After suffering a “massive” near-fatal heart attack in February, filmmaker Kevin Smith told The Daily Beast he’s heard from people he “hadn’t heard from in years” — but admits he still hasn’t talked to old friend Ben Affleck in quite some time.
Asked about being on “not so great terms” with the Batman star in recent years, Smith said, “I wouldn’t call it not so great terms, but he hasn’t spoken to me in years. No, I didn’t hear from him after the heart attack.”
“Of the Chasing Amy kids, I heard from Jason Lee, but I didn’t hear from Ben. Which is fine. Maybe he didn’t even hear about it. I think he probably plays a more prominent role in my mythology than I play in his mythology anymore,” Smith added. “He was in some of my biggest movies, so in my world he’s still a figure. In his world, I haven’t factored in in god knows how f—king long. And he’s gone on to do tremendous, big f—king things. He’s become a massive movie star and a director in his own right. So I don’t think I pop up on his radar nearly as much he pops up on my radar.”
Smith suffered his heart attack immediately after filming his live standup show that would become Showtime special Kevin Smith: Silent But Deadly.
The special, which sees a famously talky Smith send up everything from his relationship with weed to his relationship with wife Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, has a moment where a blunt Smith tells the audience he believes talent isn’t a requisite for his decades-long career path.
“I’ll take it one step further, it doesn’t take talent at all to work in the movie business,” Smith says in the special. “You think it takes talent to stand there on a movie set and say ‘I’m Batman’? Ben Affleck does it so I know it don’t take f—king talent.”
Smith recounts to The Daily Beast how he inadvertently got the Academy Award-winning filmmaker in hot water last summer during a celebration of Chasing Amy’s 20th anniversary at Outfest, where he told audiences Affleck once said “‘A man kissing another man is the greatest acting challenge an actor can ever face.’”
According to Smith, upon finishing a scene where Affleck kisses co-star Jason Lee on the lips, Affleck said, “‘Now I’m a serious actor.’” In his eyes, Smith had "told what I thought was an adorable story about the young Ben Affleck."
“When I gave him the script, I said, ‘At one point in the movie you end up kissing Jason Lee.’ And I contextualized it as I set up the story, you’ve got to remember this is 1996. And a young Ben Affleck said, ‘Kissing another man is the hardest acting challenge an actor will ever face,’ or something like that. And it was a true story about a young f—king kid in a completely different era.”
The story resulted in headlines that made it seem like Affleck’s comments were recent, and “out of context, it’s a completely different sentiment,” Smith explained. “It got him into trouble.”
“So if you’re Ben Affleck, the only time you probably see my name is in relation to how I make your life harder in some way," Smith said. "So I imagine, even if he did hear about the heart attack he was probably like, ‘Well, I’m glad he’s alive, moving on.’ I’m too much trouble. I realize, even now as I’m saying this, I try not to talk about him and we just did for five minutes. He probably didn’t hear about the heart attack, but he’ll hear about this. ‘Why is this f—king fool still talking about me?’”
In 2014, Smith — a well-known Batman fan, who hosts a YouTube show named Fatman on Batman — told Yahoo Movies he doesn’t have the inside scoop on Affleck’s tenure as the Dark Knight because, according to Smith, Affleck’s then-wife Jennifer Garner didn’t care for him.
“We’re not f—ing tight,” Smith said at the time. “I have not been [close with him] in decades.”6comments
“That's old Ben. He's got a wife that don’t care for me at all,” Smith added with a laugh. “And plus, honestly, he probably don't care for me at all anymore [either]. He's a triple-A-list movie star and s–t like that. If he's Jimmy Carter, I'm Billy Carter, to put it in '70s terms. And I'm not even related and s–t.”
Affleck said in November he was inspired by Smith to donate all residuals he receives from movies that involved Harvey Weinstein, the ousted movie producer who famously has been at the center of multiple sexual harassment and misconduct allegations.