Kevin Smith stopped by his home town of Red Bank, New Jersey this weekend for the opening of his latest Mooby's pop-up. ComicBook.com had the chance to chat with Smith before the restaurant opened, and spoke with him about his upcoming Mallrats sequel, Jason Mewes' ten years of sobriety, the future of Mooby's, and much more! Check out the full interview below...
BEN AFFLECK & TWILIGHT OF THE MALLRATS
ComicBook.com: Do you have any plans to start filming the Mallrats sequel?
Kevin Smith: 2021 is what we're hoping for... And we've been engaged deeply with the good folks at Universal a week-and-a-half ago. It took another very positive step forward. So I mean, it feels like it's going to happen. Now the big question is, how does it happen?
Luckily, because I was home and doing the new draft of Twilight of the Mallrats while quarantine was going on, COVID is just a factor woven into the story. And I remember when I started doing that, some cats were like, "Man, this is going to be over. You can't put that in a movie." I'm like, "This is never going to be over. This is going to be around for a minute. So trust me, I think we could weave it into the pop culture."
CB: So the pandemic is going to come up?
KS: Absolutely... It can't not, and especially because we were telling a story about the death of the mall anyway. And this may be the final death knell for mass shopping. So yeah, it's in there. So the quarantine probably made the movie a little less expensive as well. Because the earlier draft was big crowd scenes. And now it's no crowd scenes... 12 people will do.
CB: Are there any Ben Affleck updates?
KS: He cameo-ed in Reboot, far more than a cameo, but we were texting ... He had mentioned Mallrats because his oldest daughter makes fun of him for Mallrats because of how he's dressed in the movie... She's like, "Where'd you get those clothes?" He's like, "I don't know." So I was like, "Well, you'll be able to tell her that you're in the next Mallrats if you want to come out and cameo." And he was like, "She likes it too much. Better be more than one scene cameo, dude. Put me in a lot." I said, "All right, done and done."prevnext
JASON MEWES' SOBRIETY & MADNESS IN THE METHOD
CB: The Jay & Silent Bob Get Old podcast started as way to keep an eye out [on Jason Mewes' sobriety], and it's been now 10 years. I'm curious if you noticed a turning point during the show's run?
KS: I mean, every episode that we still do, "How many days you've been clean and sober?" And then he announces the number, and everyone claps. But it began as the thing to keep him on the straight and narrow. And it really worked. And then it wound up becoming the thing that made him a living more than anything else. Jay bought his house off of Jay and Silent Bob Get Old.
But the kid, once Logan was born, that's what keeps him straight. He'll never f*ck up because of that kid. The kid thinks he hung the moon, like absolutely loves him. You've never seen a tighter relationship between parent and child... She's adorable. So he has stayed clean, I think, for her, more than anything else. But the podcast helped in the beginning for sure... This sounds so weird because he's f*cking 45, which means we've been doing this for 10 years, so he was 35 when we started, but it taught him how to be an adult for lack of a better description. It taught him responsibility, accountability.
He was only ever really accountable to us and nobody held him accountable to anything, because he was our friend. But once we started the podcast, suddenly strangers could be, "You clean? You still sober?" And suddenly there was a responsibility to live up to. And it taught him to be a bit of a grownup right before he had to really be a grownup, which when the kid came along. So the timing of it couldn't have been better. But yeah, at a certain point, the podcast is kind of outward evidence of his sobriety. But all you have to do is look at that kid to see is the center, the battery of his sobriety.
CB: Your scene together in Madness In The Method, I think that made me cry, it was so dramatic. I've wondered what that was like to film.
KS: I wish I could tell you that they said, "Action." And I was like, "I need a minute. I got to walk this off. I'm still mad at him." But they were like, "Cut." And I was like, "You are f*cking good, dude." And he was like, "Right? So were you? I thought you were mad."
That movie is an utter surprise to me, because when Jay has a side project, I'm tangentially, like "What's going on? Okay." I'm aware of it. But that one, particularly, he went and shot in England. So most of that is shot in England. It's crazy.
So the budget and the rebate went ... they shot England for Los Angeles. So he was away doing it, and then he came back and did some Los Angeles stuff, and that's where I got to do my scene.
So when I saw the first cut of the movie was literally at the premiere screening that they had. And he's the director of the picture, and the whole time they were, "Jay's directing." And I'm like, "I could see that." Because on Clerks II, he directed all the bathroom scenes, grabbing the piss ice, Malcolm at the f*cking urinal. That was all Jay. So I was like, "I'm sure he'll be able to pull off directing. He's got a lot of support and sh*t like that."
And the script they told me it was quasi-based on his life. I saw the movie. I was like, "Oh, my God." I was a little disappointed that Reboot was happening at the same time because that could have been its own six months of our lives, where we just toured with that movie, which he directed, which was good, and we were both in.prevnext
CB: Any updates on Green Hornet?
KS: Green Hornet I just pitched three times last week and then once before I got on the plane, and then pitch again when I get home. It looks like it's going to have a home pretty damn soon.
It looks like somebody's going to grab it, which is nice. The art dec is f*cking gorgeous. Honestly, f*ck the story and f*ck the pitch. If you just sent somebody the art dec and they just looked at these 12 pictures, you'd know whether or not you want to make that show.
It's so gorgeous, and it's kid-friendly. It's a family show. So it's for the 8-12 or family group or something like that. And it's very inspired by Into the Spider-Verse, very much so... Deeply. And in fact, we're not doing a score, we're doing needle drop in terms of soundtrack. So it's not going to be, "Oh, there's that Green Hornet score." We're going to grab music, current music, kind of give it a certain hipness. It takes a lot of cues from Into the Spider-Verse. As you look at it, you'd be, "Oh, I can see it there too." I love that movie... It's the gold standard. I mean, there's a reason they won an Oscar.prevnext
CB: You talked to us a lot about the opening in L.A. Was this basically the same process?
KS: We didn't expect this was going to be a thing. We honestly thought we'd be done in Los Angeles. And then folks here at Gianni's by way of Nick over there reached out. I think Nick put a picture on the Gianni's Instagram going, "Oh, if only we could do that here." And we were like, "That could be arranged." And then so they called and we were, "If you guys are into it, Derek's [creator of Saved by the Max] willing to come out and kind of go through everything and help set up and whatnot."
And they jumped on it, and they've been delightful. Boys that have been out here for the last few days, they came two days ahead of me. But Nick and Gianni's team already had so many of the set pieces and decor going.
It's a gift, not only to be able to do this in the hometown where the Stash is right down the street and stuff, and we get so much, so we can have a mini Stash here at the same time. This Jersey version of Mooby's is now turning this into something real, because without the Jersey version, it would only happen in WeHo, and people would've been, "All right, well. Of course. They do that sort of thing there."
Because it came out here, we got a call from three other cities. We know where we're going in August, in October, and November. So that was something that six months ago, I was not, "Oh, we're going to be in the pop-up restaurant business." But it's fun. I mean, I don't know if anyone's going to be able to retire off this sort of thing.
It's a blast. And this is the model now. Los Angeles can't be the model, in as much as we expected that to be one and done. But in terms of leaving what was the home base and trying it out on the road, this is the first model, and it's done incredibly well.
So we'll keep doing that... We do a Mooby's pop-up and then do a show in the area. Tonight, we're doing a show in the area. So I can see us continuing on. I thought it was weird when they did the WeHo one. I was like, "That's awesome." Then I thought it was weird when Goldbelly's jumped on and started sending meals all over the country. But now that it's ... I mean, I wouldn't call it a franchise, because you come in, you have a party and you leave and sh*t.
But now that it's kind of been modeled, this is something we'll keep doing until people are, "We're done with your sh*t." Like it's one more arrow to add to the quiver.
And in Los Angeles, it forced us to be creative and more charitable than we ever normally are, because we felt weird about, "Should we do this kind of thing during the pandemic?" And so. We're like, "Well, let's just cover our bets and give away the money. That way, we'll give it to charity and stuff."
We wound up giving so much money away to charity during the last six months, and it's been nice. I mean, I sound like f*cking Scrooge the morning after, but there's this wonderful feeling of, "Oh." We gave like 10 grand to the L.A Food Bank after we did the Mooby's drive-in birthday show out in Los Angeles.
Then we went and gave out the food at the Hollywood Bowl parking lot. And so, the guys came over who runs the place. They're like, "Thanks. Man. We got the check and sh*t." They were, "Just to let you know, one buck buys four meals." And I was like, "What the f*ck, seriously?" And he's like, "Yeah. So you guys bought like 40,000 meals."
So when you hear it broken down like that, suddenly you're, "All right, let's f*cking do more." Because there's always a component to it. Yeah, nobody's going to retire off of doing something like this. But at the same time, you can break a piece off of it. It's charity, but it's found money for us. We weren't intending to do this.
In this case though, Gianni's, of course, this is their business. They're lending it to us for a week and stuff, but it can't be, "Why don't you give your money to charity?" They're like, "Our charity is Gianni's. Our charity is called a business."
CB: Is there anything from Clerks II specifically that you really wanted to incorporate, but it was too hard to do?
KS: It was adorable at one point, Derek had sent designs, "Okay, so this is what the inside's going to look like. And we're going to put the Quick Stop here." "You can't put the Quick Stop there." He goes, "Why?" "Because they got the real thing down the street." It's like when Disneyland Paris put up the f*cking castle. They're like, "Europe motherf*cker. We got a lot of castles."
So there were some things that were eliminated by virtue of the fact that it's very close to the real thing. They can go see that. But the one thing that I was so delighted that they eagle-eyed is the Elias portrait on the wall. Because technically, if you want to deep dive and be this geeky about the movies... Jay and Silent Bob went to Illinois, that's where they meet Bethany [in Dogma]. So the first Mooby's we ever went to was in Illinois. It was really in Pittsburgh, but in the movie, it was in Illinois.
The second one we went to was Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. And in real life, that was out in the Valley, in Hollywood. But in the movies, it was meant to be Kansas, because they wake up in Kansas City in Twister Park. And then they go to the Mooby's.
The third Mooby's we went to was Clerks II, and that was meant to be here. So technically this is it. For all intents and purposes, this is where Dante and Randall were. That's what melted my heart when I walked in, and I saw the Elias picture on the wall. "Oh my God, we're literally in their Mooby's."prevnext
COMICBOOK.COM & CHRIS HEMSWORTH
CB: You talk to us so much at ComicBook.com. We appreciate you.
KS: I wear the t-shirt, I love them so much. Honestly, there are days in my life ... Someone hit me up recently, and they were talking about depression and how do you deal with depression. I was like, "To be honest with you, I can't claim to have ever dealt with depression, but I have been f*cking blue and sh*t." And even as good as my life could be, sometimes I'm like, "Man, this sucks being Kevin Smith." And then ComicBook.com will say, "Kevin Smith liked latest Batman thing." And I feel relevant.
I'm telling you, I'm sure some people think that I must own a piece of it or I have somebody on the payroll, but I love it to death. It makes me so happy. And I see how some people on Twitter react to it. Some guys are just, "What the f*ck did he do now? Fart? Why do we give a sh*t?" And I respect that. But as the beneficiary, I love it, man.
It chronicles my life. There's sh*t that other people don't write about. They'll write about the big stuff, but they'll write about the important stuff. I can draw you a direct line from something I said in a podcast to ComicBook.com to Chris Hemsworth being in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Isn't that crazy?
Basically, he heard about it through ... there was a piece on ComicBook.com, and then he went and listened to the podcast. And then they were using that to convince Marvel to go in a funny direction. So, "Let's just do something different." That's what Ragnarok was doing. So when I heard that, I was like, "Let's reach out to him and see if he'll be in Reboot." And he did it.
But again, it's not just, "Oh, ComicBook.com makes me feel good about myself." They are less than six degrees of Kevin Bacon to Chris Hemsworth with being in my movie. I will always be appreciative.
Photos by Derek Berryprev