For part two of our conversation with Kevin Smith, things took a much lighter -– if not haphazard –- tone. Actually, yes, "haphazard" is a good way to describe the second half of this conversation. Moving away from the topic of his new film, 'Red State,' and his defense of the 'Red State' Sundance auction (you can read part one here) the topics at hand became: 'The Empire Strikes Back,' 'Green Lantern,' 'Jerry Maguire,' 'X-Men,' the possibility of a Joe Johnston directed Boba Fett movie and Smith's own retirement after his next two-part film, 'Hit Somebody.' Oh, also, Smith reveals the inspiration for the last three years of his career: Seth Rogen. Actually, more specifically... smoking pot with Seth Rogen.
Moviephone: How is 'Hit Somebody' coming along? It's two parts now?
Kevin Smith: Yeah, it's gotten big. I was on page 140 and he had just entered the pros. Yeah, it spans 30 years of the character's life. And, so, say what you want about Kevin Smith Movies, "Oh, he f*cking sucks," but, they're short. I've always been my own editor and I'm a really tight editor. 'Red State' is a lean 88 minutes.
True. This is nothing against you, but I was happy when I saw it was relatively short.
Kevin Smith... and I don't want to become one of these guys that refers to myself in the third person...
You've been doing that quite a bit during this interview. I think it's too late.
I can talk about a Kevin Smith Film without being the guy in the third person! Look, I'm not going to talk "as Kevin Smith." I understand people have no time for jack sh*t. I know how my life runs and I assume everyone else is like that, except, change the job. To me, it started to feel kind of piggish to be like, "You! Drop everything you're doing and come to my movie in this cold, sterile environment. Watch it. Then give me your money and maybe I will hear about it on the Internet." I know me. I'm one of the biggest comic book fan freaks on the planet. There's a Green Lantern movie that came out this summer. I'm not the world's biggest Green Lantern fan, but, what the f*ck? You have to respect any Green Lantern movie. Even if it's Ryan Reynolds. And I didn't f*cking go see it.
I'm surprised that didn't you see 'Green Lantern.'
Because the one f*cking day I was going to go see it, I was just like, "I'm going to be able to watch this in two months right in my house on this big ass 103 inch television. I can pause it; go take a sh*t. I can extend this movie into a weeklong experience and it will be far better than me leaving and focusing all of my attention on it. You can't expect cats anymore to put sh*t down for you unless you're giving them one of those movies where a bus turns into a f*cking robot and beats the sh*t out of another bus. Sh*t, dude, they took 'Conan' and put it though 3D and nobody wanted to come see it. What was the movie this week? 'My Idiot Brother,' its got Paul Rudd, 2500 screens and it, what, cleared $6.5 million? That aint good, dude. It's tougher and tougher to get people to get out of their houses because, at the end of the day, you can spend your time online, you can download a movie. If you really want to see a current release, if you're clever enough, you can bit-torrent the sh*t out it.
So something like 'Red State,' just download that sh*t and watch it. I'm just trying to make it as convenient as possible to deliver the entertainment to you. But, if I say, "come out to see me at a theater," I'm going to make it worth it. I'm going to stand next to the movie; I'm going to be right there. And we had no problem doing any business, it's a smart business model. You just have to downsize. It's what Jerry Maguire said, right? Less clients, more attention.
Jerry Maguire got fired for that.
He did, but he wound up happy in the end. There was a moment post Sundance where I was watching 'Jerry Maguire' in my room, crying on my bed. Literally feeling like, "Oh my God, it was just a mission statement." I felt like that f*cking dude. And my wife was just like, "Um, you're not nearly as thin as Tom Cruise." And then I realized that I wasn't Jerry Maguire and everything would turn out fine. And it did.
I loved how when you mentioned Green Lantern you said, "Even if it's Ryan Reynolds." Which says something, but says nothing at the same time.
You know what I'm talking about. Again, I'm not the world's biggest Green Lantern fan, so I aint got bitchin' rights. But you wait your whole life for a Green Lantern movie and, like, it's Ryan Reynolds? You're like, "Oh, man." It better be genius.
Speaking of superheroes, When 'Captain America' came out its director, Joe Johnston, who worked on 'Star Wars,' was tossing the idea around about a Boba Fett movie. Good idea?
I think that's a brilliant idea. Disney had this 'Rocketeer' screening about a month before 'Captain America' came out. I love 'The Rocketeer.' Joe Johnston is the director of 'The Rocketeer.' What a lot of people who aren't film nerds don't know is that Joe Johnston is responsible for my entire childhood f*cking memory. The palette, the colors, the look of my childhood – he built the Boba Fett amour! He took Ralph McQuarrie design and he made them practical. He's the man responsible for the snow walker. He's the man responsible for the X-Wing. He's in essence a cinematic Santa Claus. So when that dude says, "You know, I think a f*cking Boba Fett movie could be cool" -- give it to him! Why the f*ck not?! In a world where they're doing 'The Clone Wars,' in a world where they are talking about doing a TV show... I mean, make it a non-canon if you have to make it non-canon. But I doubt that Lucas would like that to happen because he makes it feel less epic. But why? There's no good reason not to let Joe Johnston make a Boba Fett movie.
I agree, but I also agree that Lucas will never let it happen.
No. But that's where he should go. There's easy money to be made and, plus, you'll make your audience happy. Listen to what they're saying. For years we are all like, "We love Boba Fett! We don't know why, but we like him. He doesn't do much, but we like him. He's like the Kevin Smith of 'The Empire Strikes Back' universe." I just think we like the look of him, a man of mystery. I don't know, but it could totally f*cking work. And why George Lucas wouldn't green light that? That's just printing money.
We love Boba Fett and we love Han Solo, but we get more Anakin Skywalker.
They said there was going to be a Han Solo in that third movie. He was going to be on the Wookie planet, they were going to cut to a feral little boy.
I'm very happy they didn't do that.
Really? I'd have taken it.
I don't want to know his childhood, I just want to watch him fly around in the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca. I don't want to see him swinging from vine to vine like Shia LaBeouf in 'Indiana Jones 4.'
Yeah, they worked that out in another place. Lucas was like, "If I aint getting this here, I'm getting it someplace else. Somebody is doing Tarzan!"
Han Solo would have done Tarzan and I don't want to see that.
What's weird is: that's how good 'The Empire Strikes Back' is. 'Star Wars' is a perfectly good movie, but everyone forgets it compared to 'The Empire Strikes Back.' Honestly, George Lucas had made one movie at that point, right? 'American Graffiti'?
And 'THX-1138,' so two. You know, Irvin Kershner, by the time he directed 'The Empire Strikes Back,' probably had a more steady directorial hand. Probably had a bit more interaction and warmth with the actors. That's the one thing you always hear from the other cast, it's like, "Eh, he's not really an actor's director kind of guy." Kind of how you get Bryan Singer to do 'X-Men 2.' I mean, of course he did 'X-Men 1,' but Bryan Singer is the first guy to say, "I'm not a comic book reader." But, Bryan Singer is gay and he informs the f*ck out of those X-Men movies. He brings something special to it that somebody who is like, "I'm an expert of the genre," couldn't bring. The opening sequence of that f*cking second X-Men movie is beyond brilliant. It's just so f*cking engaging.
So is 'Hit Somebody' going to be it for you? Nothing after that?
Yeah, that's it. I'm going to finish, man. I'm in love with the idea of completing. The idea of doing a thesis film and being like, "Here it is, here's everything I learned in my career,' and putting it into, now, two movies. That's a "me" move: to go for that second bite of the apple in that weird way. But I figure it's a cooler thing. The first movie is all childhood. Home and away. Internally, that's what we're calling them, "home" and "away." The first one is all about childhood and it takes him right to the pros. The second one is pros to the end of his life. So I get to do a PG-13 movie up front, and then the next half is f*cking R-rated and it's blood on the ice. The second half is defiantly more 'Raging Bull' than the first half.
You say that you like the idea of completion in filmmaking. OK, fair enough. But why announce your retirement? What if, 20 years from now, you want to make something else? So why say it out loud instead of just knowing that personally?
Because it's all a story, Mike. It keeps going and going. If you're really good at your job, the story begins long before they get into the movie theater. If you're a f*cking magician, it lasts long after they left. We're just in the middle of the next story. It's just setting up the next story.
I've enjoyed this, but Seth Rogen and Will Reiser are calling in a couple of minutes to discuss '50/50.' Any messages?
Tell them I said, "hello." Rogen is responsible for my late career renaissance. I'll humbly give it over to him. Seth came out and did [a pilot for a panel show], he was so gracious. And I hadn't seen him since the 'Zack and Miri' period. And since the 'Zack and Miri' period, I've become a full-blown stoner and it just kind of changed my life. It changed my art; it changed everything. It was wonderful. It was a great find at age 38, which is ironic because most people assume, because of those movies, that I was always a huge stoner -- but, never, never. Only until Seth during 'Zack and Miri'... Boom! I meet a stoner who is so f*cking productive -- and he's open about being a stoner. But this guy is so productive and so talented and smart, he shatters any stereotype or image that I ever had of a stoner. He reinvents -- I mean, he wasn't there -- it was just him giving me a joint and hanging out with me for an hour. Look, I'm emo, I tend to overdramatize sh*t -- but this if f*cking true. Everything that's happened since then stems from me smoking with Seth.
I want to spend a lot of time sitting down with him. I need to get him to come on Smodcast and just sit down and do the f*cking long chitchat because there's just dopey sh*t that I want to ask him. Like, "Are you a roller? Do you know about Cones?" Sh*t like that.
And, yes, next week you will be able to read Seth Rogen's response to Kevin Smith.
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