Montreal ComicCon was thrilled to welcome to the stage director, podcaster and Geek Hero, Kevin Smith. Rob and I were excited to get a chance to see him in person as we are both long-time fans, and Kevin certainly did not disappoint! He knew his audience well, stepping out in a Habs jersey (worn over his trademark jersey), saying how he’d rather stay for Poutinefest than go home for the Fourth of July. He later admitted to having been a “big Canadianphile” since he was a kid: He even set his latest series of movies here! Kevin Smith is of course best known for the Clerks movies, and for his personification of one of his two fan-favourite recurring characters, Silent Bob in addition to his Series of Podcasts (Smodcasts).
Kevin Smith is a huge geek, and his legendary fandom of Star Wars earned him a personal invite from JJ Abrams to the set of Star Wars Episode VII. Setting foot on the Millennium Falcon was so powerful, he bawled like he was seven years old: He’d realized that without his childhood love for Star Wars, he’d never have gone into filmmaking. While he was limited by non-disclosure papers he had to sign (“Loose lips sink starships”), he did his best to convey his emotional reactions to what he saw: Had there been die-hard Star Wars fans in the audience that walked in still skeptical about the upcoming movie, they were an extinct breed by the end of the evening. “JJ is never gonna mess this up!”
It wasn’t just the Star Wars films themselves that inspired Kevin to get into the movie business: It was the lack of content that appealed to his sense of humour: No one was doing movies with the dirty and/or geeky jokes that he and his circle of friends loved. But even then, he admits that most of his early films weren’t very inventive and mostly stole from his real life. Dogma was an exception, if only because he’d never seen that particular monster before. His next few movies, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Zack and Miri make a porno, were about making movies. “I ran out of reality pretty early in my career” he quipped. Podcasting changed that, by forcing him to think creatively . His most recent series of films were inspired by a podcasted conversation about what turned out to be a hoax. He remembers thinking: “Who is the brave filmmaker that will make that movie?”, and then remembered that he himself had once been a filmmaker. The script he began wasn’t written with any audience in mind: It was just to please himself. Kevin said he’d been hesitant to show his wife. She’s a fan of him, but prefers his earlier work and refuses to watch Comic Book Men: ” ‘ Kevin, if I want to hear you cry about Batman and wear that shirt, I’ll look to my left.’ “. She saw he was working on something when he was about twenty pages in, and liked it so much she was willing to risk their house on the film. Fortunately, Kevin had a few friends willing to finance the project. The only thing left was to cast detective Guy Lapointe.