Apparently Kevin Smith gave a talk at the Producers Guild of America’s annual conference last weekend — which must really inspire confidence if you’re a dues-paying Guild member who’s firmly ensconced within the studio system. “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage a guy who crowd funds sequels to movie he shot on a camcorder 20 years ago!” Thankfully, the Hollywood Reporter has has done all the actual reporting on Smith’s talk, leaving me to pick it apart like the turgid, vindictive monster that I am. Won’t you please join me?
Speaking on Sunday at the Produced By conference in Los Angeles, the Clerks filmmaker said he quit directing because “I figured I had nothing left to say,” and explained he felt his best films were all extensions of his personal life. “I walked away because I lost personal sh*t to say. That was the only way I knew how to do the job — to steal from my life,” he said.
Seems reasonable. Even admirable, in fact. His artistic voice was no longer coming through, so why not retire and go out on top? Well, not “on top,” really. More like just “go out.” But still. I say bravo, Kevin.
He decided to return with Tusk after he and Scott Mosier thought it up on their podcast SModcast.
Or just keep chugging along because of the stoned ramblings of your podcast sidekick. Whatever. Smartistic smintegrity is smoverrated.
“I said, ‘Kevin, no one is going to make the movie about the guy who turns a guy into a f*cking walrus. The only way you’re going to see this movie is if you make it yourself,’ ” Smith said.
“So I says to myself, I says, ‘Kevin, this idea is pure garbage that should never see the light of day.’ Wait, what was the question?”
He said he intends to return to the film he’d intended to be his final work, Clerks 3. “I wrote Clerks 3 like a King Lear movie in a convenience store. It’s funny, but it’s f*cking sad,” he said. But first he’s working on Yoga Hosers, the Tusk spinoff he considers a counter to male-centric comic-book movies.
“I have nothing left to say as a director. That being said, here’s a walrus man movie, a Clerks sequel, and a spinoff to the walrus-man movie I mentioned at the beginning of this sentence. Also, in the time it’s taken you to read this, I’ve decided to reboot Fraggle Rock for some reason. F*ck you.”
It stars his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, who he said surprised him by refusing to go to Avengers: Age of Ultron with him. “I can’t bring my kid to a comic-book movie because there’s nothing up there for her,” he said.
Here is your reminder that Kevin Smith named his daughter after the coquettish court jester who the Joker was f*cking in the pages of a cartoon book for children.
Speaking on his ideal producer for upcoming projects, Smith said, “I’m looking for a woman in a producer. Who knows more about creation than a woman?” and noted his entire team of production coordinators on Yoga Hosers are women.
“Their periods have synced and they’re now operating at peak womanhood. Once per month I wade onto the set through a river of menstruation high enough to defile my jort bottoms beyond repair. Such is their power.” Relax, dude. All women want is a fair shot in the industry, not to be pawns in your weird campaign of overcompensation.
He dismissed the idea he’d ever get the chance to direct a comic-book adaptation. But he said if he did, he’d like to put a “noir-ish thriller” spin on a DC Comics character called the Question, a vigilante who erases his facial features with a special substance.
“I’d do what Christopher Nolan did with Batman, except with a superhero no one’s ever heard of whose superpower is face palsy.”
“I always thought if you were in an alley and f*cking Batman showed up you’d be like, ‘Oh f*ck, Batman.’ But if a dude shows up with no features and starts punching you, you would probably kill yourself in fear,” he explained.
“Whelp, this guy literally has no eyes, nose or mouth. Guess I better hang myself from this fire escape while he swings wildly at the air around him, struggling to breathe.” Yeah, Kevin. Really shocked no one’s beating down your door to make this one.
The conversation at Produced By centered on the strange origin story of Tusk, his horror comedy released in September starring Justin Long (and with Johnny Depp in a memorable supporting role). He said the project hit a snag when he received a “no” from the guy he wanted to play the role of oddball policeman Guy Lapointe — Quentin Tarantino. “He loves to do funny accents. We all saw Django,” said Smith. But Tarantino wouldn’t play the role.
I mean, Tarantino is also a visionary writer and director who’s largely responsible for the independent filmmaking boom to which you owe your success, Kevin. But yeah, we all love his funny voices too, I guess. You f*cking clod.
So Smith went to a friend through their children’s school — Depp — and texted him a pitch for the offbeat project. Depp replied, “Color me intrigued.” (Noted Smith, “He is an exquisite texter. No emojis, no hieroglyphics. He writes f*cking words. It’s like getting a text from Lord Byron.”)
Lord Byron was a pansexual Romantic who seduced the whole of Europe and once went to war with the Ottomans out of pure boredom. Johnny Depp declined to use a hashtag in a text message narrated to an assistant, and all of the sudden he’s his heir apparent? OK then. Although, I do have a sneaking suspicion that even Byron, emerging from his sex menagerie still balls-deep inside an actual peacock, would take one look a Depp and tell him to dial it down a notch. So maybe I’m not giving Depp enough credit.
On the day of shooting, Depp contributed one idea on his character’s appearance. It was the actor’s suggestion that Lapointe’s large prosthetic nose be painted to resemble a part of the male anatomy. “I was like, ‘If you want to wear a dick on your face, this walrus movie is the place to do it,’ ” said Smith.
Is Johnny Depp OK, you guys? Why a man, whose gypsy-chic finery has successfully blinded us to the fact that he wears Transitions lenses, would want to draw attention back to his face is beyond me.
The filmmaker said he’s not upset with the film’s poor box-office performance, but objected to the limited 600-screen release and the distributors’ secrecy with the film’s walrus creature. “If I saw a picture of that walrus I would be like, ‘F*ck yeah, I want to pay to see this guy ruin his career again,’ ” said Smith.
Yeah, the studio really dropped the ball on the movie that you admitted a few paragraphs ago that no one wanted. What a bunch of knuckleheads.
In his advice to aspiring filmmakers, he supplied a metaphor for Hollywood: “There are so many paths into that house. Everyone tries the front door, and that is valid, but there are tons of back windows.”
Well put, Kevin. Here, I’ll leave you with another metaphor: Hollywood is a labyrinthine gauntlet of human sh*t from which certain people get to emerge because they’re willing to do things like manipulate their own child into getting Johnny Depp’s cell-phone number from a classmate during recess. God bless.
(Via the Hollywood Reporter)