Longtime filmmaker/podcaster Kevin Smith returns to town for a Q&A and a live podcast recording on Friday night at the Texas Theatre. He loves to do these kinds of events, as they are part storytelling, stand-up act and fan interaction, all in one. He’s done them his entire career, from Clerks on. A handful of them have been documented and can be found on DVD, Netflix and YouTube.
Time will be tight with this Q&A, so if you are thinking about asking Smith a question, here’s a friendly list of things you should not ask.
“What’s a Nubian?”
If you think you are the first person to ask the infamous question Banky asks Hooper X in Chasing Amy, well, congratulations, you’re a moron. In An Evening with Kevin Smith, a guy thinks asking this question at the beginning will be hilarious. In turn, he’s booed by the crowd and Smith teases him. Don’t be that guy.
“Was Bruce Willis really a dick to work with on Cop Out?”
There’s a two-hour rant on Too Fat for 40 devoted to this topic, as well as an entire chapter on it in Smith's book, Tough Sh*t. Basically, yes, Bruce was a really difficult guy to work with. Smith looked up to him for many years, especially as a New Jersey guy who made it in film and TV. But after working with Bruce on Cop Out, Smith's projections about what not to be as a person came to a head.
“Why do you like Wayne Gretzky so much?”
Before Smith got into weed and what made Wayne Gretzky great, he was about to retire from making films. His relationship with Bob and Harvey Weinstein had gone south and he was burned out from the business of making films. But then Smith found inspiration in Gretzky’s work ethic (and his relationship with his father/coach). Smith's Tusk, as well as his upcoming Yoga Hosers, Moose Jaws, Clerks III and Mallbrats projects share a focus on where things are going rather than where he's been.
“Was Shannen Doherty really that difficult to work with on Mallrats?”
In short, yes, there was tension between them on the set of Smith's first major motion picture. But if it was really that bad, do you think he’d have her back in a cameo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and the upcoming Mallrats sequel, Mallbrats?
“Why do you still have no visual style?”
Without fail, people who have never seen a Jim Jarmusch or Woody Allen film think Kevin Smith is the only filmmaker in the world who prefers how the dialogue is delivered over how many times a camera moves in a scene. He learned more by watching other films and making his own movies than he did in film school.
“Will you read my script?”
There are legal reasons why Smith, Max Landis, Quentin Tarantino, Bruce Campbell and pretty much any actor/director will not read your unsolicited script. Studios get sued all the time over scripts that were allegedly ripped off by other writers. They don’t like lawsuits, even though they have plenty of cash.
“Have you seen [insert title of upcoming movie that nerds will go nuts over] yet?”
Yes, Smith has been on the set of The Force Awakens. He felt like he was 8 years old again walking onto the Millennium Falcon. If he says much more than general specifics about a film that is still not finished, he’d get into legal trouble.
“Were you really going to sue Tim Burton?”
Long story short: the twist ending of Tim Burton’s take on Planet of the Apes (where a statue of Abe Lincoln is replaced by an ape) was coincidentally a minor detail in a comic book with Jay and Silent Bob, Smith's beloved characters. Smith joked to a reporter that he was considering legal action. In print, it looked like he was serious and Tim Burton responded dismissively about comics and Smith's films.
“Will you apologize for [insert name of any of Smith's films]?”
Just because you’re a fan of a filmmaker doesn’t mean you’re going to love every film he or she makes. Whether or not you hate Jersey Girl, Tusk, Dogma or Cop Out, Smith isn’t about to seriously apologize for any of them. He might make dismissive quips about them onstage, but if you’ve seen a few sit-down interviews with him, he’s learned plenty from every film that he’s made.
“Got any weed you want to share?”
Smith might love to get baked, but it’s not usually to veg out. He gets inspired and excited about making upcoming projects. Do you really think he’ll share some of that special sauce?
Kevin Smith’s sold-out Q&A at the Texas Theatre is Friday, August 28. A live podcast with his hetero-lifemate Jason Mewes will follow the Q&A.