"I'm thankful for that guy. Nevermind the fact that he brought us Seth Rogen, which I'm really thankful for, but he did shatter that glass ceiling and made my job much easier in terms of, like, trying to get the next one made." -- Kevin Smith on Judd Apatow
Last month, I traveled to Red Bank, New Jersey and enjoyed a very cool lunch with a very cool dude by the name of Kevin Smith. While we scarfed down some tasty Italian food, I recorded roughly an hour and a half of our conversation -- all of which would be way too much to read in one post. Thus, I've decided to break some stuff up into sections and post them separately, then I'll be back with much more in the coming days leading up to the October 31st release of the pretty hilarious Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Here, Smith talks at length about Judd Apatow, the impact Judd's films have had on his own work and what sort of advice he received from the director of Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin while making Zack and Miri. Check it out.
Kevin Smith: "I heard someone describe it thusly, and I kinda agree: 'Kevin Smith opened the door for Judd Apatow, and then Judd Apatow in turn opened the door for Kevin Smith.' I can't argue with that. For years we've been doing these movies that were a mixture of raunchy and sentimentality and sweet. And I've always felt like the ceiling for that movie with that formula is $30 million. You can't get the rom-com people and you can't get the raunch people in full -- you're gonna get people who like a mixture of the two and you're left with whoever can tolerate both.
40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad come along and they shatter that glass ceiling. They proved this sh*t's commercially viable. So the first time I see 40 Year Old Virgin on DVD, I'm like, 'Holy shit! Somebody made a movie like I would've made it."
[continued] "Like, this is fantastic. It was just cool to see someone else doing it. When Knocked Up took off as much as it did, it proved that a) 40 Year Old Virgin wasn't a one-off, and b) there's a marketplace for the sh*t I've enjoyed doing my whole f**king career. So, for me, I'm thankful for that guy. Nevermind the fact that he brought us Seth Rogen, which I'm really thankful for, but he did shatter that glass ceiling and made my job much easier in terms of, like, trying to get the next one made. If I tried to make Zack and Miri Make a Porno ten years ago -- or even five years ago -- they would've told me we could do it for five hundred grand, it could go into art houses and that's it. Suddenly, after the success of Knocked Up and Superbad, I could do it for $24 million, get some nice time to shoot and they're gonna market it mainstream and sh*t like that, so I feel nothing but love for the man."
Kevin Smith On Advice Judd Apatow Gave Him
**Possible Zack and Miri spoilers ahead**
"When we met in San Diego at Comic Con, I told [Judd], 'Hey, thanks for lettin' me use your boy because he tore sh*t up; he dropped a clinic. So he was all like, 'I'd love to see it' -- and so I told him to come to my house and watch it. A week and a half later, Judd came over and watched the movie and loved it -- was real complimentary -- but he said, 'There's just one thing if I was you that I would look at. The scene in the basement with Delaney (Craig Robinson) where Zack is seeing himself on the monitor from their sex scene -- I would use footage from their sex scene.'
Because what happened was all I had at the time was just a still shot, and Judd said to use a moving, fluid shot from their sex scene because that sh*t was really tender and passionate, and he's going, 'I know you set it up with the camera way back here, but I think you get away with it if you go in like this -- because then you've got Seth's character just watching himself and his expression reads like 'I'm watching the happiest moment of my life. How many people get to do that?' And I'm like, that's f**king smart. So I swapped out that shot within the shot on the monitor and suddenly the scene took a little jump. So if I wasn't thankful enough for that dude, the dude actually improved this movie as well. Right on."
Kevin Smith on Potentially Acting in a Judd Apatow Film
Cinematical: Judd's making that Funny People movie now -- you would've been great in a small role in that, possibly as a struggling stand-up comedian.
Kevin Smith: "Yeah, that would've been very cool. To be in a Judd Apatow movie -- that exposes you to a lot of eyes. But, yeah, I guess he's got enough funny people. I enjoy the acting and I got a real blessed life, and everything has worked out real well. And even when shit didn't work out, it ultimately worked out. So I feel like -- I don't know, maybe it's the Catholic in me or what have you -- but I feel like leave the acting to some motherf**ker who needs a job. Know what I mean? For me, I enjoy it, but it's not my meat and potatoes. So there's a part of me that's, like, you know what -- give it to a real actor. Give it to someone who needs the work and sh*t like that. Not to me who's just like -- what do they call that -- a carpetbagger; a dude who's doing it because he's only asked, not because he's the best man for the job, but because people like this guy. I didn't get the Live Free or Die Hard job because I was the only guy who could play Warlock. I got the job because they were like, 'He's got an audience, lets cast him.'
Zack and Miri Make a Porno hits theaters on October 31st.
More from Kevin Smith:
Kevin Smith on Financing and Casting Red State
Kevin Smith on the Alternate Title for Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Also, check out Moviefone's 12 Questions with Kevin Smith
[photo of Kevin Smith via Getty Images]