Almost twenty-five years after meeting comic book legend Stan Lee, Jason Mewes's directorial debut Madness in the Method, out later this week, is expected to feature Lee's final screen role before his death last year. The movie, which centers around a heightened version of Mewes, features Lee alongside various other show business names Mewes regularly works with, including filmmaker Kevin Smith and Mewes's Clerks and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back co-star Brian O'Halloran.
In the film, Mewes, tired of Hollywood’s perception of him, embarks on a quest to reinvent himself as a serious actor. Upon advice from best friend Kevin Smith, Mewes tracks down a highly secretive method-acting book -– with disastrous consequences. Joining the ensemble are David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man), Mickey Gooch, Jr. (How to Be Single), Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners), Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers), and Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club).
“Stan was a big, important person I was hoping would come down and do a cameo,” Mewes told ComicBook.com. “The first thing I had to do [at Comic-Con] was do an interview with Kevin on IMDb Boat. He interviewed me, Brian [O'Halloran], and Mickey Gooch, but while we were waiting, they were showing...all these different [interviews]. One of them was Kevin interviewing Stan. We were sitting there, and they showed someone else and then they cut to Kevin interviewing Stan, and it said ‘San Diego Comic-Con 2017’ or whatever, and I literally started getting teary-eyed. It’s unbelievable. It was so surreal getting to meet him back in 1995 for Mallrats, and then to see him a few years later at Comic-Con, and then the next year at Comic Con, and then we’re doing this commercial — Kevin was directing an Audi commercial — and then another Comic Con that I saw him at in Kansas City or whatever. Over the years, I did a signing with him some other place and it was real awesome. It’s still surreal that I got to meet and I got to hang out with this gentleman, and that he’s in my movie. It really does blow me away, still. I feel like every time I saw him and he would say hi, or I would hear him talk, I really would get flashbacks to Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends."
The anecdote that Mewes wanted to relate from the set of Madness in the Method, though, was not about Stan's celebrity or his creations, but about him as a person.
"He was such a nice man — his thing when he came down to do the cameo was, ‘I’ll totally come down.’ I was like ‘We’ll get you in and out in a couple of hours, we won’t take too long,’" Mewes recounted. "He was like, ‘That’s fine but I have to start soon because I cannot go later than 5:30. I have to be out of there by 5:30 because I will not miss my 6:00 dinner with my wife. They had dinner every night and it was something he would not miss.”0comments
Joan Lee, Stan's wife, was inseparable from him for years, but passed away in 2017. Shortly thereafter, it seemed to come into focus how much the two relied on each other, as disturbing stories about Lee's personal, professional, and financial life started to leak out. By the time he passed way in 2018, a handful of people from his inner circle had been accused of taking advantage of Lee in his final years. During that time, Kevin Smith stepped up to offer Lee a home where he could be safe from people who wanted to profit off of him.
Audiences can catch Madness in the Method in theaters and on demand beginning on Friday, August 2.