If you listen to any of the Smodcast podcasts, you might know a thing or two about Jason Mewes’ problems with addiction. Now enjoying a period of sobriety, it wasn’t too long ago that the actor and Kevin Smith regular was deep into a heroin binge that almost took his life. In a blog about the subject, Smith detailed how Mewes first began with weed and alcohol. On the Clerks DVD commentary, you can hear him getting progressively more inebriated as the film goes on. Finally seeing that his friend was going down a harsh road of substance abuse (his appearance for the Mallrats DVD commentary was shocking), Smith moved him out of his mother’s place — she, too, was an addict who had contracted HIV from sharing needles — and into his own place with a plan to get him sober. Smith even fronted Mewes some money to get his last fix of heroin because the withdrawal could potentially kill him.
As Mewes began his rehabilitation process, Smith would accompany his friend to the methadone clinic as he was weaning himself off the dangerous substance. Part of the process was to get Mewes working again, and Smith wrote a part for him in his next film, Dogma. The only caveat was that he had to really learn his lines this time around because Smith was hiring a no-BS actor by the name of Alan Rickman. When the first table read for the film came around, Smith feared that Mewes wouldn’t be able to memorize his parts in his early sobriety. Then, this exchange happened:
“Where’s your f*cking script, assh*le?” I sighed.
“I don’t need it.”
“You don’t need your script for rehearsals. Right. Take mine and let’s get going.”
“I’m telling you, I don’t need it. Go ahead. Try me.”
So I turned to the first Jay and Silent Bob scene and fed him Bethany’s lines, and without looking at my script, Mewes delivered Jay’s lines in a letter-perfect fashion.
“Alright, so you’ve got the first scene down,” I allowed. “Let’s mix it up and try a scene from later in the flick.”
So I fed him his lead-in lines from the church exterior scene, and Mewes spits out the Jay responses without hesitation.
“You memorized all your lines already?!” I demanded, shocked.
“All of ‘em?!”
“Yeah. Everyone else’s, too.”
I read him Loki’s lines from a Jay-less scene, and amazingly, he responded with Bartleby’s lines. I was dumbfounded, to say the least.
“You memorized ALL the lines in the script?!?!”
“Even the girl parts.”
“What’re you, f*cking ‘Rain Man’?! Why’d you memorize the whole goddamn script?!”
“I don’t wanna piss off that Rickman dude.”
Instead of just learning his own lines, Mewes memorized the entire script, spending sleepless nights in his girlfriend’s apartment learning every single piece of dialogue. The exercise was more than just being good at his job and it probably had more to do with proving something to himself. It just goes to show you that incredible things can happen when you refuse to use.