Director Kevin Smith's contributions to the pop culture and comic book lexicon are nothing short of legendary. He is most known for the creation of Jay and Silent Bob, the stoner duo that first debuted in Smith's film Clerks. He would come to expand on these characters in his films Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Although he's most known for Jay and Silent Bob, Kevin Smith's work in the comic book realm cannot be ignored. In recent years Kevin has stepped into The CW's Arrowverse, directing episodes of Supergirl and The Flash. He has also written comics for characters like Daredevil and Batman.
Screen Rant got a chance to chat with Kevin Smith at New York Comic Con 2017, where we discussed whether or not Mallrats 2 was happening, his work on The CW's Arrowverse, and what he thinks about the standalone Joker movie that is in the works.
SR: I am here with the legendary Kevin Smith. How are you, sir?
Kevin Smith: So good. I appreciate the “legendary” comment; makes me feel good.
SR: Well, you are a legend.
Kevin Smith: I don’t know. You know what, you may be right as much as, like, it’s all fiction. Lotta tall tales, making up a guy’s story. But I’m happy to be here, man. New York Comic Con again; I been going almost every year since this thing started out here.
SR: It’s my first time in New York, and I love it.
Kevin Smith: You’ve never been here before?
Kevin Smith: My Lord, it’s confusing as Hell, isn’t it?
SR: It is, but I love it.
Kevin Smith: Here’s the thing you gotta remember: it’s a grid. Everything’s a grid. So basically, your avenues, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th go this way, and then one, two, all the way up to like 200 goes that way.
SR: I only got you for like five minutes, man.
Kevin Smith: [laughs] I’m trying to give useful information.
SR: [laughs] I’m just joking. So, Mallrats?
Kevin Smith: Yes.
SR: Spinoff? Reboot?
Kevin Smith: Dead.
Kevin Smith: Yeah, as reported elsewhere, but maybe these cats don’t care about Kevin Smith anymore. But Mallrats 2 originally was a flick that I wanted to do, and then I couldn’t do it cause I didn’t own the rights, Universal did. So instead I got involved in Universal Television, and then went and pitched it to six networks. All six passed. So there’s three networks left to pitch, but I got pretty sad about the whole affair, so I put it to the side, cause I was like, “clearly this is not the time.” Instead, I picked up Jay and SIlent Bob Reboot, which is a sequel to Jay and SIlent Bob Strike Back. I was intending to shoot that in the fall, but now we shoot that in January. Well, we start prepro in January, I imagine we start shooting by February first.
SR: That’s good, that’s awesome. I’m excited about that.
Kevin Smith: So, Mallrats, dead—or just resting, we’ll see, and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot happening.
SR: I’m really stoked about that. Something else that I loved that you’ve done is your work in the Arrowverse, the CW’s Arrowverse.
Kevin Smith: Well, let’s use that term “work” very loosely. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t do much on those shows. It’s a privilege and an honor to get to go up there, because I love Supergirl, I love Flash, those are my two faves. So I’ve worked on three episodes of each, “directed”, they gave me credit for directing three episodes—well, two of Flash and one more in January, I’m gonna shoot one in January.
SR: You are coming back?
Kevin Smith: Going back to Flash. The slowest, fattest man alive directing the fastest man alive.
SR: You know what? I’d love to see Onomatopoeia. Just saying.
Kevin Smith: You and me both, and I’ve been saying it for years, but Arrow, they don’t care. [laughs] I guess it’s Marc Guggenheim, he doesn’t care. I talked to him once after a panel at the Paley Center, I was the moderator for the Paley Center CW panel at the Hollywood and Highland complex. And so afterwards, I was talking to Marc, and I was like, “hey man, fans keep saying they want me to direct an episode of [Arrow], I would love that, I wrote Green Arrow.” He knows that. And he goes, “yeah, you know, Arrow is very dark. Legends [of Tomorrow] would be good for you.” [laughs] So, I don’t think they’re ever gonna let me near Arrow, which is totally fine. I love doing Flash and Supergirl, and even though they say I direct, I’ll be honest with you—I’ve said this a zillion times, but I always wanna make it clear because maybe there’s kids in the audience going, “oh, I’ll never be able to direct Supergirl”—yes you can. Oh my God—I don’t know if you will be able to, but you can do it, it’s insanely simple.
SR: Can you give me a hint on what kind of—like, what villain you’re doing, what kind of episode you’re doing?
Kevin Smith: The Supergirl one, or The Flash?
SR: Either, both.
Kevin Smith: Flash I haven’t seen a script for, I won’t see that until Christmas, right? Cause that’s January. But the Supergirl episode I did, which was episode five of the new season, didn’t have a comic book villain to speak of. But, you know, of course, that doesn’t—every episode there’s a threat that she’s gotta deal with and stuff, this one’s just not ripped from the pages of the comics. This episode that I did—the first two I did on Supergirl were very space oriented. This one [is] very Earthbound. This season of Supergirl seems to be more grounded. Not that she’s not flying, but just—less space, more Earth.
SR: One thing I absolutely—cause I know you’re a huge DC fan—
Kevin Smith: Lemme finish, hold on. I don’t direct those episodes; I stand there and they give me credit. But really, that cast and crew, they make that show what? Twenty-two, twenty-three times a year? So I show up, if I’m lucky, twice a year—you think I could tell them anything useful? They got this down to a science.
SR: You’re legendary Kevin Smith.
Kevin Smith: No. I’ll tell them how to avoid making a movie about a walrus, but other than that there’s not much I can teach them. And the actors and the actresses know exactly what they’re doing with those characters by the time I get up there, they’ve been doing for so many episodes, so many seasons. The DP, the cinematographer, he knows exactly how to shoot that show. I remember the first episode of Flash I did, Kim Miles the DP, he’s a wonderful guy, he’s shooting a movie right now for Bob Zemeckis. So I come in, I go, “hey man, so”—we’re in the cortex, which is the main set where everything takes place, where they all sit around and ponder. I said, “we’ll go through here, come up through here, come up through here.” He goes, “oh my God, totally, we just did that last week in the cortex for episode six, but we’ll totally do it again.” And I was like, “oh, well let’s not do what we did. Alright, so how bout we come through here, and we’ll go up through here.” And he’s like, “we did that episode three this season.” So, it’s tough to tell them anything they haven’t done already. There’s no new ideas, they’ve shot that room a zillion ways to Sunday. So I show up and just be very supportive. I just tell them how much I love the show. I operate as a fan, that’s why I’m saying you can totally direct the show. I don’t know whether they’ll let you, but if you’re a fan that gets you literally halfway there.
SR: I love it. Last question for you, I know you’re a huge fan of the DC universe, and currently we’ve had a lot of information coming out. There’s going to be a standalone Joker movie, they’re not all gonna take place in the same universe. I need to know what your thought are about this.
Kevin Smith: All of ‘em are good. There’s no such thing as a bad comic book movie. Even the ones that people say are quote-unquote bad are better than no comic book movies.
SR: I agree.
Kevin Smith: I’m a forty-seven-year-old man, so I grew up in an era where there were no comic book movies. And then every once in awhile you’d get one, and it was like water in a desert. You’d get Batman in 1989, or Blade or something like that. So now, we live in an era where they’re like, “hey, we’re not even gonna do an interconnected DC universe. We’re just gonna let Martin Scorsese produce a flick where Leonardo DiCaprio might play the Joker.” That’s exciting. So, to me, I’m like, the more the merrier.
I know they’re deviating from the Marvel template of, like, “we’ll make a bunch of characters, and then a reunion movie. Buncha characters, reunion movie.” Instead, Warner Brothers seems to be going with, “well, we tried that, and we’re gonna keep doing it on the side, but we’re not gonna limit ourselves. We’re gonna do a bunch of other interesting things.” They’re trying to forge their way in the superhero space. So I think it’s interesting, I’m not against that at all.
And then you have some people—I’m a purist, so I love when things are interconnected, as well, but I grew up in an era where there was a Batman movie, there was a Superman movie, and they didn’t really reference each other. One time George Clooney was like, “this is why Superman works alone” and we got our nipples hard, we were like, “aaah, they know each other.” So now we live in a world where these movies can cross over and stuff, I’m happy to get the ones that can, but if they don’t cross ‘em over that’s totally okay with me. As long as they’re good, as long as they try.
And think about—some people get kinda crappy, like, “come on, man, these cats, they don’t know comic books.” Comic books and characters have been handed to so many creators over the years. You never know what you’re gonna get in the hands of any particular person. I still get crap for making Batman pee his pants in a Batman book once, which is, you know, kind of reducing it to something it wasn’t, but still, regardless, you gotta respect the fact that a creator can come on, maybe take that character [to] a place that you’ve never seen that character be taken. And I gotta imagine, if Martin Scorsese jumps onto a Batman movie, we’re gonna see some shit. Not bad shit, the good shit that we all dream about. Goodfellas in a DC universe movie? I’m there, take all my money.