Once again given a Hall H panel on the slightest of pretenses, Kevin Smith returns in his role as the Pope of Comic-Con, pontificating on the issues most important to Geek Nation and answering every oddball question hurled at him by the peanut gallery.
And, uh, I guess he’ll talk about Jay and Silent Bob’s Groovy Cartoon Movie and his AMC reality series Comic Book Men. But just about everyone here would rather hear his opinions on other people’s stuff and humorously vulgar anecdotes from his personal life. It’s a Comic-Con tradition!
Join us for a snarkalicious live blog about Kevin Smith’s chat, and keep refreshing the page to see all the updates!
We were late getting loaded into Hall H, but Kevin has just started taking questions!
WARNING: FOUL LANGUAGE AND ADULT TOPICS AHEAD
A girl asks how many jerseys Kevin owns, he instead asks how old she is (18) and congratulates her for not ending up sprayed over someone’s face or chest so she could grow up and see his movies. We’re off to a good start.
She also asked for a jersey, but Kevin is reluctant. They’re his “magic shield.” Plus he rolls up black socks and stuffs them in his sleeves to psyche himself up?
Q: What would you like to see in the Superman/Batman movie?
A: Bruce Wayne fucking Lois Lane – that would start a fight! He thinks it’s smart for DC to start building its universe around Superman. Everyone will want to see Superman fight/work with Batman. And they can gradually introduce the Justice League, giving people more reasons to buy tickets.
He was almost weeping when he heard the World’s Finest news…and heard the X-Men news was great.
Next question-asker seems to have a previous relationship with Kevin. Asks if he liked Man of Steel. He did. Also he called Richard Donner “Dick Donner.”
Guy wearing a Mooby’s shirt drags his shy girlfriend to the mic with him. I’m afraid for what’s coming…
Q: How did you know your wife was the one?
A: She fucked me, there wasn’t a mountain she had to climb. And there’s people I still love but I don’t fuck them. But she has learned to climb my body like it was Everest. They weren’t into the same things pop culture-wise, but they had a personal bond. He introduced her to comics (before it was mainstream like today) and caught her reading it in the tub. Apparently naming his daughter “Harley Quinn” was his wife’s idea.
Kevin’s self-help message: don’t be scared of relationships and commitment, just make sure you commit to the right person in the end. You’ll always learn new things about people you think you know very well.
Mooby’s is popping the question to his GF. Very nice…but I feel like this happens every year. Kinda the geek equivalent of proposing at the ballpark. She says “yes,” BTW.
Kevin says the next guy better propose to someone, so he proposes to Kevin. AND he is a dead ringer for Brian O’Halloran (Dante from Clerks). Kevin says he’s the “Muppet Babies” version.
Q: Was there blowback from the Westboro Baptist Church after Red State?
A: They followed the movie everywhere. Kevin called it “free publicity” and inviting them into screenings. He says he sparred with the Church’s PR person (Megan Phelps) on Twitter and promised her a 3-way if she ever left Westboro. She recently did, so Kevin’s nervous that he will have to honor his word.
The best part of the protest is when Phelps said, “Kevin, this movie is filthy.” He asked if they could put that quote on the poster.
Westboro also gave him a mock poster that read “Red State Fags”…and they all signed it like their high school yearbook. Kevin kept it because it reminds him of the totems that heroes collect when they defeat a supervillain. His daughter, who he described as “blissfully ignorant of hate” at the time, asked Kevin if it was for the sequel.
Clip time! A teaser from Jay and Silent Bob’s appearance in Plants vs. Zombies 2. A few cartoon vignettes with J&SB defending the Quick Stop, then turning into zombies.
Q: Your last two movies were made without long-time producer Scott Mosier. What was it like without him and will he return for Clerks III?
A: It was weird. I had convinced myself that for me to even function on set, Scott also had to be on set. But Mosier wanted to follow his own path, producing and directing his own movies. They’re still good friends and do the SModcast together. Mosier was interested in Clerks III but had a schedule conflict. He’ll be there in spirit!
Kevin’s self-help message #2: Everyone should give podcasting a try. It’s untamed, no gatekeepers, nobody stopping you. You talk with your friends all the time, why not do it in front of a microphone? At worst, you’ve got a copy for yourself or a fun new hobby. He advised Bryan Johnson of Comic Book Men to do this during his bout with depression, and it’s helped him turn it around. (He’s referring to the “Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave” podcast.) People need to be heard, and it can change lives.
The updates are getting a little long-winded – Kevin, as usual, is not at a loss for words.
Guy gets up to tell a story about how much Kevin cares about fans – he went to one of Kevin’s lectures in Connecticut in 2005. Kevin invited him to VulgarThon in LA, but the guy didn’t have enough money to go. Kevin said he’d let him into the festival for free if he could make it, and kept his promise.
Q: How did you get the Clerks cast back together? Any obstacles?
A: First had to figure out the back-end deals on Clerks II – apparently the checks were never cut! Then had to go back to the Weinstein Co. since they held the rights. He got their clearance and scripted it, now it’s all about the budget. Options are California (most expensive), Pittsburgh (favorable rebates, also where Zack and Miri was filmed), and Atlanta (very favorable rebates). Waiting to hear back from Weinsteins; if they don’t approve a budget, they have to shop the film around or finance it independently.
Meanwhile, he’s writing something based on a bizarre web posting where a man claimed he had been lost at sea for 6 months with a walrus and now wanted to rent out a room in his house. The caveat: the lodger would have to wear a walrus costume for 2 hours every day and act like a walrus.
Kevin thought: this sounds like a horror movie. Turning someone into “the human walrus” and sewing them into a walrus suit. He asked Twitter followers to tweet #walrusyes if they wanted to see this movie. The response was enthusiastic. He started a script titled Tusk.
He calls it “the cuddly version of The Human Centipede” starring Michael Parks as the walrus enthusiast. 85 pages. He’s proud of it. It’s the kind of movie he’d go to see…and won his wife over after she read it.
Then he asked QUENTIN TARANTINO if he’d play the role of the lodger. Sent him the script without telling him any of the details.
Parks. Tarantino. Smith. Tusk. Coming summer 2015?
FYI – he hasn’t heard from Quentin yet. Kevin is selling this as the most fucked-up, absurd movie ever. And he’s meeting with a potential financer on Tuesday. Yet another wonderful, weird thing that came out of a podcast, says Kevin.
Clerks III will be about Kevin approaching his 40s, deals with the failure of the video store, and the characters moving on with their lives. Apparently it’s touching – Jason Mewes cried after reading the script. Kevin claims it’s funny too.
Now he’s talking about a movie he’s involved in distributing, The Dirties, a controversial spin on the found-footage genre with an anti-bullying message. Kevin calls it “one of the best first films I’ve ever seen.” Roll the trailer!
The Dirties was a Slamdance Festival winner, looks very intense, like Elephant crossed with…early Kevin Smith. Kevin will help distribute on VOD via Kevin Smith’s Movie Club.
Q: What do you think about the current direction of the exhibition and presentation of movies? Is Kevin’s “roadshow” format changing anything.
A: Studios only seem to make tentpole movies anymore. All the other interesting stories get filtered down to the indies. The “midrange” is gone. Now you identify your audience and go directly to that audience. It’s either broadly popular or a targeted niche.
Kevin sees more fan-driven movies in the future, cites the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign.
Question from a Comic-Con virgin! He’s from Israel. There’s a single annual comic convention there. He worked in a video store and the first movie he watched there was Clerks.
Q: Which comic book would you NOT like to see adapted into a movie?
A: I’m not that guy. I’m come one, come all. We already see so many iterations of these characters in print, re-interpreted by different writers and artists. The comic can never be fucked-up, most are too amorphous to be untouchable. He’d rather see people try different things and challenge themselves and the audience. (Paging Quentin Tarantino.)
People are inspired! Lots of people coming up with anecdotes about how Kevin’s story pushed them to chase their dreams. This panel is always a wonderful little space for people to let their imagination run wild.
Kevin’s self-help message #4: Always be a cheerleader for people. Every once in a while, people need to be reminded that they’re “smart and good.” He does that for fans because he feels they validate him the same way by listening to his talks, seeing his movies. There’s already enough people shitting on other people.
Q: How did you come up with the memorable dialogue in Clerks: The Animated Series? Can we get more episodes?
(paraphrasing these questions, by the way…people are very loquacious)
A: I hope it will happen again. We talked to [adult swim] at one point, talked to the Weinsteins. Maybe when Clerks III comes out and the Clerks are relevant again. Also, Dave Mandell (Curb Your Enthusiasm) wrote most of the classic lines. (“A bear driving a car? How can than BE?”)
Kevin asks a fan to describe the X-Men footage that Bryan Singer brought to today’s Fox panel.
Q: Did the World Engine in Man of Steel remind you of a giant spider?
A: I’ll do you one better: there was even a fucking polar bear in that movie! Jon Peters…it’s just proof that if you wait long enough in life and keep trying, you’ll get what you want.
Q: Have you considered writing a play, or turning one of your unmade scripts into a play?
A: In the case of Tusk, I really want Michael Parks to play it and I don’t know if that would fit his schedule. But I definitely want to do some theater eventually. Loves the dynamism and intimacy of the theater. Smoked pot and tried to conceive Clerks III as an off-Broadway play. He told a producer, who told Kevin to stop smoking so much weed.
Apparently Clerks III was really close to being a play, but the business model didn’t make sense.
That’s a wrap from Kevin. He was nervous when coming out to an empty room…he didn’t know people weren’t being let in right away. Thanks everyone for his annual “creative kick in the ass.”
Reminder: Comic Book Men Season 3 this fall. Panel ends with a teaser for the season.
Another great panel from the official raconteur of Comic-Con, “Mr. Hall H,” Kevin Smith. Hope you enjoyed the live blog. Stay tuned to Screen Invasion for updates from the final day of San Diego Comic-Con!