Kevin Patrick Smith (born August 2, 1970) is an American screenwriter, writer, film director, actor and comic book writer. He is also the founder of View Askew Productions along with Scott Mosier. Smith's films are often set in his home state of New Jersey, and while not strictly sequential, do feature crossover plot elements, character references, and a shared canon: the View Askewniverse.
Initially, the film received an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, solely for the graphic language. Miramax hired Alan Dershowitz to defend the film, and at an appeals screening, a "jury" consisting of members of the National Association of Theater Owners reversed the MPAA's decision, and the film was given an R rating instead.
Smith's second film didn't fare as well as his first. Mallrats received a critical drubbing and earned merely $2.2 million at the box office, despite playing on more than 500 screens. The film marked Jason Lee's debut as a leading man. While it later found its audience on home video, earning the title "cult classic", Smith has said of the movie "It was a six million dollar casting call for Chasing Amy."
Widely hailed as one of Smith's best films, Chasing Amy marked what Quentin Tarantino called "a quantum leap forward" for Smith. Starring Mallrats alumni Jason Lee, Joey Lauren Adams and Ben Affleck, the $250,000 film earned $12 million at the box office and wound up on a number of critics' year-end best lists, and won two Independent Spirit Awards (screenplay and supporting actor for Lee).
Smith's next film, Dogma, had an all-star cast and found itself mired in controversy. The religious-themed comedy, which starred a post-Good Will Hunting Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, Alan Rickman, Linda Fiorentino, and Smith regulars Jason Lee and Jason Mewes, raised the ire of the Catholic League due largely to a reference about the Virgin Mary having post-Jesus intercourse with her husband, Joseph. Smith received over ten thousand pieces of protest/hate mail (some of which were showcased on the film's official website) and three death threats.
The film debuted at the 1999 Cannes International Film Festival, out of competition. Released on 800 screens in November 1999, the $10 million film earned $30 million.
After the controversy surrounding Dogma, Smith said he wanted to make a movie that couldn't be attacked for its content. Focusing the spotlight on two characters who'd appeared in supporting roles in his previous four films, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back featured an all-star cast, with many familiar faces returning from Smith's first four films. The $20 million film earned $30 million at the box office and received mixed reviews from the critics. It was meant to be the film that closed the book on the "Askewniverse" - the Jersey-based, interconnected quintet of movies written and directed by Smith.
Jersey Girl was meant to mark a new direction in Smith's career. However, the film took a critical beating as it was seen as a post-Gigli Bennifer movie (also starring George Carlin and Liv Tyler) . Budgeted at $35 million, it earned only $25 million.
Clerks II marked one more trip into the Askewniverse, Smith resurrected the Dante and Randal characters from his first film and looked in on them ten years later. Roundly criticized before its release, the film went on to win favorable reviews as well as two awards (the Audience Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival and the Orbit Dirtiest Mouth Award at the MTV Movie Awards). It marked Smith's third trip to the Cannes International Film Festival, where Clerks II received an eight minute standing ovation. The $5 million dollar film, starring Jeff Anderson, Brian O'Halloran, Rosario Dawson, Jason Mewes, Jennifer Schwalbach and Smith himself - reprising his role as Silent Bob - earned $25 million.
Rogen briefly commented on the issue to MTV on June 19, 2008. "It's a really filthy movie. I hear they are having some problems getting an R rating from an NC-17 rating, which is never good." He concluded with "They [fight against] sex stuff. Isn't that weird? It's really crazy to me that 'Hostel' is fine, with people gouging their eyes out and shit like that, but you can't show two people having sex — that's too much.
The film is scheduled for release on October 31, 2008.
In 2001, he appeared in friend Jeff Anderson's Now You Know. In 2003, Smith appeared in a cameo role as coroner Jack Kirby in the film Daredevil. In 2006, he voiced the Moose in the CGI cartoon Doogal.
In 2007, Smith appeared in three films as an actor. He had his first starring role in a film he didn't write or direct, co-starring as Sam in the film Catch and Release, starring Jennifer Garner. The performance earned him many favorable critical notices. Later that year, he had a small part as a hacker called The Warlock in the fourth installment of the Die Hard franchise, Live Free or Die Hard for which he again received strong critical notices. At year's end, he appeared briefly in friend and fellow writer-director Richard Kelly's Southland Tales, in which he played the legless conspiracy theorist General Simon Theory. That same year, Smith also did voicework for the CGI film TMNT as a diner chef.
Smith has also done small roles on television in shows such as Law & Order, Veronica Mars, Joey, "Degrassi: The Next Generation", and Yes, Dear (in Yes, Dear he also reprised his role as Silent Bob, which was simply him standing in one spot smoking a cigarette and saying nothing as the end credits rolled).
A life-long comic book fan, Smith's early forays into comic books dealt with previously established View Askew characters, and were published by Oni Press. He wrote a short Jay and Silent Bob story about Walt Flanagan's dog in Oni Double Feature #1, and followed it with a Bluntman and Chronic story in Oni Double Feature #12.
He followed these with a series of Clerks comics. The first was simply Clerks: The Comic Book, which told of Randal's attempts to corner the market on Star Wars toys. The second was Clerks: Holiday Special, where Dante and Randal discover that Santa Claus lives in an apartment between the Quick Stop and RST Video. Third was Clerks: The Lost Scene, showing what happened inside Poston's Funeral Parlor. (This story was later animated in the TV series style and included as an extra on the 10th Anniversary Clerks DVD.)
Smith has written a comic mini-series Chasing Dogma, which tells the story of Jay and Silent Bob between the films Chasing Amy and Dogma. He has also written the trade paperback Bluntman and Chronic, published by Image, which purports to be a collection of the three issues of the series done by Holden McNeil and Banky Edwards (of Chasing Amy). It includes a color reprinting of the story from Oni Double Feature #12, purported to be an early appearance by McNeil and Edwards.
These stories have all been collected in Tales From the Clerks (Graphitti Designs, ISBN 0936211784), which also includes a new "Clerks" story tying in to the Clerks 2 material, and the story from Oni Double Feature #1. They were previously collected by Image Comics in three separate volumes, one each for Clerks, Chasing Dogma and Bluntman and Chronic.
Smith makes occasional mention of his desire to do a comicbook one-shot of Bartleby and Loki (from Dogma) and the story behind how they got kicked out of heaven, as well as a comic-only sequel to Mallrats called Mallrats 2: Die Hard in a Mall announced all the way back in August 1998. In 1999, he won a Harvey Award, for Best New Talent in comic books.
Kevin Smith followed this by jumping to DC Comics, producing a 15-issue tenure on Green Arrow that saw the return of Oliver Queen from the dead and the introduction of Mia Dearden, a teenage girl who would become Speedy after Smith's run had ended.
Smith returned to Marvel for two mini-series: Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do and Daredevil/Bullseye: The Target. The former is six issues long, but after the third issue was published two months after the initially scheduled release date, the final issues were delayed for at least three years, prompting Marvel to release an "in case you missed it" reprinting of the first three issues as one book prior to the remaining issues' release. The delay in part was due to Smith's movie production schedule (in this case, work on Jersey Girl and Clerks II) causing him to shelf completion of the mini-series until the films were completed.
He was announced as the writer of an ongoing Black Cat series and Amazing Spider-Man' in early to mid-2002. However, because of the fatal delays on Evil That Men Do and The Target, the plan was switched so that Smith would start a third Spider-Man title (originally planned for then-ASM writer J. Michael Straczynski), and even this plan was eventually abandoned and the title (by then known as Marvel Knights Spider-Man) launched, in 2004, by Mark Millar instead.
While the Spider-Man/Black Cat mini-series was ultimately completed, Daredevil/Bullseye: The Target remains unfinished, with one issue published. As of May 2007, Marvel and Kevin Smith have indicated that there are no plans for the mini-series to ever be completed.
Smith is reportedly going to be writing the limited series Batman: Cacophony (with art by friend Walt Flanagan) that will run November 2008 through January 2009. As announced at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, the series will reportedly feature the villains Onomatopoeia (a character created by Smith during his run at Green Arrow), Joker and Victor Zsasz.
In 2005, he served as executive producer on the Steve James documentary Reel Paradise. In 2006, he was the executive producer on the Sundance documentary Small Town Gay Bar, directed by Malcolm Ingram.
Currently Smith is serving as executive producer on the indie film, Diary of a Junkie. A mockumentary written, directed, and starring new comer Brandon Bennett, Diary takes a look at the life of a junkie who lives in an abandoned hotel, and works as a janitor during the day to support his habit. The project is currently being delayed due to budget issues. The project has gained attention via myspace due to Bennett's realistic portrayal of a drug addict.
For a time, Smith worked on a script for a Superman movie. He did a couple of drafts but his script was dropped when Tim Burton was hired to direct. Burton brought his own people to work on the project. Smith still sees the whole experience on working on the Superman project as a positive one though, since, in his own words he was well paid and it was a lot of fun. In the end, neither Smith's nor Burton's vision for Superman was filmed. Years later Smith noted the coincidental similarity between a scene in one of his comics and a scene in Burton's remake of Planet of the Apes.
In the 2007 Direct-to-DVD animation release of Superman: Doomsday, Smith has a cameo as an onlooker in a crowd. After Superman defeats The Toyman's giant mechanical robot, Smith scoffs, "Yeah, like we really needed him to defeat that giant spider. Heh. Lame!" This was an obvious reference to a giant spider that producer Jon Peters of the Superman movie wanted Smith to put in the movie when he was attached, that was later put into another movie tied to Peters called Wild Wild West.
In 2004, Smith wrote a screenplay for a new film version of The Green Hornet. The project however died after Smith's longtime producing partner Scott Mosier said he didn't want to produce something with such a big budget, and without Mosier producing, Smith no longer wanted to direct the movie and the script was thrown out. A new screenplay for the movie has been written by (and will star) Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno lead Seth Rogen.
Smith appears with Marvel Comics guru Stan Lee in "Marvel Then & Now: An Evening With Stan Lee and Joe Quesada, hosted by Kevin Smith". The film is similar in tone to the Evening With Kevin Smith series. Proceeds from the sale of the film benefit the Hero Initiative, a charitable organization that aids ill or aging comic book creators.
In 2008, Genius Productions will release a third Q&A DVD Kevin Smith: Sold Out, which was filmed during Smith's Q&A on his 37th birthday, August 2, 2007, at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ.
There have been several episodes with guest stars filling in for Scott Mosier. These include Kevin's wife, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, in episodes 20, 22 and 23, as well as Kevin's friends Jason Mewes (Episodes 16, 36, 44), Walt Flanagan (Episodes 13, 14, 24, 25, 34, 35, 50, 59, 60, 61), Malcolm Ingram (Episodes 14, 24, 25) and Bryan Johnson (Episodes 26, 33, 34, 35, 59, 60, 61) and his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith for the Father's Day episode, number 54.
SModcast 37 served as a milestone in the history of the program (37 being an important/popular number in the View Askewniverse; particularly in the film Clerks) . To celebrate this, Smith and Mosier recorded their longest SModcast to date, lasting an incredible 'one hour and forty-four minutes'; twice the length of a normal episode.
After the 44th episode, SModcast took an 11 week hiatus. This was due to the fact that Smith and Mosier were in production of their latest film Zack and Miri Make a Porno. SModcast resumed on April 6th.
In 2005, Miramax Books released Smith's first tome, Silent Bob Speaks, a collection of previously published essays (most from Arena) dissecting pop culture, the movie-making business, and Smith's personal life.
His second book, My Boring-Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith, published by Titan Books, was another collection of previously published essays (this time blogs from Smith's website www.silentbobspeaks.com) and reached #32 on the New York Times Best Sellers List.
After being delayed to May, Clerks: The Animated Series aired only two episodes, out of order, before being cancelled as a result of poor ratings. The six produced episodes were released on DVD in 2001, marking one of the first occasions in which a very short-lived TV series found success in the DVD format.
After the series was cancelled Smith planned on turning it into a major motion picture. While that film was never made, Smith has stated that what would have been the Clerks animated film became Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.
From July 2006 on, Smith has guest reviewed on the television show Ebert & Roeper three times, in place of the recovering Roger Ebert. These spots have been notable for the arguments between Smith and Richard Roeper over certain films, with Smith often citing Roeper's poor review of Jersey Girl to discredit his review of the film at hand. On his most recent appearance Smith compared Craig Brewer's Black Snake Moan to the works of William Faulkner.
In early 2005, Smith appeared in three episodes of the Canadian-made Degrassi: The Next Generation television show. In the episodes, Smith, portraying a fictionalized version of himself, visited the school to work on the (fictional) film Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh!. Smith wrote all his dialogue for the shows he appeared in. All three episodes were collected on a DVD entitled "Jay and Silent Bob Do Degrassi". Smith and Mewes also appeared in 2 more episodes the following season, when they returned to Degrassi for the Toronto premiere of the fictional Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh! movie.
In addition to appearing on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Kevin Smith is an avid fan of the original Degrassi series, Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High and references to the original are present in some of his early films.
Smith directed the pilot for a CW network show called Reaper. Tv.com's summary of the show is "A twenty-something slacker finally scores a job as the devil's bounty hunter." He describes it as "less Brimstone or Dead Like Me and more like Shaun of the Dead than anything else". He also goes on to say that the reason he took the job is that he has always wanted to direct something he did not write, but never had an interest in doing it on the big screen. He has since said he'll never do it again.
At the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that Kevin Smith would write and direct an episode of the Heroes spin-off, Heroes: Origins. Smith is the first director officially announced for the series. However, the project has been indefinitely postponed due to the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike.
Smith has also cameoed in the second season premiere of the sitcom Joey, where he played himself, on an episode of Law & Order in 2000 (episode "Black, White and Blue" playing Tony's wife's nephew), Duck Dodgers (2003 as Hal Jordan, voice only) and Yes, Dear (2004, as himself and Silent Bob). Smith appeared in the second episode of season two of Veronica Mars, playing a store clerk. He stated on his webpage that Veronica Mars is some of the best television work ever produced.
In the third season of the HBO series Entourage, Michael Bay and Kevin Smith are directing and writing Aquaman 2. In reality, Smith wrote a script for the Superman Lives movie, while Bay was attached to direct a separate Superman movie. In Entourage, the characters awkwardly react with obvious disappointment at Smith's involvement. Smith has speculated that, that jab and another from season 2 may have been motivated by a book he was involved in, in 1995 where he criticized Rob Weiss and his movie Amongst Friends. At his 37th birthday Q&A in August 2007, Smith assured the audience that he was not offended by the jibe, but rather that he is always tickled when his name is mentioned on television shows. He said that whether the comments are positive or negative, his reaction is "The magic box said my name!"
Smith has an online blog, "My Boring Ass Life", that chronicles his life and work. Often brutally transparent, his blog has exposed celebrities and the inner workings of Hollywood, as well as given fans a peek into the Smith household. The majority of the site's contents were published in print as "My Boring Ass Life".
He posts almost daily at his web board where he posts new information about his films, and interacts with the fans. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back's fictional website MoviePoopShoot.com became real in 2002, converting into an entertainment website covering movies, music, comics, toys, and video games. It is now Quick Stop Entertainment (www.quickstopent.com) - the home of SModcast.
Also under the Askew Internet banner: News Askew (www.newsaskew.com) - a daily collection of news items relating to Smith, his films, and the people he's worked with.
He remains very active on MySpace and Facebook as well.
Trailer Trash (1995) was the first of these. Held at the Count Basie Theater as a benefit for the theater and hosted by Smith and Mosier, it consisted of two hours of old film trailers. This is largely held to be the first "Board" event - as Smith used his then-nascent website to spread the word about the benefit. The "Chasing Amy" gala (1997), however, set the formula that'd be followed for over a decade to come. Loyal posters on the message board at www.viewaskew.com were invited to an early screening of "Chasing Amy" at the now-defunct Middletown Multiplex. Afterwards, there was a get-together at the Broadway Grill on Broad Street in Red Bank, and Walt Flanagan opened Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash after hours for an autograph signing.
In 1998, View Askew held the first in a long series of private film festivals called Vulgarthon at the Clearview Cinemas in Red Bank, New Jersey. The sold-out event featured screenings of all of Smith's films that'd been released up to that point, as well as smaller films Smith either financed or had a hand in producing. The event was subtitled "Five Flicks, Forty Bucks".
Vulgarthon was held every other year after that, always in Red Bank (except in 2005 when it was held in Los Angeles). These events usually have fans flying in from different countries to attend. To date, there have been five Vulgarthons. The most recent, Vulgarthon 2006, featured screenings of the then-yet-to-be released Clerks II. Besides Smith himself, guests have included Brian O'Halloran, Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson, and Smith's wife Jennifer. In 1999, Smith held a one-off "Dogma" screening, benefiting the Diabetes Foundation.
In August 2007, Smith held a Birthday Prom that was board-inspired and populated as well. For the last year, Smith has been having board-based poker games and tournaments, in which members from his website's message board roll cards with Smith, Mewes, and others, usually at Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank (though, a few times, at Smith's own house). The longest game lasted from 7pm to noon the next day.
On May 20, 2007, Smith received an Honorary Associate of Letters degrees during the ceremonies surrounding the Commencement of the Class of 2007 of Brookdale Community College.
Smith's longest Q&A session took place April 2, 2005 at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey. The sold-out event was over seven hours long, took place from 8 pm through 3 am (which due to daylight saving time, was actually 4am). Following the Q&A, he opened Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash for a meet and greet with the numerous remaining audience members, which ended around 6:30 am. Smith then hopped a plane and did another Q&A at the Raue Center For The Arts in Crystal Lake, Illinois that night. Planned for 2 hours, it lasted just over 5 hours, ending a little after 1 AM Central time.
In August 2006 Kevin Smith, with the support of the Netflix Rolling Roadshow, brought Clerks back to Red Bank, New Jersey. Originally slated to be at the "Quick Stop" in Leonardo, NJ, the town board declined to grant the necessary permits for the show to go as planned. The show went forward in the Red Bank Marine Park in Red Bank a few blocks from the Secret Stash comic book store, where an estimated 3000 people gathered for the event. An impromptu Q&A led off the event with Smith taking questions from the crowd while introducing members of the original cast of "Clerks" (most being friends and family from Red Bank).