Examiner Interview: Kevin Smith (Parts 4 and 5)…
Part Four does a fantastic job at covering the Bruce Willis comments and situation. It also delves into Tracy Morgan and the “Cop Out” experience, retirement after “Hit Somebody”, and the future of the “Clerks” franchise. Here’s some snips:
- “…Bruce [Willis] wanted to bring in his own guy; he’s got rewrite guys he brings with him, and Bruce was like, ‘Hey, do you know these guys the Cullens? I’m going to bring my other guy.î And I said, ‘Let’s bring the Cullens, man, because the Cullens wrote it, and they’ve been attached.’ At one point, the Cullens were going to direct the script, back when it was at Gold Circle films. So I said, they’re not going to get to direct it; they’re the writers. Let’s bring them. Let’s have them here, man. Because again, I’m a writer. I respect the f**k out of the writer. And so, it took a while, and [producer] Marc Platt was for it, and the studio was like, ‘We don’t know if we’re going to pay for the writers the whole way,î and Bruce was pushing for his guy, but ultimately, we won and we got the boys to come out. And luckily, Bruce got along swimmingly with the boys. They’re all kind of the same age; they’re not much older, but definitely older than me, and so those cats got along really, really well. So thank God the boys were there for that reason, too. Because they became a great go-between, or a buffer, with Bruce. But they were also there for any time we wanted to change something, or any time plot went this way or that way, we went to them; we turned to them immediately. And so, you know, basically I had the writers with me the whole show.”
At this point, what is the next Clerks project?
Bob Weinstein called me a couple of weeks ago to say that, you know, I guess that Miramax got sold to a new company, Ron Tutor’s company, and they’ve been talking about monetizing all the old properties. So that means, essentially, taking all the old movies and, you know, (in an announcer voice) ‘Swingers II! Clerks III!’ Stuff like that. So Bob said, ‘What do you think about doing a Clerks? What’s the future for Clerks?’ And I said, Bob, honestly, I wouldn’t do a movie. I mean, you can’t. You know, you guys don’t own Jay and Silent Bob, even, so you’re hamstrung there.
I said, what I would do if I were you guys is seriously pursue the cartoon again. People really liked the cartoon and there were only six episodes of it; we could pull that whole crew together and it’s way less money to make those cartoons now than it was back when we did it. Back then, it was like 400K an episode. Now, you can pull it off for like, under 50 grand per episode. So I said, ‘Why don’t you do that? You should go after a Clerks cartoon. He said, ‘Good to know, I’ll get back to you.’ So that’s all I’ve heard so far.
The interview concludes with Part Five where they cover New York, Affleck, comics, creative complacency, and the shutdown of the Askewniverse:
- You mentioned creative complacency earlier. What was the source?
From after Jay and Silent Bob to about Jersey Girl on. Maybe the Clerks cartoon is where it began. There’s a bit of complacency there, where I’m in, and I don’t have to work for it anymore. It’s apparent that whatever mean, I’ve already hit the bottom with Mallrats, and then I came back with Chasing Amy and I did something bold with Dogma, and here I was making Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. We were now on to making a cartoon Clerks had gone from being edgy and raw to something that could be a cartoon on network television.
So at that point, the complacency kicks in, and it’s not so much about money, ’cause trust me, I never made as much money as you might suspect, but I always made way more money than I ever imagined I would. It’s about the complacency; if you don’t have to try hard anymore, there’s no struggle. Because back in the day, you know, I was a guy who was like, ‘If I don’t make this movie, I’m gonna die!’ And now I’m like, ‘If I don’t make this movie, I’m just gonna make another movie.’ Because they’ll let me do that; because that’s what I do now for a living. I’ve proven myself enough times out that I’m now a filmmaker for a living.
How about regarding View Askew?
I mean, not anymore. The View Askewniverse has kind of wound down. The only challenge there was figuring out when to stop, because I would have kept going. I love the View Askewinverse movies, and would have continued to making interconnected movie after interconnected movie, but, you know, you can’t. At the end of the day, you’ve got to stop or else people can’t appreciate what you’ve done. And you know, we had a lot of people in the moment appreciating it and stuff, but then you feel like, ‘Well, maybe I’m just going to be spinning wheels now from here on in.’ That’s why I like the idea now of, if I ever want to tell View Askew stories, I can go to cable TV and do it, because you can curse like a fool on cable TV now.
Please, do yourself a big favor and read one of the most extensive interviews with Kevin that we’ve ever seen, as all 5 parts are now available at The Examiner website. Kudos to interviewer Justin Tedali for asking such detailed questions and of course to Kevin for being so forthcoming. Our fave piece in quite some time.