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Dicks, Balls & Hannah Montana: Kevin Smith Gets Busy

Dicks, Balls & Hannah Montana: Kevin Smith Gets Busy
"He's Bruce fucking Willis, how do you direct someone who invented the genre?"

Smith on directing Willis in 'Cop Out'

Sitting down with Kevin Smith is exactly like you think it would be, except that I wouldn't know, at least not any time recently.  I didn't actually sit down with him, we were on the phone, but I was sitting and, I'm guessing he was too.  Either that or he was doing cardio thrusts.  Regardless, as he "sat" in his View Askew offices in New Jersey, we covered a number of topics from his past movies, his growing catalog of books, his currently-in-production movie, "Cop Out" (previously "A Couple of Dicks") (starring Bruce Willis), his lack of balls and his next directorial venture titled "Hit Somebody" (based off the Mitch Albom-penned Warren Zevon tune of the same name).

"Nothing", Smith said when asked what he did for his new book, "Shootin' the Sh*t", "well, obviously, I recorded the smodcasts but after that, the publisher (Titan Books) contacted me and said 'We need to do another book so we can put 'From New York Times Best Selling Author' on the cover, but I still wasn't too convinced." He continued, "they sent me a chapter so I can take a look and I actually thought it was pretty funny but the real test was sending it to Mose (Scott Mosier, co-anchor of Smodcast) because he doesn't like shit.  But he actually liked it, he never listens to Smodcast because he hates his voice but he liked the chapter."

Kevin admits that the inclusion of "New York Times Best-Selling Author" on his books will give some "real authors" something to gripe about.  "I'm not an author and I never say that I'm an author."  In spite of that, Smith is indeed a best-selling author on both the non-fiction and comic book lists, something that will surely grow with his latest book, 'Shootin' the Sh*t', and his latest well-received comic, 'Batman: Cacaphony', which hit stores the same day as 'Sh*t' and the new edition of the aforementioned best seller, 'My Boring-Ass Life'.

If it seems the formerly Silent Bob isn't staying too silent these days, it's because it's true.  Smith has grown tremendously since his earlier days of filmmaking into a bonified director, author, actor and, dare we say, artist.  Smith's career has now come full circle with the release of the blu-ray box set cleverly titled "Kevin Smith 3-Movie Collection" on November 17.  The set, which encompasses 3 of his first 5 movies; Chasing Amy, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back and, the one that started it all, Clerks.  All 3 releases saw Smith partner with mega-producer Harvey Weinstein during his Disney days which, like the Smith/Weinstein partnership, is now part of the past.  "I ended my contract with (Weinstein) last year.  I felt it was time to do something else and the company needed to move on.  They arent doing so well so they need sure-fire hits, which is something that I can't give them."

  The split could have been seen earlier when Smith started working in some non-Kevin Smith ways like his bit part in the blockbuster Live Free or Die Hard (in which he re-wrote a lot of his scenes, unofficially of course) and, though the title may say otherwise, Zack and Miri Make a Porno was a more commercial endeavor (starring "it" people Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks) that saw Smith's writing style and dialogue grow with him.  The movie delved into the Judd Apatow-type formula that was seemingly flawless.  It opened at $10 million, the smallest opening of Seth Rogen's career and went on to make $31 million.  Though it was the highest grossing movie of Smith's career and it easily made it's small budget back, the movie marked the end of Smith's partnership with Weinstein that lasted the better part of 15 years.

Now, Smith has moved on and shown his dedication to his growth as a film maker.  In 2008, Smith signed on to make Warner Bros.' 'A Couple of Dicks', a buddy cop action comedy that he did not write, a first for the director.  "I didn't write "A Couple of Dicks" so that's a first for me but it still feels like my movie.  Sean William Scott (whom co-stars in the movie) even commented on how the script still sounded like me."

Over the past few months, Smith had the chance to direct Bruce Willis, his former co-star in 'Live Free or Die Hard'.  "You can't direct Bruce.  Not to say he was difficult but he's Bruce fucking Willis, how do you direct someone who invented the genre?"  He continues. "He is the only one that has survived in tact from those action movies in the 80s.  Stallone tried to come back a few years ago with Rocky and Rambo and he's coming back and doing another.  I don't know what Schwarzenegger is up to.  I saw a billboard the other day with Steven Seagal on it.  He's doing a reality show where he is an actual fucking cop.  But then you have Bruce who never left.  He may have made some stinkers along the way but he was always relevant and he has SO much range so you kind of just have to let him do what he wants to do."

As for Smith's recently announced 'Hit Somebody', a movie based on a song written by none other than 'Tuesdays With Morrie" author Mitch Albom, he says that it's not really as off of a pairing as it sounds, "Mitch used to be a sports writer before he was an author.  He loves hockey and he wrote this amazing song for Warren (Zevon) and it's the movie I've always wanted to make.  I sought out to contact him, because obviously Warren Zevon died, and get his permission to do this."

Though Smith hasn't begun writing the script yet (something he will do in December once he is finished with 'Dicks'), he is determined to make this his next movie.  "I don't have a (studio) home now so I will have to find some financing but I WILL make it one way or another.  This isn't a (Happy Gilmore) or anything like that.  This is my Forrest Gump, where it will just follow this goon through his life.  I mean, there will be a lot of comedy in it, but it's not going to be like anything I've done before."

Until Smith can dive head first into 'Hit Somebody', he will keep himself busy with his tours, editing, books, hockey (he is an avid Devils fan) and comics.  Enjoy the calmness you call busy now Kevin because if your growth continues, come this time next year, you may just be the bona fide superstar you should have become years ago.

On TWILIGHT & HANNAH MONTANA: "People will say that 'ohh, he's a sellout' and shit but the truth of it is that they have merit.  I wouldn't have watched these things on my own but, because of my daughter, I've had to sit through a lot of this stuff and I can see why it's enjoyable."

ON THAT ELUSIVE COMIC BOOK MOVIE: "Harvey (Weinstein) came to me and asked if I wanted to do "The Green Hornet" a few years ago and I signed on.  I had all these meetings with the fucking toy company and they showed me how the characters had to look, this is all before I even wrote a script.  It all seemed too big for me, I didn't feel like I had the balls to do it.  Now Seth (Rogen) is making it with Michel Gondry and those guys can make a much better Green Hornet than I ever could.  When I was working on Zack & Miri, I told Seth that he could take a look at my script if he wanted but he just said no, they already have some ideas.  I think I could do something like that now though, at least I'm getting there."

For more laughs from Kevin Smith, be sure to check out his SModcast at viewaskew.com and follow him on twitter @ThatKevinSmith

Peter Oberth
Interview by Peter Oberth
Follow him @ Twitter