Tuesday, February 26, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 101



Smith blabs about making movies, retiring characters

By Ellen Simonson
Daily Cougar Staff

"Snootchie bootchies!"

Photo courtesy of Buena Vista Entertainment

Filmmaker Kevin Smith says he will retire the characters Jay (right, played by Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (left, played by Smith).

If this sounds familiar to you at all, you're probably quite well acquainted with the work of Kevin Smith, the writer and director of Clerks, Mallrats,
Chasing Amy and Dogma. Smith's latest project, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, is set for video and DVD release today.

The characters Jay and Silent Bob made their first appearance in 1994's Clerks as a pair of losers one garrulous, one stoic who hang around
outside a convenience store all day, selling marijuana. Their roles didn't change much throughout Smith's next films, although they had a stint as
unlikely messengers of God in Dogma.

Dogma and Chasing Amy tackled weighty topics love, sex, the nature of God. Jay and Silent Bob is a farewell to the array of characters Smith has
employed in all his films, and as such, it's fitting that it's less serious a "balls-to-the-wall comedy," as Smith puts it.

Its plot follows Jay and Silent Bob as they head to Hollywood to stop Miramax from making a film about them. There are a lot of madcap capers on the
way, including a stolen monkey, an ineffectual wildlife marshal in the form of Will Farrell, a team of young female jewel thieves in latex cat suits and
Bon Jovi's "Bad Medicine."

When it was released in theaters, the film was a disappointment to some who had grown accustomed to Smith's traditionally wry, intelligent,
dialogue-driven humor. Much of Jay and Silent Bob is sight gags and silliness, but in that context it's a triumph.

"Jay and Bob was a very, very fun movie to make," Smith said in a recent telephone interview. "Clerks was a lot of fun too, 'cause we didn't know what
we were doing." Clerks, of course, became an unlikely success story it was filmed for less than $30,000 and ended up a runaway hit. Nonetheless,
"my job is the same for all movies," Smith said. "Write the script, rehearse the actors ... I can't say it's better to have money than to not have money."

The man who plays Silent Bob is surprisingly talkative in real life low-key, sarcastic, good-natured and funny. When one reporter asked what
religion he would be if he weren't Catholic, Smith replied without missing a beat, "Satanists. They seem to get laid a lot." And he said what else he
hopes to achieve now that fame and fortune have come to him is: "Immortality. I really don't want to die."

Despite the cult following Smith has amassed with Jay, Silent Bob and the rest of the New Jersey "View Askewniverse," he says "there will never be
another Jay and Silent Bob movie." Smith explained this burn-out-not-fade-away mentality as an attempt to "leave the party before you're the last one
there. I didn't want to be Pauly Shore, you know?"

The characters may not return, but some of the actors will. Smith has been prolific in his praise of Jason Mewes, who plays Jay. When asked if he'd be
working with Mewes in the future, Smith said he hoped so. 

"When he gets his personal life sorted out, it'll be easier," Smith said, adding that Mewes will portray Jay once more in the coming Clerks animated

Smith himself, however, has no plans to act again. "No, never again. I'm done acting, particularly in my movies," he said.

For someone who's become somewhat of a stoner icon he's graced the cover of High Times, and his powers with the highly experimental "bong
saber" are highlighted in Jay and Silent Bob Smith says he's "not a big drug guy" in real life. "I'm not really a big weed guy," he said. "I can probably
count on two hands the number of times I've smoked pot."

Nonetheless, "I say legalize all the (bleepin') drugs," Smith said. "People are throwing their lives away on 'em anyway ... I think it would be great if you
could walk into the Rite Aid and pick up heroin."

Despite his household-name status, Smith remains a down-to-earth sort of guy, with a wife, a child and a comic book store in New Jersey (Jay and
Silent Bob's Secret Stash). 

And popularity hasn't swelled his head. Smith does tours of college campuses nearly every year, so watch for him at a university near you.

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