|INTERVIEWS / PAGE 1|
O’TOOLE - Yeah, you wouldn’t get that dedication these days from people with lives developed from there.
SMITH - No, and you know… breaking down all the equipment every morning before the store opens only to put it up again at night. It’d just become problematic. Sometimes it’s just like “Man it was so much easier when nobody cared.” You could get away with murder.
O’TOOLE - (Laughs… Kevin apparently thinks murder is funny) Wow! So that’s how you’re feeling right now. I don’t know, is it at all possible in thirty seconds of this short time we have, or however long, to sum up the last ten years? It’s quite a strange little trip from actually being…
SMITH - It’s been a weird and wonderful trip, I mean… I wish I wasn’t so cliché about it, like “Oh, it’s been great!” Like, I wish I could tell you “Oh, my God, it’s been hell on earth and if I had it to do all over again, I’d put a shotgun in my mouth.” But it really has been fantastic. Without ever breaking through that mainstream “Hey, everybody knows our movies!” ceiling, we’ve had a fantastic ride. Mind you, none of our flicks have ever made more than thirty million bucks, but they’re pretty well known for movies that haven’t been box office breakout hits - and I’ve worked steadily for the last ten years. You know, there’s never been this dry period where “Can’t get a job. Nobody wants to give me money for a movie.” And in addition to that, I’ve been able to do things that I was always a fan of and kind of carpetbagged into.
O’TOOLE - (Laughs)
SMITH - Like writing comics and popping up on Degrassi. It’s just been a really great ride.
O’TOOLE - For those people who don’t know, and most people listening to the show would, but it was Green Arrow and Daredevil for DC (and Marvel).
SMITH - Green Arrow and Daredevil. And a few other comics which I’ve yet to finish. (Laughs) But it’s been really great. I mean, we were just talking… Yesterday I was talking to my friend Malcolm [while] we were driving somewhere. He had gotten an email from his friend who was feeling kind of down in the dumps, and his friend was just like “If the sixteen year old you could get in touch with the thirty-six year old you, wouldn’t he be sadly unimpressed with his next twenty years.” And I was just like “Not me.” I really have no complaints. That’s why I expect to die young. Like, it can’t be this good and I live to be eighty. It just can’t be, so I fully expect every day to be my last. I don’t live like that, like “Ooh, live every day to the fullest”, ‘cause I spend a lot of time watching TV and laying around. But I do - every day I get up I’m like “This is probably it”. But so far, so good.
O’TOOLE - No bungee jumping off of anything…
SMITH - I don’t do that stuff, man. It’s so weird, I was just talking to somebody about that the other day. It’s like the moment Clerks got picked up, I stopped going on rollercoasters! ‘Cause I was just like “How insane would it be to win this great lottery of life and then pooch it on a broken rollercoaster?” I take no chances with my wellbeing anymore.
O’TOOLE - That’s like the George Costanza moment…you’re not terrified of getting cancer like he was and those things, but nevertheless.
SMITH - Right.
O’TOOLE - Well, everybody’s terrified of getting cancer, but to whatever extent… you’re not living your life like that. You’re somewhere in between.
SMITH - I’m somewhere in between, sir.
O’TOOLE - So, next is the Passion of the Clerks…
SMITH - But in the very immediate future, I’m going up to see you guys. Friday at the University of Hartford, is that correct?
O’TOOLE - Yup, that’s correct.
SMITH - Doin’ a Q&A thing. If anyone’s ever seen that ‘Evening with Kevin Smith’ DVD, it’s kinda that.
O’TOOLE - We actually reviewed it on this program.
SMITH - Did you?
O’TOOLE - Yeah, and we’re quite happy to pass it along. Along with… it was like a night where we threw together all your movies.
SMITH - Sweet. Yeah, it’s just on DVD. The good thing, though, because of that DVD I rarely if ever tell the same stories anymore.
O’TOOLE - That’s a good thing.
SMITH - That is really good, because for years before that DVD came out everywhere I went people were like “Tell us the Superman story!” y’know, and it just gets… you go on autopilot at a certain point ‘cause you’ve told it so many times. So once all that stuff was kinda laid on wax so to speak, I didn’t really have to redo those stories anymore. There was a fear after it came it out like “Oh my God. I’ll have nothing to say at Q&As anymore. I’ve emptied my guns.” But thankfully the audience just…it all depends on them right? And they generate, so I’m able to generate. So the questions they ask have generated all new stuff and continue to generate all new stuff without me having to double back and go over stuff I’ve gone over a bunch of times.
O’TOOLE - I wanted to ask about a couple of things, and I’m going to circumvent asking about the Green Hornet, ‘cause everybody does….I’m not going to ask about that.
SMITH - Right.
O’TOOLE - But, two things that you’re doing that are kind of different projects coming up… well, one is you’re actually acting in Richard Kelly’s next project?
SMITH - Yeah, I’m gonna do a cameo in Southland Tales.
O’TOOLE - Also, you’re executive producing this… it’s listed as a documentary…
SMITH - Reel Paradise?
O’TOOLE - Yeah.
SMITH - Yeah, Reel Paradise is a flick that Steve James, the guy who made Hoop Dreams directed, about my friend John Pierson - who wrote Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes, which is a fantastic book about ten years of indie film history, going back a bit. If you haven’t checked it out, check it out, it’s a really great book. But John just kind of chucked it all and bought a movie theater in Fiji, the most remote movie theater on the planet. In the wilds of Fiji on an island called Tabiuni. And started showing free movies to the locals, because he dug the pure reaction.
O’TOOLE - Wow.
SMITH - Like, there wasn’t … you know here, we’re inundated with marketing materials and kind of set up for months, sometimes a year ahead of time for a movie to come out. Saturation marketing. There…nothing. You could show them Episode III, and it’s not like they’ve been waiting for it for years… it’s not like they’ve seen a zillion trailers, or heard all the hype….
O’TOOLE - Or gotten sick of it already in their minds or whatever.
SMITH - Totally. No expectations. They go in clean. So he did that for a year and it was kind of… I guess enriching for him.
O’TOOLE - Have you read that book, just on a side note, by Kevin Murphy of Mystery Science Theater Three Thousand? [A Year At The Movies –ed.]
SMITH - (Sound implying ‘No.’)
O’TOOLE - He went around the world for a year and went to see a movie…. Well, he didn’t go around the world mainly. The main point was he went to see a movie a day. He had to see a movie a day, not always different movies… but a movie a day, somewhere, everywhere he was in the world for a year. And he kept a diary of it. And this happened to be 2001 and he actually traveled down to New Zealand and then off to the Cook Islands, this place called Raratonga. And they had a commercial movie theater there and they’d run second …it’s what we’d consider second-run or whatever….
SMITH - Yeah, probably by that time fourth-run, but new to them. They’re probably one of the last stops on the distribution chain.
O’TOOLE - And he was talking about [how] that’s one of his favorite places to go see a movie. It’s because it’s completely off anything like a beaten path, there’s no preconceptions.
SMITH - Right.
O’TOOLE - You just walk in and appreciate the film.
SMITH - That’s novel.
O’TOOLE - Yeah, and so we look forward to Reel Paradise coming down the pike.
SMITH - Reel Paradise, it’s debuts at Sundance this year I believe.
O’TOOLE - Well, it’s just as well that I was kind of ready to aim away from asking questions about telling stories that are already on the DVD, ‘cause it sounds like you’re ready to fill up another DVD or two with stories. Are you still touring, doing this?
SMITH - Yeah. This is the first college gig I’ve had this year. I don’t think I’ve done one since I was in London back in … May? Or June?
O’TOOLE - That’d be coinciding with the Jersey Girl opening?
SMITH - Yeah. The Jersey Girl opening. While I was there I set up a Q&A gig in England just to see how it would be, and also people on the board from England were always like “You’re always doing Q&As over there, do one here.” So I did one there and it was great. They were a really great audience. So I haven’t done Q&As since then, since early or the middle of summer. So this is the first one back, and then a few weeks after that… like less than a month after that I do another Q&A at the Roy Thompson hall up in Toronto. When I come back here to shoot the show again, the other two episodes [of Degrassi]. I did one here in April and it was great. It’s this big opera house in the middle of Toronto with 3200 seats. So that one we’re gonna shoot for inclusion in the ‘Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder’ DVD.
O’TOOLE - (Laughs)
SMITH - Which will have the international flavour [flavor spelled internationally – ed.] to it ‘cause we’re doing one in Toronto and then one in London that we’re going to tape.