than anything else I’ve ever done before too. Then there’s a Green Hornet miniseries I’m going do with Dynamite, the Dynamic Forces offshoot label, and basically I’m going to take that script for the Green Hornet movie that I was going to do in 2004 and illustrate it. So now you’ll get to see how bad that movie I was going to make would be.

There were rumours that you pitched an exciting ensemble superhero movie to Harvey Weinstein. Is this true?

Yeah. Years and years ago I was on his jet with him from Los Angeles to New Jersey – it was Harvey, myself and Mewes [Jason] and Mewes had fallen asleep. So we were just talking about comic books and whatnot and I started talking about this superhero team movie that I’d once thought about. And he was into it and he was like: “Right, write it up and we’ll do it.” I never wrote it up. Now that we’ve had the Watchmen movie what is the point? At the time I was telling him this it was 1998 and the comic book movie thing had kind of died down again. The comic book movies at that point had been like Superman and Batman, and this idea I had was something more along the lines of what everyone does now. They make comic book movies that aren’t even based on comic books; it’s more the spirit of comic books than anything else. I just never got around to writing it.

Next: The Justice League, Daredevil and other superhero adventures.