Nearly 30 years after releasing his first film to masses, Kevin Smith is jumping headfirst into the world of merchandising. As of this week, a Mooby's pop-up restaurant has opened in West Hollywood, featuring the likeness of the fast-food restaurant he created some 20 years ago. First appearing in Dogma, the restaurant has been a staple in View Askewinverse movies ever since, even serving as a major location in Clerks 2.
As of now, fans of Smith's works — and Mooby's, for that matter — can order actual meals from the restaurant. Run by the minds behind the Saved By The Max pop-up that honors Saved by the Bell, Mooby's is Tuesdays through Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at night.
In preparation for the launch of the pop-up, we caught up with Smith to talk about making a real Mooby's and all of his other projects currently in production. Keep scrolling to see our full chat with the filmmaker.
Changing Theater Scene
ComicBook.com: A lot of Hollywood might be shut down, but I've seen you tweeting and it looks like you've kept quite busy.
Kevin Smith: Yeah, I try to. Just because we were inside, didn't feel like ... All the stuff I do, some of it doesn't require an audience and allows me to keep doing it while all this was going on. And we were also coming off of the Reboot Roadshow Tour. So when the quarantine began in February, we just wrapped the tour on February 26th. So like in March, all of a sudden, they were like, "Start staying in your houses."
And that came at an opportune time for me. I was like, "I am more than happy to stay in my house. I've just been on the road for four months."
So I know it's been inconvenient for a lot of people and it's destroyed some stores and businesses, but the quarantine ... I've been happy to be home with my family and stuff. So far, nobody I know has gotten it, so that's good as well.
Absolutely. You bring up the Roadshow, which is kind of interesting because now we're in this environment where theaters are sort of starting to reopen, but not really.
With something like Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, do you think a roadshow could become more of a permanent fixture in a post-coronavirus world, especially if you don't have a Marvel budget, or a Warner budget, or a Universal budget?
Truly. Look, for me, corona or not, it was always going to be like a good place. Like, we had just come off the roadshow tour and we sold 65,000 tickets. I was like, "Oh, my God, I'll never need to do anything but this again."
I had full intention of like, "I'm going to finance Clerks 3 myself and then take it on the road for a year."
But that's good for maybe drive-ins right now, but post-corona, until there's a vaccine, it doesn't seem likely that we're ever going to have 1,000 or 1,500 people in a tight space for a long time. So yeah, I don't know that, that's a viable model because it still requires people to go out and leave their houses. And if they're doing it in reduced capacity — for example, if you have a 1000-seat theater and you're only allowed 25% capacity, you're probably not even going to hit the margins that cover the cost of the venue and stuff like that. So I can't see it as being an antidote to COVID. COVID will definitely affect that as well.
It will be a long time before I get to tour in front of that many people. The next show I do will probably be between 50 and 100 people max.prevnext
Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash
The interesting thing about you, not only are you in the movies, not only do you write the movies, but you're also a comic retailer. How is the Secret Stash doing on this front, especially after distancing regulations and such? I think I saw a tweet from Mike Zapcic the other day saying that you guys were reopen.
Yeah. We reopened. What was it? Yesterday or the day before he was allowed to reopen the store, according to the guidelines in Red Bank, New Jersey.
There was a moment when we were closed down, where I talked to Walt [Flanagan] about it. And I was like, "Look, you're the boots on the ground. You're the guy that sees the store every damn day."
I was like, "We're in this time, where a lot of stores are now closing. Retail chains have been broken, a lot of people living hand to mouth and stuff. So, we've been in business for 22 years. Is this the time to call it a wrap? Have we taken it as far as we can, and is this the time to stop?"
And I was almost 1,000% positive that Walter's going to be like, "Yeah, there's no point. We had a great run and stuff."
And he said, "No." He's going, "That would be a shame if you stopped. Why would you stop?"
And I was like, "Well, the store was always for you. And as goes your interest in comics so goes the store."
Walt's moved out of collecting comics. Now he's just all Marvel Masterworks books, so his relationships with comics, after all this time, wasn't what it was when we first started the Stash back in 1997. So I assumed that he would be like, "I'm fucking tired of comics. We did that TV show."
And plus he's got Tell 'Em Steve-Dave with Brian Johnson and Brian Quinn, so he's doesn't need the job. It's not like, "Hey, man, I rely on this as an income."
So I honestly felt like he'd be against us reopening, that he'd be like, "Eh, might as well let it ride."
He said, "Look, it may have started for me or because of me, but it's way bigger than me now." He's like, "People from all around the world, and they're so happy to see this place." He said, "Even the locals that come in, it's their haunt, it's their hangout."
He's going, "When I left the other day, before we shut down I never imagined that would be the last day." He's going, "I always assumed it would be like the last episode of Mary Tyler Moore, where I would shut the lights off and lock the door and stuff and know that it was over." He's going, "So I'm not saying this from a place of like needing the job, I don't. But I feel like it would be a shame to close, especially if you don't have to financially."
I was like, "Well, like three months of carrying a store and stuff like that, it's not free."
But he was like, "If in a world where we come back in a couple months...let's say we come back by June or July." He's going, "Don't you pay rent on the place at least for the year?"
I said, "Yeah. We're probably paid up until like December."
And he's like, "Well, ride it out. See how it goes. And if we come back and the retail landscape is completely changed and nobody wants to spend money on frivolous things like comic books anymore then reevaluate." He's going, "But I think it's too soon."
And I told him, I was like, "Walter, I think one of the reasons I love you is your ability to completely fucking surprise me even this far into our relationship." Because I was sure that he was going to be like, "Yeah, I'm done with this."
But he's like, "No. Keep it going."
So here we are, back in business. I mean, we were always in business, but here we are with the doors back open and stuff. Hopefully, the retail landscape recovers. If not, we'll deal with it then. But in his words, the Stash has become like a symbol. And I'm like, "All right. Well, I'm not going to fuck with a symbol. I'm symbol-minded."
Right. No kidding, man. It's an institution.
Yeah. That's the weird thing, that like in all this time ... I remember when we, on Comic Book Men, we celebrated the Stash's 20th anniversary and then I was like, "Oh, my lord. Have we been doing this for 20 years? I guess we have at this point and stuff."
Now it would be 23 this year. So it snuck up on me as well, like the fact that this brick-and-mortar store ... nevermind that it's a comic book store, nevermind that it's my comic book store, and it came from movies and stuff, from appearances in different movies, predicated on two characters that don't even exist. It's tough to find any store of any ilk that stays open for two decades.
I wish I could take credit for it as like yet another thing I've accomplished, but that one's completely Walter's. He kept that place going for as long as it's been going. And the stuff we do in our day jobs, of course, helps to some degree, but if the place is mismanaged or run poorly, there's no way we would've made it to 23 years in business.
So aside from everything else I do, having that in the back pocket, where I'm like, "Not only have you done this stuff, but you came from retail, and you left the world a retailer, and you built your career on the world of retail with a movie called Clerks. And even though you don't hit the register anymore, you have had a retail establishment for damn near a quarter of a century at this point."
It feels wonderful. So in my head now, I just want to get to 25 years, and then even if we're limping along for the last year or whatever, feels like hitting that 25 would be something kind of special.prevnext
That's great. Now you even have kind of have your own little fast food joint, Mooby's. So, how the heck did this come about?
We got Stuart, who's our guy in Canada. He's our licensing agent. So if anybody's like, "We want to put Jay and Silent Bob on a tee shirt, Stuart's the guy." So around the time of Reboot, we were like, "Ooh, we would love to do a Mooby's popup for a week, or a Mooby's food truck that would help promote the movie."
And Stuart went looking and then one day, came back while we were on tour and said, "The guys that did Saved By The Max," which was a Saved by the Bell themed restaurant, which opened up in Chicago, and then they moved to L.A., he said, "those cats want to talk to you about maybe doing a popup Mooby's."
And so, I was like, "Oh, my lord. I would love to. I'd love that." That's the conversation. I met with Derek, who started Saved By The Max, I think. I'm not sure if that's what he calls his company. I think that's what he works under. But he moved from Chicago out to L.A. He bought or rented this restaurant space that had been closed on Santa Monica Boulevard, and he flips that restaurant every few months into a themed restaurant.
So aside from By The Max, aside from the Max Café, or whatever it was called, that they did from Saved by the Bell, they've also done Good Burger, and I think even Kell [Mitchell] was involved in that promotion. And they've done Pollos Hermanos, the Breaking Bad chicken joint. And Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul came in on the last night and stuff. So he takes the restaurant, and every two months, just flips it to a different theme. And it's kind of ingenious, because it's always exciting for the audience, like, "Ooh, what's next?"
The menu changes and he works with a different chef each time. So, they were going to be doing Clueless for Clueless' 25th anniversary. But then, I guess, Clueless pulled out. They wanted to wait till a more appropriate time because the COVID quarantine was just about to happen. So they had a hole in their schedule, and Derek was like, "What about Mooby's?"
And so, perfect opportunity for me, where we wanted to do a popup, he needed something to do, so I went and met with Derek. And he's definitely a restaurateur, don't get me wrong, but he's also an artist as well.
He had a vision for the place, where he's just like, "We could put a Quick Stop in there. We could do this. We could do that."
So, the thing that kind of caught my attention the most, first, he was like, "We can sample this as a Mooby's meal delivery service, so people can order a Mooby meal." And we figured out what that was. Put some tater-tots in it and stuff like that, chocolate covered pretzels, little in-jokes to the movie. And then put it in a Happy Meal-looking box. And it went over incredibly well.
Now, since it's, of course, quarantine restrictions, they're not letting people eat in the place, but there are tables right outside, so you can eat outside on the patio, or you could take it home. And the idea is it's a reservation system, so you can't just like walk up to it. You go to moobyspopup.com, and you make a reservation for your time, and then you come pick-up your meal and you can roll around, take all the selfies you want, buy stuff and whatnot, and then either choose to eat your meal outside or take it home with you.
So it's modified from what the other restaurant experiences Derek has done before were like in terms of like you're not going to be able to sit there for an hour and stuff, but you're going to be able to come through and spend as much time as you want taking photos and whatnot, and then walking out with a meal.
So we started pre-sales. It went up last week, where he opened up the reservation line, and it's been going killer.
Our first week of profits or proceeds rather, we're sharing with or sending to a company called Cleanup South Central, which is not so much a company. It's neighborhood activism that this woman, Diamond Jones, put together, and with everything that's going on, she was like, "I'm putting together a cleanup crew. Let's go beautify South Central."
And she had a lot of people volunteer. So it went from being a one-day thing to a real thing. And so, we were like, "All right, man. We did the pop as a charity for No Us Without You, which went to take care of restaurant workers in Los Angeles. This time around, we're going to do Cleanup South Central."
Then after that, we're in business for ourselves. It shouldn't really last that long. Generally, when Derek does these the restaurants last for like a month to two months. So I would say definitely by the end of the summer, Mooby's will be gone. So while it's there people can pop in, visit it. We're also talking about meal delivery outside of the state, working with some cats. There's been a lot of requests like when we did it last time there were a bunch of people that had their friends pick up Mooby meals and FedEx them out to them and stuff. So we're working on being able to do that outside of Los Angeles. So if you're like "I want to get some Mooby's" I think we're going to be able to help you out.
That's pretty killer, man. Kevin Smith for the people.
I mean, you know, Kevin Smith wants the people's money I guess is what it comes down to. But it's smarter people than me who are working on this thing. I'm the guy that's like periodically they're like "We're going to do this." And I'm like "Oh that sounds wonderful." We only ever really do stuff that the audience kind of directs us towards. When we did the Mooby's pop up for the Mooby meals two months ago, a bunch of people were like, "Send them out." So then we had to figure out a way to do that and stuff. So we kind of lean towards whatever the audience calls out for, which has always been the way.
When we started the View Askew website back in like late 1995, I remember when I first started posting on the message board people were like "What are you selling?" I was like "Well, I guess we're selling the idea of these movies like Clerks and Mallrats and stuff." They were like, "No, aren't you selling merch? Where are your t-shirts and stuff?" It had never occurred to me to sell merchandise. I didn't enter this game going like first I'll make a black and white independent movie set in a convenience store then we'll make t-shirts about it. I didn't think we had anything merchandisable. But when the audience is like what are you selling? They were looking specifically for t-shirts. I turned to Scott Mosier and I was like, "You want to draw up a t-shirt?" So he drew this kind of Dark Knight Returns cover kind of knock off featuring Jay and Silent Bob in the lightning and stuff. We put it on like black ink on a white t-shirt. It was very punk rock. We started selling those.
I'd also had 200 Mallrats movie posters that since the movie had died, we didn't wind up giving them away promotionally or anything like that, they were just sitting in my closet. So suddenly I was like I can tag these posters if you want them? That's what grew Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash. It didn't come because I was like I want my own comic book store. It happened because the audience was like what are you selling?
Then we started selling things online. Brian Quinn, one of the Impractical Jokers, he built Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash online like the first time you could order shit from us with a self-addressed stamped envelope. Send in your check or money order. He built that. Then Bryan Johnson, a couple years later, one of the comic book men before all this shit happened, before everyone had their own TV shows and what not, Bryan Johnson turned it into online retail. He was like, "Look you can take credit cards online now. Why are we having people send checks and money orders? This is ridiculous, this isn't the 70s." So he dragged us into online retail with online commerce and stuff. That was like in the early 2000s, 2000, definitely by 2001. I want to say by the year about 1999 Brian had us doing online transactions.
We had the Stash as well. The Stash suddenly had this online arm to it. Everything we've ever done in terms of sales, like "Oh let's do this, let's do that," all stems from the audience going "Hey, what are you selling?" I didn't have enough confidence in my material to think that anyone would want to buy a Jay and Silent Bob anything. But the audience, over the years, they kind of let us know. The popup is just one more example of that. For years people have been like you should do Mooby's in real life. I'm like, "I am not a restaurateur." So luckily we found one, we found a restaurateur. Now, it's not going to be forever and stuff, but nothing is anyway. Sooner or later the Secret Stash probably will close. So to have Mooby's as a real thing in the short term makes more sense than like this fucker will be here forever. I'm not entering into the fast-food business for real and stuff.
It's been gratifying on so many different levels. Just seeing the burger wraps, like the paper they put them into with Mooby's on them and the little fry holders. Anything that they put that face on I'm like this is nuts. I remember when I first wrote Mooby's into the Dogma script years ago, whimsying like "Wouldn't it be cool if one day there was a place where you could get this kind of food?" Now were there. It took, let me see, 21 years but we're there.
You're there, man. Better late than never.
True, true, better steak than leather, yes.prevnext
You mentioned Twilight of the Mallrats. That script is done. I was just curious, you always tend to bring some cameos back. You got him back for Reboot, so is it safe to say Ben is going to come back for Mallrats II? Have you discussed it with him?
Well Shannon Hamilton is definitely in the script. He's not like a main character who pops up all the time and stuff ,but he helps set our plot in motion. It's a smaller part than Ben had in Reboot. So my gut instinct is if he was willing to do that large part, he might be probably willing to do the small part as well. You know, I guess it'll depend where we shoot it and stuff like that. But I hope so.
We had a great time on Reboot, the Chasing Amy scene on Jay and Silent Bob Reboot was just everything to me and for that movie. So hopefully fingers crossed he'll come back, but everybody is in the script. Everybody gets to come back. Whether they choose to come back or not is another thing. But I just had Ethan Suplee on the podcast and I was on his show, American Glutton. Sounds like he's coming back. Shannon [Doherty] read it, she loves it and sounds like she's coming back. Jason Lee read it and loved it, so it sounds like he's coming back. So finger crossed. Nothing official obviously, but so far I'm getting more yesses and I've yet to get a no, so that's a good thing.
Better than the alternative.
You're not kidding. The big question right now, and we can throw this out to the audience too, two titles. I love Twilight of the Mallrats, but the other day I put up an Instagram post where it was me and Ethan together and I wrote Mallrats Too, T-O-O and somebody was like, there's your title. I was like, "Oh shit, was it that obvious? Did I miss it?" So you got two options. In a world where you are looking to see a Mallrats sequel, I understand not everyone is, but if you're someone that's interested in this sort of thing would you rather that movie be called Twilight of the Mallrats or simply Mallrats Too? Let's leave that up to the audience, man.prevnext
Masters of the Universe
Leave it to the audience, the people. I'm down with that. Masters of the Universe, the good thing with animation, is that it can continue remotely. Are you guys, a couple months into quarantine, still working on that?
Yeah, we were uninterrupted by the quarantine because animation, the nature of it is such that you can do it from your house. So our two directors, even though Powerhouse Animation had to shut down their offices, they're in Austin, Texas, everyone could still work. We're up to the animatics. I just watched the fifth animatic yesterday. It's breathtaking. The animatics are incredibly bare. They're a suggestion of what the cartoon will look like. Basically they're digital storyboards, right? So you're watching like a very thin lined black and white version of what the show will eventually be. If somebody has watched it without reading the script they might not know who is who and stuff. But if you've worked on the scripts, you can watch the animatic and your mind fills in any blanks.
The animatics so far have been absolutely stellar. Episodes one, two, and three are fantastic. I just watched four and five yesterday back to back and they are so crazy emotional. Like high adventure scenes that you've never seen before with the Masters of the Universe characters but always wanted to see. It's insanely emotional. The original title to the series was End of the Universe. Then Teddy, our boss, was like, maybe we don't tip our hand so much in the title. So instead it's called Revelation. So with that old title in mind, there are stakes in our series. In episode five...four and five...one of those stakes comes into play and it is rendered by the good folks at Powerhouse and voiced by our talent so expertly that even with a very sketchy black and white animatic that I'm watching I was bawling real tears yesterday. The voice talent on this show is unparalleled. Powerhouse is absolutely realizing a far more imaginative Eternia than even I did or the writers did when we put it down on the page.
So I am ecstatic. My only negative thought about Masters of the Universe is that I have to wait months and months before everyone else gets to see the same thing I'm seeing right now. All I want to do is go online and be like "What about this scene?" But there's nobody to do that with at that point except all the people that work on the show. So that's what I do. I watch the animatics and I text Rob David, who's our boss at Mattel. Rob wrote the Masters comics for DC for the last few years. So he's not just like our suit, he's a creative as well.
Teddy, who's our boss over at Netflix, — Teddy Biaselli — this is his passion project. He said as a kid he said "I loved Batman, I loved Star Wars, but MOU was my religion, it was my number one." Our marching orders came from him. He was like, "Look, when I watched this show when I was a kid, every episode I was afraid that Skeletor was going to kill He-Man. Every episode I was dreading dark forces of Snake Mountain winning. All I ask, I grew up and I realized this was all corny. I just want you guys to make a show that makes the audience feel like I felt when I was a kid. I want to feel like there are stakes. I want to feel scared for these characters. Treat them as seriously as I treated them when I watched this when I was a kid." It was a beautiful set of marching orders.
Essentially his whole thing was like take Masters of the Universe and all the IP and make it as serious as Game of Thrones. Treat it as seriously, no winking, no nudging, just treat it like I felt it was when I was a kid, it was real. Because of that, we do have something damn special. I can talk to Teddy about it, I'll text Teddy and be like "Oh what about this?" And stuff. But I can't wait to do it with the rest of the audience, the rest of the world. I feel like He-Man fans from childhood, people for whom like Teddy it was their religion, that was the audience we were told to go after. They're doing a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 3D CG animated cartoon and that's for everybody, that's for kids primarily. They're going after the audience that Funimation went after years ago with the original He-Man and Masters of the Universe.
Our orders were you are making an animated series for people who grew up watching that, who now have children of their own, who want to watch it with their kids. It wasn't like get the widest possible audience. Teddy was like, "Get me. Get me and everybody like me." This series is specifically for them. He's going "I hope it plays for everybody else but this is about honoring the past and what's gone before." So our whole series plays like the next episode of the classic series. Everybody looks similar, of course they're all down in Powerhouse's current style, the anime style, but they're all wearing the same outfits, everyone behaving the same way. Then by the end of our first episode, that's when the world starts shifting and stuff. So it is, I'm so happy with it.
Again, it's not even like I'm a genius and I've done this. Look, all I did was come up with some things like people at Mattel came up with these characters years ago, we got a very healthy sandbox in which to play. But my writers, my fellow writers like Eric and Tim and Dia and Mark helped me flesh out the basic story that I came up with. Teddy and Rob, I've never had this experience, where the suits, the people in charge of the project, the people signing your paycheck, are as part of the creative process as the creatives are. You know? They're not just suits going "Do this" or "I approve this" or "I disapprove this." They're adding things to it. I had one scene where a random soldier has to do something, like one of somebody's henchmen. You know, instead, Teddy was like, "Use Blast Attack." I was like, "Oh, you're absolutely right." That came from a fan, a fan being able to be like, "I want to see all the figures in there." So it's been such a wonderful ride.
I'm going to hate to see it end in as much as like in terms of a creative collaborative experience it was insanely gratifying. I think we made something wonderful that the core audience, the ones that we were directed to satisfy, are not going to be dissatisfied. They're going to be ecstatic. I'm so delighted with it. But I had a lot of help. Because of that it turned into something wonderful.prevnext
Howard the Duck
Moving to Marvel, two quick questions. Howard the Duck, what the hell happened man?
Yeah, it went away. We were one of the three Hulu cartoons. One was deep into production already, of course, the MODOK one because they were like a CG version. So they were already in production. Then, what was it, Hit-Monkey was next. I think they had gotten to the animatic stage so we they were further along. We were still just in script stage. So in a world where they wanted to cut something, we were the easiest one to cut. To be fair, we were a remnant of Marvel Television, which had been now changed and altered and folded into the MCU with Kevin Feige kind of overseeing it. So we were never part of Kevin Feige's plans so when TV got folded into the MCU we went away. There was nothing hostile about it or anything, but they were like, "Look, in a world where we got to save money, these shows we've already spent enough money so they're in production so let's keep going. This show, we haven't spent anything but scripts so let's shut it down."
I feel bad. The genius behind that show was Dave Willis who came from Aqua Teen Hunger Force and is a hardcore Adult Swim guy. That was the idea that Jeff had had was like I want Howard to be like an Adult Swim cartoon. So we had the right guy for it. He assembled such a great writers room and they all turned in these wonderful scripts, wacky as fuck man, and really honored Howard the Duck. So I felt bad for those guys. I was off on Masters of the Universe. That was my main gig and Dave's main gig was covering Howard. So when the news came to me I was like, "Oh man." But I didn't spend all the time in the writers room like those cats did. They were heartbroken. I remember speaking to Dave and Dave was just like "These were good scripts man." I was like, "I feel you."
But it's no comment on the quality of the project. It was just like once Marvel TV stopped being the Marvel TV it had been we had no place to go. So it just kind of exists as one of those projects that gets started and doesn't go beyond development. But, you know, my heart goes out to Dave because he had some wonderful things. teveGerber would have loved it. It was very much right up Steve's alley.
We'll look back at it in 10 years and go, "Oh man, what could have been?"
Hopefully, fingers crossed. But I guarantee you, within the next 10 years, there will be a Howard the Duck something, it just won't be our cartoon.prevnext
No MCU Aspirations
Have you had any talks at all with Kevin Feige?
Nothing about doing things. I've spoken to him twice, he's a lovely dude. I've known him for years. Not like, we don't hang out and stuff but I met him years and years ago at the beginning of my career. He called me once after my heart attack just to be like "As a Kevin who is from New Jersey who wanted to be in movies, your story was inspirational to me. When I heard about the heart attack I just suddenly thought a world without Kevin Smith made me unhappy." It was very, very sweet. Then he called me to tell me about the Captain Marvel shout out because they were looking to find extra audio of Stan that possibly could have worked in the scene. So he had to kind of spoil it a little for me.
I love Marvel movies but I don't ever have an interest in making one. That seems very hard. As much as I love doing the CW shows, those are only nine-day shoots. Usually by day six or seven I'm always like, "Are we not done yet? I'm bored. Are you sure this isn't finished? I feel like we should be done." So I know as much as I love those Marvel movies I don't have the patience or tolerance, or most importantly the talent or the vision to pull one of those off. So never once have I been like "Ooh, can I come play in your sandbox?"
Any time I've interacted with Kevin, and I saw him at Stan's ceremony at the Chinese Theater, the year Stan passed away when he put his hands in the cement and stuff like that. Any time I see Kevin Feige it's never like what can you do for me? It's always like "I loved this thing that you did. I loved this thing. Oh my god, what can you tell me about...," I really kind of revert to fanboy mode. He's one of my favorite filmmakers on the planet because I love his output so much. I love that long-form story that he's telling. But honestly, it never occurs to me to go like "Oh can I play?" As much as I love that stuff, it doesn't call out to me.
They work way differently than I work and stuff. I mean I'm fairly independent. All the stories I've ever heard from in that world is you are making their movie. Edgar Wright didn't make it that long in Marvel World and Edgar is way more talented, visionary, and amenable than I am and stuff like that. Even he didn't wind up on Ant-Man. So I can't imagine we would be a good combo, even if I was like I do want to do this. Sooner or later I'd be like "I want to do this," and they'd be like "Well, I don't want to do that." But really, honestly, laze is the big factor. I look at those things and I'm like that is so much work, so much money. Happy to watch them and talk about them. It's nice to have something to look forward to that you're not involved with.
I've been breathing rarefied air my whole life, which is very special, where if I like something I can aggregate into it. Case in point, The CW shows. I fell in love with Flash and I was like, "Oh I want to make one of these." Then I wound up making three and doing four Supergirl. DeGrassi I used to love and I was like "I'd love to be on this show." And then wound up in it as well. Like I can get to these things if I want to, but some stuff you just want to leave there to appreciate. You don't have to be involved with it. Here's the danger, imagine I'm involved in a Marvel something. We part ways, and Edgar Wright thing happens where it's like let's agree to disagree and you go your way and we'll go our way. That's going to affect how I look at Marvel movies for the rest of my life. In fact, I'll probably stop wanting to go look at them because I'm like, "Oh I remember my bad experience."
I love those Marvel movies. They are my religion, they are like how my grandmother used to watch Young and the Restless every afternoon. She's like these are my stories. Those movies are my stories and the thing that me, as a maker, as a creator, looks forward to consuming. So I never want to fuck with that because if that's my happy place, they say don't shit where you eat. I'm sure there's an alternative version of this where I'm actually good at the job or something but I don't even want to risk it. I like to appreciate this and that's good enough. What do they call that, prom queen syndrome? I'm like I can't ask her out, she'd say no. That's how I feel about Marvel movies. I can't go near those, I'm beneath those. It's a beneficial relationship because it gives me something to fan out on still and not be competitive about or jockeying about where I'm like, "Well why didn't I get that movie?" I'm content. I didn't get that movie because I'm Kevin fucking Smith and I make Kevin Smith movies only. So enjoy that and then enjoy those movies as consumption rather than some creation that you're working on.
So I'm an Iron Fist fan. I had heard a story that Jeff Loeb approached you to show run it at one point. Is that accurate or not?
He didn't approach me to show run but asked me early on, he was like "How deep do you go with Iron Fist?" I was like "That sounds funny the way say it. It sounds dirtier than shit." Right then and there he probably knew I was not the guy. But he was like "How deep do you go?" I was like, "Not very. I'm not as well versed in it as I am Daredevil." It wasn't like because I'm thinking of putting you in charge. So he was like "We'll figure out something, we'll figure out something else." Months later he called me and said "Howard the Duck." And I'm like, "Now that makes sense."prevnext
Following you on Twitter and social the past couple years, the journey you've been is certainly inspiring. It's just so refreshing to log on and see you're so positive about everything. You need to do a TEDTalk or something.
We try. I got lucky early on. I did something creative and it really panned out for me in a big way. I've been on that ride for like 26 years. You just want everyone else, if they're remotely interested in that ride, you can't put them on the ride yourself. You can't replicate what I've done beat for beat and expect that it'll pan out the same way. But what I can do is leave a map. I can show them the steps. I can say this is what you can do. And I can remind them all the time that young kids, younger fans look at me now and they're like "Oh, he's been around forever," and stuff like that. But it's my responsibility to remind some of the audience that I was not around forever. I was one exactly like you. Somebody who watched all this stuff and was like, "Oh, I just love it so much."
Then one day I was like "Let me see if I could try it." It panned out. So my point to everybody in the audience who remotely likes my stuff is if you feel like you like this stuff, if you feel any pull toward it, gravitate toward it. I'm not saying give up your whole life and put all your eggs in this one basket. But fuck with it, if you will. Put a finger in the water. Test it out, try your own version of it. Stranger things have happened. When people go, "Oh that only happens to some people. I'm proud to be like, look, I know this shit happens because it happened to me." I know that I was not born to success. I know that none of this was written in the stars for me. The big difference was I tried something.
So if you look at any of this stuff and you're like, I'd love to try it. Look, try it because it's fun but also try it knowing that it could be a thing. Stranger things have happened. All of us who work in this business that people are like "Oh, I love your movies, I love your TV shows, I love your comic books and stuff," all of us, I can't imagine any of us were born into it. It's not like ... Well maybe some. Maybe John Romita Jr. is born into because there was a John Romita Sr. and stuff. But still, he's got to prove his own talents, which he had abundantly.
Everybody is a "fuckin nobody" at one point. Everybody is on the outside appreciating and/or looking in with a secret whimsy in the back of their head like "Wouldn't that be fun to do?" It is fun to do. I'm happy to report from the inside, for 26 years it has been fun to do. So if you think this looks like something that'd be fun for you to do, I always encourage people to do it. It's not like your position is in the audience, you stay there. No. Come up on stage kid. Everybody gets to play. It ain't like T-ball where everybody is going to bat it because we're all equal but the stage is there and it's open for you to shine your talents on, whatever they may be.
I know some people reading and listening are like, "I aint got talent." Bullshit. I ain't got talent either and I've been doing this shit for 26 years. So you can't use I don't have talent as an excuse. What you have is a perspective. You have a point of view that's uniquely yours and nobody else's and that is fucking valuable. The only reason people have been following my shit for years or looking at movies is because they're like "Oh I like his point of view, it's different." So your point of view is fucking valuable. If you have something to say, that is fucking valuable. Never underestimate yourself. Never say "I'm not as good as these people and stuff." You don't know, you just have no fucking idea. The world let's you know, the audience lets you know. Your job, as a creative, even if you're remotely curious about this stuff, is to just create man. Two paths in this life, creation and destruction. You choose creation, just keep making, be a maker.
Look at that. Goosebumps.
I mean it's true. I toured with Ralph Garman, he does Hollywood Babble-On with me. So periodically there are nights where we would do Jay and Silent Bob Get Old followed by Hollywood Babble-On. Or times I would do Q&As by myself followed by Hollywood Babylon. Whenever I get off Ralph is just like "I just don't understand you. You're telling them all that they could do it too." I'm like, "I believe that. I believe that in my heart of hearts because I know me and I know that I had no special or significant fucking talent, man. I just had a point of view. Everybody in that audience they also have a point of view. So what's the difference? Why am I here and they're not there? Some of it has to do with giving it a shot."
You've got to encourage these people to give it a shot because one day you and I are going to need some shit to watch and I want to watch some shit that's made by a bunch of people that was raised watching our shit. Then I know I'm probably going to like their shit. So it's also self-serving to some degree. I'm always thinking about the future to that time when I stop making stuff and I just go back to being a member of the audience because man I loved it. What got me here was being a member of the audience. I know one day I'll go back to it and stuff. When that happens, I just hope there are a lot of people who have watched my stuff who then went on and did their stuff, sang their song, because I know I'm going to love their song because it had a little bit to do with my song.
Do you have any idea when that moment might come when you stop filmmaking?
I don't know. I tried a few years ago after Red State. I was like, "I'm out." Then Tusk brought me back in. I don't know, I mean I guess the nice thing I've discovered is I don't need to rely on some studio or something like that. There was a time where if you're working for a studio, you're working for a network or whatever, that's a job. That means you can get fired. So I know that because of the stuff I've done, the View Askew movies and stuff, that I can always work if I wanted to, even if no studio ... Initially, no studio wanted to make Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. We're like "Fuck it, we'll go do it by ourselves. We'll raise the money and do it." That's when other people got involved. Universal was like, "Wait, this is happening? Alright, we want in."
So as long as I can continue making stuff and it feels like I can do that, so long as I can put up the money for it, I could keep going. Honestly, I'll probably go out toes up man. That's the best way, right? Making this shit and then you drop dead. Then you never sit around going, "Oh I used to make that shit, what happened?" The best way to go out would be on a movie set so hopefully I'm doing this right up until the final moments. Like Robert Altman, man. Robert Altman went out on a movie set, making a movie. I can't think of a better way for a director to go out. It's going to be hell for everyone else when you're dead because it's like, "What do we do?" But for the director it's a beautiful thing.
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