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Interview: Kevin Smith

By BARRY THOMPSON  |  November 29, 2010

Nah, it really wasn’t so bad….
As hard as people were on Cop Out, that’s how hard they were on Jersey Girl. Everyone thought I freaked out on the critics on Cop Out. I didn’t. It was just like, I saw the light. I saw the strings. I get it. It’s like Battlestar Galactica. I’ve been through the Cop Out experience twice before. Mallrats? They all hated it, dude. Everyone hated it, and crapped in that movie’s fucking mouth. For years. Except for the people who went to see it and fucking’ dug it. Time kind of forgets all the mother fuckers who were grousing about what a betrayal it was, saying ‘Oh, how could the guy who made Clerks make this piece of shit?’ Now it’s like, ‘Mallrats! Fun! Old school Kevin Smith!’ I guarantee you as a person who has to walk in Kevin Smith’s very tight shoes, I deal with a lot of people who come up to me and go, ‘Hey man, you’re that guy, blah blah blah,’ and when they bring up a movie, first fucking movie that comes up is Mallrats. Even the quote unquote smart people, ‘cause that’s the gateway flick for a lot of people, who’re like, ‘Oh I saw that on cable, it was kind of funny, and then my friend said those characters were in this other movie, and that’s when I saw Chasing Amy.’ I’ve heard that a gratifying amount of times in my life. But I’ve been through it. They shat on Jersey Girl, and I’m like, ‘Are you kidding?!’ Yeah, maybe it was a little maudlin, but people treated it like it was an aborted fetus with a deer’s head and fucking flippers crawling at them from across the floor. Aaaarrrrggghh. It was madness. They just wanted to hate on it so much in a post-Gigli environment, and nobody wanted to talk about the fact that Gigli made six  million dollars, total. It opened to under three million bucks. And we were the movie that had to follow that movie. People were saying ‘Oh, that fucking tanked, then what’s the next one with those two in it going to do?’ We were able to open up for eight million bucks, which is more than Gigli ever made. But nobody wants to write that story, because that’s a story that’s not interesting. It’s more fun to kick somebody when they’re down, and that movie got kicked hard. It was kind of weird in the moment, because you’re like, ‘I understand you don’t want to see these two people dating in real life anymore, but she dies really early in the movie! Doesn’t that help?!’ To have to rely on that as a sales tactic when it was something we kept quiet the whole time. We were able to keep it off the radar, no scripts out. But then after the first test screening, Harvey was like, ‘Well, she’s got to die a lot earlier, and we’ve got to put that on the poster.’ Still, that movie went onto make 25 million bucks. Granted, we spent 35 making it, but we didn’t spend the 60 that Gigli did, and they made three, so I get why people are like ‘Gigli didn’t do great.’ I’ve seen lots of movies that cost 35 million make 25 million, and eventually do the rest of their business on video. Never mind the business aspect of it. I watch a lot of movies, and the older I get, the easier it is to be fuckin’ honest. Jersey Girl was just, y’know… I wanted to make my version of that movie. I’ve seen a lot of that movie, I know I’m supposed to make things like Cheech and Chong and Porky’s and shit, but there are a couple different facets to my personality. One of them, being I love melodrama, man. I love movies like that. Kitchen tables movies, ‘n shit. I’ve seen a bunch. I don’t know what movie critics saw when they were reviewing Jersey Girl. The first time on Mallrats, it was devastating. I was just like, ‘How will I live? I should really put the gun in my mouth and pull the trigger. I lost somebody six million dollars, and the critics said I betrayed them all. By the time I got to Jersey Girl, I didn’t take it nearly as hard. It sucked, but what movie did they see? I tried to really figure that out. When I got to Cop Out, it was the same fucking routine again. Literally, it’s the same review for each movie. After Clerks, they told me I shouldn’t make Mallrats. I should be doing shit like Clerks, and how dare I not? After Jersey Girl, they said I shouldn’t be making that. I should be making movies like Dogma and Chasing Amy and how dare I not? After fucking Cop Out, they said I shouldn’t be making that, and I should be making movies like Chasing Amy and how dare I not? It’s the same fucking review, dude. I used to read them all. It gets to a point where it’s so ridiculous. They try to make that the truth. They try to make that the common consensus. But it’s not the common consensus. I only know this now because I have more readers than these people.

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