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Interview: Kevin Smith

By BARRY THOMPSON  |  November 29, 2010

In both Dogma and your run writing Daredevil comics, the main characters reconnect with their spirituality at the end of the story. Does this theme have anything to do with subconscious guilt over all the swear words in your movies?
Naw, it just comes from being raised Catholic. There’s no real guilt associated with that anymore. Thank God I was raised in a household where people didn’t come down on you very hard for language. Nobody really cursed in the house, but when they started cursing, my parents weren’t like, ‘Oh my God! On your knees and pray!’ Then I kind of went on to make a living out of being kind of candid. I got rid of the last vestiges of my mom’s hardcore Catholic leanings, in terms of, ‘You can’t say that. You’re not supposed to curse. Only lowlifes curse.’ Well, you’ve got to either decide that your son’s a lowlife, or you’ve got to realize that not only lowlifes curse. One of the things I loved about George Carlin was he would work on a way high level, then he would sit there and do fart jokes for 10 minutes, then he would do a searing kind of satirical dissertation on the breakdown of society. I like people who can work kind of highbrow and kind of lowbrow at the same time.

How do you feel about people from my generation thinking of you the same way you thought about John Hughes?
Um, doesn’t deserve it. As a guy who was a huge fan of Hughes, and a guy who looked at Hughes’ body of work even before I knew what filmmaking was…I was just a moviegoer in those days, high school and whatnot, and even then I kind of knew how special this guy was. I didn’t follow directors. I knew George Lucas made the Star Wars Trilogy, and I knew Steven Spielberg made Jaws. But John Hughes was a name that was right next to those two, because I actually knew who that guy was, and I knew his movies were kind of collected under that umbrella. Back in the day, pre-internet, pre-fan zines, you weren’t able to find or reach out to everybody right away who kind of spoke the same language as you. So sometimes you’d be trying to explain to your friends, ‘We’re going to see a movie by the same guy who did this,’ and they were just looking at you like you were trying to speak Martian or offering to suck their dicks, because it was just so, ‘What does that have to do with anything? What does that mean? Why do you know who directed this?’  As if I was suddenly a communist or something. Beautifully, the advent of the internet made it easy for people like me to find other people like me who know shit like that. Like, ‘Yeah, man, John Hughes was the man.’ I grew up at a time where that dude, to make an impact…To know my name, in this day and age, y’know, I’m out there in your face all the fucking time. I’m always stuffing myself down your throat one way or another. John Hughes didn’t do that at all. So the fact that me, who didn’t follow film so closely as a kid, knew who that man was, means he made an incredible impact beyond the normal cinema nerd audience. He was reaching well into the mainstream. I’ve never done that. So when people say, ‘Hey man, you’re like Hughes today,’ it’s very sweet, but I can’t take that seriously. Like when people say very flattering things about Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, as long as it’s funny, that I understand. It’s your cup of tea. It’s funny. But I’ve seen cinema sites try to break that movie down and pull meaning out of it, which is not necessary for a flick like that. Obviously, that was kind of made for fun, but there’s this idea where you’re not supposed to make a movie for fun. Every movie has to mean something, or be very important.  It’s just not the way it is. Sometimes you just do it because you like it. As long as you’re doing it on a responsible budget, without costing anybody a shit ton of money, when somebody’s asking you to do it in the first place, it’s worth it to do one that’s kind of fun…

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