Kevin Smith On His Beef With The Oscars And 'Hit Somebody,' His Final Movie
Get ready for some juicy gossip and insider tales: Kevin Smith is about to do another live Q&A session. This time around, he's expanding his audience by simulcasting it in theaters across Canada as part of an event called "Live From Behind." He and longtime friend/collaborator Jason Mewes will record their podcast "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old" live from Toronto's Scotiabank Theatre, to be followed by questions from the audience in attendance and on Twitter.
Past Smith Q&As have unearthed classic stories, like what a nightmare it was when the director and Bruce Willis collaborated on "Cop Out," and what it was like for Smith to act alongside Timothy Olyphant ("Olyfantastic") in "Catch and Release."
Moviefone caught up with Smith to chat about what to expect from "Live From Behind," and our conversation naturally drifted off on random tangents -- from his beef with the Oscars to the weirdest thing anyone's ever asked him (at a Q&A, anyway.)
I love how honest you are in your Q&As. How do you get away with it? Does anyone ever tell you, "You'll never work in this town again if you don't shut up?"
Yeah, you have to be willing to let some things go. [Laughs] It's very easy to burn a bridge as long as you know you never want to cross it again. People don't like to be candid and generally don't tell the truth, and it's easy to stand out by being the guy who goes out there and says, "Hey, my dick's small and Bruce Willis hates me!" It's refreshing I guess, to some degree. You just have to be able to let go of some cats being like "Hey, man, we'd like to work with you" and then being like "Uh, we don't wanna work with you, you've got a big mouth."
At these Q&As, is there anything that you're sick of talking about?
Nah, not really. The audience kind of regulates it for you. Nobody ever says, "Hey, tell the Superman story!" If somebody does, the whole audience will shout them down, being like, "Watch the DVD!"
What's the best question anyone's ever asked you at a Q&A?
There was a guy in England who asked me if you could be half-man, half-sausage, which half would you pick to be sausage and why? Stuff like that's always fun.
Is there anything that's ever stumped you or creeped you out?
Not creeped me out, but there was this one dude who was like "OK, here's the scenario: your wife gets in a car accident, and they can save her brain if they can stick it inside an 8-year-old girl. Do you still stay married to her? And I was like "Man, Martin Scorsese never gets questions like this!" [Laughs]
The Oscars are coming up. How do you feel about them? Do you think they're a legitimate barometer of what's actually good?
[Laughs] That's so weird to say because I know that's the common consensus, but "good" is different for everybody. I wanted to run Michael Parks from "Red State" for an Oscar this year, and I was told I'd need $250,000 minimum to do that. We thought we were eligible for SAG Awards, but it turns out that you have to actually submit to the SAG Awards, even if you're a SAG member, which doesn't make sense to me. And then the Golden Globe people didn't want to give Michael Parks consideration because we didn't screen the movie for them specifically when the movie was out in theaters, but it never was out in theaters so it was kind of ridiculous. You have to jump through these ridiculous little rings to even be considered, and then it's a popularity contest around who has the most money to run.
That $250,000 figure is pretty shocking. What's that for, just campaigning?
Campaigning. In order to get nominated, man, you've got to take out ads, you have to have these weird parties where you're introducing everybody. I've been to so many of these, where people are like, "We're having a party to introduce people to this person!" Like one year they did it for Ben [Affleck] for "Gone Baby Gone," and I was like, "Why do I have to get introduced to Ben Affleck? I know him! Everybody knows him!"
But it's a 'When it's time to vote, remember us' kind of thing. It requires campaigning. But I don't know. I don't care. I'm not in it for the awards. I've got some, it's always nice being recognized. But the SAG thing really bugged me. It's like being in high school in this business, man, and winning an award is like getting elected for major office. You've got to be popular, you've got to polish the apple, keep your nose clean, don't pick fights, don't be like "Hey, this shit's too expensive!"
Like everybody else, we all love to win awards. We won an award for "Red State" at the Sitges Film Festival, which is the world's biggest genre film festival, and I wasn't even there. So I like that because I didn't have to do anything except make a movie and it won an award. Michael Parks won best actor without being there. We didn't have to lobby for it, all we did was make the movie. I think it should be like that for every awards ceremony, just make the movie. But don't get me wrong, man, if they tried to give me one of them Oscars I wouldn't pass it by! I just don't want to pay for it, man, I just want to earn it honestly!
Without trotting yourself out at weird little parties?
It's campaigning. It's literally like running for office in high school. Some people have the constitution for it. Harvey [Weinstein] is a master at it. I remember back in the day, there was some awards buzz for "Chasing Amy." It didn't get an Oscar nomination or anything like that, but there was some buzz for it, and Joey [Lauren Adams] got a Golden Globe nod. So Harvey put Joey out to do interviews, and it was all about going to old age homes for actors who hadn't worked in a while but they're still members of the Academy. It's a skill, man. There are people who are paid to run Oscar campaigns. I know people like to think that everything in life's a meritocracy, but, like everything in life there are experts behind it who know how to work the system. And believe me, it's not that the people who are up for these awards don't deserve it. Of course not! These are all wonderful performances.
What's going on with "Hit Somebody"? I kept reading that "Red State" would be your last movie...
No, no, no. "Hit Somebody" was always going to be the last one. It's a hockey flick. Hopefully we'll start shooting in June. I was gonna do it as two separate flicks, and then fairly recently, in the last two months, I realized that it's tough to get one hockey movie made, let alone two. So let me do it as one. I might do two-and-a-half hours since it's my last one.
Have you done any casting yet?
No, but I write for people in my head at this point. Since this is the last one, the intention is to go out shooting with everybody I've made movies with over the years, kind of like a greatest hits or something like that. When we did "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," we just put everyone we'd ever worked with in the movie. So same thing here, same idea. If they're free while we're shooting, boom, they're in the flick. And it's me going, "Hey, I'm not doing this anymore," so I would imagine that some cats, even if they're busy, will be like, "All right, f**k it, I'll make some time for Kevin." It'll be fun, man.
Any hints about what people can expect from this Q&A?
It's three hours, so make sure you go to the bathroom before or eat a meal. If you're not in the theater with us, Mewes is gonna be the one reading your questions on Twitter. He'll be your proxy. That'll be kind of fun. For me it's a combination of all the things I really love doing. It takes place in a movie theater, so it's kind of like a movie. Half of it's a podcast, the other half is a Q&A. It's kind of like the best of all possible worlds for me. If you could just throw in some peanut butter and pussy, Jesus -- it'd be amazing!
"Live From Behind" will take place on February 2 at Cineplex theatres across Canada, and on Twitter worldwide.