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Smith in 2017
Kevin Patrick Smith
August 2, 1970
|Residence||Hollywood Hills, California, US|
Jennifer Schwalbach (m. 1999)
|Children||Harley Quinn Smith|
Kevin Patrick Smith (born August 2, 1970) is an American filmmaker, actor, comedian, comic book writer, author, and podcaster. He came to prominence with the low-budget comedy film Clerks (1994), which he wrote, directed, co-produced, and acted in as the character Silent Bob of stoner duo Jay and Silent Bob. Jay and Silent Bob have appeared in Smith's follow-up films Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks 2 which were set primarily in his home state of New Jersey. While not strictly sequential, the films frequently featured crossover plot elements, character references, and a shared canon described by fans as the "View Askewniverse", named after his production company View Askew Productions, which he co-founded with Scott Mosier.
Since 2011, Smith has mostly made films in the horror genre, including Red State (2011) and the comedy horror films Tusk (2014) and Yoga Hosers (2016), two in a planned series of three such films set in Canada dubbed the True North trilogy. He has also served as a director-for-hire for material he did not write, including the buddy cop action comedy Cop Out (2010) and various television series episodes.
Smith is the owner of Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash, a comic book store in Red Bank, New Jersey that is the subject of the reality-television show Comic Book Men (2012-2018). He also hosts the movie-review television show Spoilers. As a podcaster, Smith co-hosts several shows on his own SModcast Podcast Network, including SModcast, Fatman Beyond, and the live show Hollywood Babble-On. Smith is well known for participating in long, humorous Q&A sessions that are often filmed for DVD release, beginning with An Evening with Kevin Smith.
Kevin Patrick Smith was born on August 2, 1970 in Red Bank, New Jersey, the son of Grace (née Schultz), a homemaker, and Donald E. Smith, a postal worker. He has an older sister, Virginia, and an older brother, Donald Smith, Jr. He was raised in a Catholic household, in the nearby clamming town of Highlands.
As a child, Smith's days were scheduled around his father's late shifts at the post office. His father grew to despise his job, which greatly influenced Smith, who remembers his father finding it difficult on some days to get up and go to work. Smith vowed never to work at something that he did not enjoy.
Smith later attended Henry Hudson Regional High School, where as a B and C student, he would videotape school basketball games and produce sketch comedy skits in the style of Saturday Night Live. An overweight teen, he developed into a comedic observer of life in order to successfully socialize with friends and girls. After high school, Smith attended The New School in New York, but did not graduate.
On his 21st birthday, Smith went to see Richard Linklater's comedy Slacker. Smith, impressed by the fact that Linklater set and shot the film in his hometown of Austin, Texas rather than on a sound stage in a major city, was inspired to become a filmmaker, and to set films where he lived. Smith relates: "It was the movie that got me off my ass; it was the movie that lit a fire under me, the movie that made me think, "Hey, I could be a filmmaker." And I had never seen a movie like that before ever in my life." After that he built himself a library of independent filmmakers like Linklater, Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee and Hal Hartley to draw from.
Smith attended Vancouver Film School for four months, where he met longtime collaborators Scott Mosier and Dave Klein but left halfway through the course in order to save money to make his first film.
Smith moved home to New Jersey and got his old job back at a convenience store in Leonardo, and decided to set his film, Clerks, at the store, borrowing the life-in-a-day structure from the Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing. To finance the film, Smith maxed out more than a dozen credit cards and sold his much-treasured comic book collection, raising the $27,575 needed to make the film. He cast friends and acquaintances in the film's major parts. Clerks was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994, where it won the Filmmaker's Trophy. At a restaurant following the screening, Miramax executive Harvey Weinstein invited Smith to join him at his table, where he offered to buy the movie. In May 1994, it went to the Cannes International Film Festival, where it won both the Prix de la Jeunesse and the International Critics' Week Prize. Released in October 1994 in two cities, the film went on to play in 50 markets, never playing on more than fifty screens at any given time. Despite the limited release, it was a critical and financial success, earning $3.1 million. Initially, the film received an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, solely for the sexually graphic language. Miramax hired Alan Dershowitz to bring a lawsuit against the MPAA, 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. The film had a profound effect on the independent film community, and according to producer and author John Pierson, is considered one of the two most influential film debuts in the 1990s, along with The Brothers McMullen.
Smith's second film, Mallrats, which marked Jason Lee's debut as a leading man, did not fare as well as expected. It received a critical drubbing and earned merely $2.2 million at the box office, despite playing on more than 500 screens. Despite failing at the box office during its theatrical run, Mallrats proved more successful in the home video market.
Widely hailed as Smith's best film, 1997's 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 wound up on a number of critics' year-end best lists, and won two Independent Spirit Awards (for Screenplay and Supporting Actor for Lee). The film received some criticism from some members of the lesbian community, who felt that it reinforced the perception that all lesbians merely needed to find the right man. Smith, whose brother Donald Smith, Jr. is gay, found this accusation frustrating, as he has endeavored to be an LGBT-conscious filmmaker, believing that sexuality is more fluid, with social taboos, and not sexual desire, preventing more people from expressing bisexuality.
Smith's fourth film, Dogma, featured an all-star cast and found itself mired in controversy. The religious-themed 1999 comedy, which starred a post-Good Will Hunting Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, as well as Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, George Carlin, Alan Rickman, Linda Fiorentino, and Smith regulars Jason Lee and Jason Mewes, raised criticism by the Catholic League. The film debuted at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, out of competition. Released on 800 screens in November 1999, the $10 million film earned $30 million.
Smith then focused the spotlight on two characters who had 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. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon appear as themselves filming a mock sequel to Good Will Hunting. The $20 million film earned $30 million at the box office and received mixed reviews from the critics.
Jersey Girl with Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, George Carlin and Raquel Castro, his first film outside of the View Askewniverse, was meant to mark a new direction in Smith's career. However, the film took a critical beating as it was seen as, in Smith's own words, "Gigli 2", due to the fact that it co-starred Affleck and his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez. Despite Smith heavily re-editing the film to reduce Lopez's role to just a few scenes, the film did poorly at the box office. Budgeted at $35 million, it earned only $36 million.
In the 2006 sequel, Clerks II, Smith revisited the Dante and Randal characters from his first film for what was his final visit to the View Askewniverse. 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 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.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno was originally announced in March 2006 as Smith's second non-Askewniverse film. The film, which began shooting on January 18, 2008 in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, and wrapped on March 15, 2008, stars Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks as the title characters who decide to make a low-budget pornographic film to solve their money problems. The film, which was released on October 31, 2008, ran into many conflicts getting an "R" rating, with Rogen stating:
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. 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.
Smith took the film through the MPAA's appeals process and received an R rating without having to make any further edits. Zack and Miri Make a Porno was considered a box office "flop" in part because of "tepid media advertising for a movie with the title PORNO", and, in the aftermath of the film's low performance, the business relationship between Smith and producer Harvey Weinstein became "frayed". Zack and Miri Make a Porno opened #2 behind High School Musical 3: Senior Year with $10,682,000 from 2,735 theaters with an average of $3,906. The "bankable" Rogen experienced his "worst box-office opening ever". In an interview with Katla McGlynn of the Huffington Post, Smith observed:
I was depressed, man. I wanted that movie to do so much better. I'm sitting there thinking 'That's it, that's it, I'm gone, I'm out. The movie didn't do well and I killed Seth Rogen's career! This dude was on a roll until he got in with the likes of me. I'm a career killer! Judd's [Apatow] going to be pissed, the whole Internet's going to be pissed because they all like Seth, and the only reason they like me anymore is because I was involved with Seth! And now I fuckin' ruined that. It was like high school. I was like, 'I'm a dead man. I'll be the laughing stock.'
It was announced in 2009 that Smith had signed on to direct a buddy-cop comedy starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan called A Couple of Dicks and written by the Cullen Brothers. Due to controversy surrounding the original title, it was changed to A Couple of Cops, before reverting its original title, A Couple of Dicks, due to negative reaction, before finally settling on the title Cop Out. The film, which was shot between June and August 2009, involved a pair of veteran cops tracking down a stolen vintage baseball card, and was released on February 26, 2010 to poor reviews; it was the first film that Smith has directed but not written. Cop Out opened at number 2 at the box office and was mired in controversy, mostly over reported conflicts he had on the set of the film with lead actor Bruce Willis; marking Smith's last time that he would work with a major studio, leading him to return to his independent film roots.
In September 2010, Smith started work on Red State, an independently-financed horror film loosely inspired by the Westboro Baptist Church and their Pastor Fred Phelps. Film producers and moguls Bob and Harvey Weinstein who had thus far been involved in the distribution of most of Smith's films, with the exception of Mallrats and Cop Out, declined to support Red State. The film stars Michael Parks, John Goodman and Melissa Leo. Smith had indicated that he would auction off rights to the $4 million film at a controversial event following the debut screening of the film at Sundance but instead, kept the rights to the film himself and self-distributed the picture "under the SModcast Pictures" banner. The premiere in January 2011 drew protests from a half-dozen members of the church, along with many more who counter-protested Westboro members. He further explained his decision as a way to return to an era when marketing a film did not cost four times as much as the film itself, a situation he has described as "both decadent and deadening". Red State was a box office disappointment, earning $1,104,682 against a budget of $4 million, and opened to poor reviews, with the consensus of critics reporting (according to the critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes) that "Red State is an audacious and brash affair that ultimately fails to provide competent scares or thrills." In April 2011, Smith revealed that Red State had already made its budget back with the film making $1 million on the first leg of the tour, $1.5 million from a handful of foreign sales and $3 million from a domestic distribution deal for VOD.
After Red State, Smith has said in the past he would retire from directing and announced his last movie would be Clerks III. However, he stated in December 2013 that he would continue to make movies but only ones that were uniquely his, as opposed to generic ones that "anybody could make".
In 2013 Smith directed a horror film called Tusk, which was inspired by a story Smith and Scott Mosier read about a Gumtree ad for a man who rents out a room in his house for free, on the condition that the respondent dresses as a walrus for two hours per day. The project began pre-production in September 2013. Shooting began on November 4, 2013, and wrapped on November 22, 2013. The film was released on September 19, 2014. It has received mixed reviews.
Before the release of Tusk, Smith wrote the script for a spin-off of the film, which he titled Yoga Hosers. Yoga Hosers began filming in August 2014 and was released in 2016. It stars Smith's daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, and Lily-Rose Depp, reprising their two minor characters from Tusk, alongside Johnny Depp again playing his inspector character from the earlier film.
Smith revealed at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con that he had written the script for a film called Moose Jaws, which he described as "Jaws, with a moose", and which is planned to be the third and final film in his True North trilogy.
In June 2017, Smith started shooting Killroy Was Here, a horror film based on the graffiti phenomenon that he will direct based on a script co-written by him and Andrew McElfresh, marking the first time he will share writing credit on one of his movies. The script is a retooling of their Anti-Claus movie, which was initially cancelled after the release of Krampus due to the similar story. The film crew is mostly made up of students of the Ringling College of Art and Design, with shooting continuing over every semester break.
With the exception of Mallrats, all of Smith's films until 2008 were financed and/or distributed by Harvey Weinstein, in conjunction with his brother Bob, via their companies Miramax and The Weinstein Company. In 2008 their relationship soured due to the financial failure of Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which Smith blamed on a lack of marketing. Nonetheless, they did keep discussing potential funding for other of Smith's projects, and The Weinstein Company co-produced Smith's 2016 talk show Geeking Out. Smith also named the independent production company he created for the 2011 film Red State "The Harvey Boys" in Weinstein's honor. Smith is considered one of the writer-directors whose career Weinstein nurtured, a group that also includes Quentin Tarantino and David O. Russell.
Soon after allegations of rape and sexual assault by Weinstein first publicly surfaced in October 2017, Smith stated on Twitter that he was "ashamed" of his former business relationship with Weinstein. On his Hollywood Babble-On podcast, he noted that "My entire career is tied up with the man", and added "No fucking movie is worth all this." He lamented that in addition to working with Weinstein, "I sat out there talking about this man like he was a hero, like he was my friend, like he was my father." He then pledged to donate all his future residuals from his Weinstein-produced films to the non-profit organization Women in Film, which advocates for the inclusion of more women in film production.
In 1997, Smith was hired by New Line to rewrite Overnight Delivery, which was expected to be a blockbuster teen movie. Smith's then-girlfriend Joey Lauren Adams almost took the role of Ivy in the movie, instead of the female lead in Chasing Amy. Eventually she lost out to Reese Witherspoon, and Overnight Delivery was quietly released directly to video in April 1998. Smith was not credited for his contributions. He has said that the only scene which really used his dialogue was the opening scene, which includes a reference to long-time Smith friend Bryan Johnson.
Smith has been a regular contributor to Arena magazine. In 2005, Miramax Books released Smith's first book, Silent Bob Speaks, a collection of previously published essays (most from Arena) dissecting pop culture, the movie 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 silentbobspeaks.com) and reached No. 32 on The New York Times Best Sellers List. Titan released Smith's third book Shootin' the Sh*t with Kevin Smith: The Best of the SModcast on September 29, 2009.
A lifelong 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 No. 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 then wrote the 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 No. 12, purported to be an early appearance by Chasing Amy characters Holden McNeil and Banky Edwards. These stories have all been collected in Tales From the Clerks (Graphitti Designs, ISBN 0-936211-78-4), which also includes a new Clerks story tying into 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. In 1999, Smith won a Harvey Award, for Best New Talent in comic books.
In 1999, Smith wrote "Guardian Devil", an eight-issue story arc of Daredevil for Marvel Comics, which was illustrated by Joe Quesada. Smith followed this by producing a 15-issue tenure on Green Arrow for DC Comics 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, both of which debuted in 2002. The former was 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 shelve completion of the mini-series until the films were completed. He was announced as the writer of an ongoing Black Cat series and The Amazing Spider-Man in early to mid-2002. However, because of the delays on Evil That Men Do and The Target, the plan was switched so that Smith would start a third Spider-Man title, launched in 2004 by Mark Millar instead. While Spider-Man/Black Cat was ultimately completed in 2005, Daredevil/Bullseye: The Target remains unfinished, with one issue published.
Smith wrote the limited series Batman: Cacophony, with art by friend Walt Flanagan, which ran from November 2008 to January 2009. The series featured the villains Onomatopoeia (a character created by Smith during his run at Green Arrow), The Joker, Maxie Zeus, and Victor Zsasz. The trade paperback of Batman: Cacophony became a New York Times Bestseller in their Hardcover Graphic Books section.
In 2010 Smith subsequently wrote a six-issue Batman mini-series called The Widening Gyre for DC drawn by Walt Flanagan. The series was initially planned as 12 issues, with a long break planned between issues six and seven. After issue six was published, Smith and Flanagan's work on their reality show, Comic Book Men, extended this planned break further than expected. It was decided in the interim to release the remaining issues as a separate series to be called Batman: Bellicosity, scheduled for 2016 but as of yet remains unpublished.
In 2000, Smith and Mosier teamed up with television writer David Mandel to develop an animated television show based on Clerks called Clerks: The Animated Series that aired on ABC in May 2000. It aired only two episodes before being canceled as a result of poor ratings. The six produced episodes were released on DVD in 2001.
During the mid-1990s Smith directed and starred in a series of commercials for MTV, alongside Jason Mewes, in which they reprised their roles as Jay and Silent Bob. In 1998 he directed Mewes as "Gary Lamb – Ground Activist" in a series of Nike commercials. That same year, he also shot commercials for Diet Coke. Two years later, he directed Star Wars toy commercials for Hasbro. He has also directed and starred in commercials for Panasonic. In 2004 he shot a public service announcement for the Declare Yourself organization, which promotes youth voter registration. These advertisements brought Jay and Silent Bob out of their "semi-retirement."
Smith directed the pilot for The CW supernatural comedy series Reaper. He described it as "less Brimstone or Dead Like Me and more like Shaun of the Dead than anything else". He went on to say that the reason he took the job was that he has always wanted to direct something he did not write, but never had an interest in doing it on the big screen.
Smith produced and appeared in the AMC reality television series Comic Book Men, which is set inside Smith's comic book shop, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash, in Red Bank, New Jersey. The show ran for seven seasons, from 2012 to 2018.
In 1996, Smith worked on a script for a planned Superman film tentatively titled Superman Lives. He wrote several drafts but was dropped from the project when Tim Burton was hired to direct and brought his own team to write the script. (Burton's attempt was later abandoned as well.) Smith publicly discussed his experience working on the script at a Q&A session at Clark University shown in the 2002 DVD An Evening with Kevin Smith. In the Q&A, he said that the experience was a positive one overall, since he loves the character of Superman and was paid well. However, he listed a number of unusual demands that producer Jon Peters, who was in charge of the project, made, including that Superman not be shown flying or wearing tights, and that he should battle a giant spider at the end of the film. Smith then noted that he went to see the 1999 film Wild Wild West, which Peters produced, and was surprised to see a giant mechanical spider at the end of the film, presumably Peters' handiwork. Smith's description of his experience gained a life of its own, with film critic A.O. Scott of The New York Times calling it "extraordinary" in 2011. In the 2007 direct-to-DVD animated film Superman: Doomsday, Smith has a cameo as an onlooker in a crowd which alludes to this anecdote: after Superman defeats The Toyman's giant mechanical robot, Smith scoffs, "Yeah, like we really needed him to defeat that giant spider. Heh. Lame!"
In the early '00s, Smith was said to be writing "Fletch Won", a prequel to the Chevy Chase film "Fletch", and was set to direct with Jason Lee in the lead role, but the plans ultimately came to nothing with Smith citing Miramax not seeing the box office appeal of Lee as a reason for its abandonment. For a time Ben Affleck was also considered for the role, with Chase framing the action as the narrator, looking back on his early adventures. The Region 2 DVD release of "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" lists "Fletch Won" as part of Smith and Lee's forthcoming credits.
In 2004, Smith wrote a screenplay for a film adaptation of The Green Hornet, and announced that he intended to direct the film as well. The project, however, died after the poor box office of Jersey Girl. Smith's screenplay was later turned into a Green Hornet comic book miniseries. (A live-action film adaptation, The Green Hornet, was eventually released in 2011, with no involvement from Smith.)
At the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con, it was announced that Smith would write and direct an episode of the Heroes spin-off, Heroes: Origins, but the project was canceled because of the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike.
Smith planned to direct a hockey drama-comedy based on the song "Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song)" by Warren Zevon. The song, which is about a hockey player famous for fighting in the rink, was co-written by author Mitch Albom, who worked with Smith on the project. Smith announced at the 2011 Sundance premiere of Red State that Hit Somebody would be the last movie he ever directs, and that he would continue to tell stories in other media. In August 2011 Hit Somebody was announced as a two-part film titled Hit Somebody: Home and Hit Somebody: Away with part one being rated PG-13 and part 2 being rated R, but later decided to make it one movie again. In December 2012 Smith announced that, due to difficulties finding funding, Hit Somebody would now be a six-part miniseries on an as-yet unknown network. Smith announced in March 2015 that Hit Somebody would film in September 2015 until Christmas 2015, but this did not happen.
On March 12, 2015 Smith revealed he would film Clerks III in May 2015, followed in early 2016 by Moose Jaws and Anti-Claus (a story inspired by the Krampus tradition). which he confirmed the next day.
On April 8, 2015, Smith stated that Mallrats 2 would instead be his next film. Smith said "we were talking about initially shooting 'Clerks III' this summer and then we were going to get to 'Mallrats' in the beginning of 2016. And then it jumped into 2015, where we were going to shoot 'Clerks' and then hopefully 'Mallrats' before the end of the year. But now, based on a fucking mall that we all dig that will be going away, the priority has become 'Mallrats.' So the next fucking movie I'm making is 'Mallrats 2.'" A majority of the cast from the original film (sixteen of the eighteen) signed on to appear in the sequel. In June 2016, Smith revealed that because Universal owns the rights to the Mallrats title that a sequel would not be made; instead, it would be turned into a 10-episode TV series produced by Universal Television. Also in June, Smith confirmed that the entire cast from the film would reprise their roles in the series. Towards the end of the month, Smith announced that he had closed a deal with Universal Television to pitch the series to networks and streaming services in August.
In January 2016, Smith wrapped production on a pilot episode for a planned half-hour comedy series, Hollyweed. Smith wrote and directed the pilot, which starred Smith and Donnell Rawlings, along with Kristin Bauer van Straten, Frankie Shaw, Jason Mewes, Ralph Garman, Adam Brody, Hina Abdullah, Pete Pietrangeliand and Harley Quinn Smith. The pilot episode was not picked up. In July 2018, the episode was released as the inaugural pilot on the new TV crowdsourcing site Rivit TV, in hopes of Hollyweed getting funded as a web series.
In May 2016, Smith announced that he was adapting the 1984 film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension for television through MGM and stated that he and the company were in the process of shopping it around to a network. In July 2016, it was revealed that Amazon Studios was close to closing a deal to produce the series. However, in November 2016 during a Facebook Live Stream, Smith revealed that he would be walking away from the series after MGM filed a lawsuit against the original creators; although Smith stated that he would be willing to come back on board if they wanted him.
On February 10, 2017, Smith announced the cancellation of Clerks III, as lead actor Jeff Anderson dropped out of the project three months before shooting. This, combined with trouble of getting the Mallrats 2 series off the ground, inspired Smith to write and direct a Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back sequel instead, titled Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. That movie was scheduled to be filmed in September 2017, but shooting has not started yet as of June 2018. He hopes to start filming in November 2018 for a tentative 2019 release.
As an actor, Smith is known for his role as Silent Bob in Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks II. He made a cameo appearance in the horror film Scream 3, and was featured along with Jason Mewes in several Degrassi: The Next Generation episodes, including a special, "Jay and Silent Bob Do Degrassi" (also as a fictional version of himself).
In 2001, he appeared in friend Jeff Anderson's film Now You Know.
In early 2005, Smith appeared in three episodes of the Canadian-made teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation. Smith wrote his own dialogue for the episodes. 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. 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! All three episodes were collected on a DVD entitled Jay and Silent Bob Do Degrassi. Smith and Mewes reappeared in two episodes the following season, in which they returned to Degrassi for the Toronto premiere of the movie. Smith also appeared in the 2009 made-for-TV movie Degrassi Goes Hollywood.
In 2006 Smith appeared in a number of films. He co-starred as Sam in the film Catch and Release, starring Jennifer Garner. Later that year, he appeared as a hacker called The Warlock in the fourth installment of the Die Hard franchise, Live Free or Die Hard. 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. He was also seen as Rusty (a friend of lead Jason Mewes) in Bottoms Up with co-star Paris Hilton.
Smith cameoed in the second-season premiere of the sitcom Joey, where he played himself, on an episode of Law & Order (2000, episode "Black, White and Blue"), Duck Dodgers (2003 as Hal Jordan, voice only) and Yes, Dear (2004, as himself and as Silent Bob behind the end credits). Smith appeared in the second episode of season two of Veronica Mars, playing a store clerk. He stated on his Web site that Veronica Mars is some of the best television work ever produced.
Smith does a voice cameo in Superman: Doomsday as a bystander. He also had a cameo appearance as "Bob the Security Guard" alongside Jason Mewes as "Jay the Security Guard" on The Flash episode, "Null and Annoyed," which he also directed.
Smith also appears as himself in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Zombies, as a cameo in the map, Rave in the Redwoods.
Smith has appeared in five Q&A documentaries: An Evening with Kevin Smith (2002), An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder (2006), Sold Out: A Threevening with Kevin Smith (2007), Kevin Smith: Too Fat for 40 (2010) and Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell (2012). All five have been released on DVD, and the last two were also broadcast on the cable channel Epix.
The first is a collection of filmed appearances at American colleges, while the sequel was shot at two Q&A shows held in Toronto and London. The third and fourth were filmed in Red Bank, New Jersey at the Count Basie Theater on Smith's 37th and 40th birthdays, respectively. The fifth was filmed in Austin, Texas at the Paramount Theater. The first two DVD sets were released by Sony Home Video, while the third was put out by the Weinstein Company.
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.
After an August 2001 appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to promote Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Smith returned to the show for monthly segments as a correspondent. The "Roadside Attractions" segments featured Smith traveling to random locations around the country and showcased places like Howe Caverns in upstate New York and the Fish Market in Seattle. At least twelve of these segments were aired, and Smith regularly appeared on the program to introduce the pre-taped pieces. Five of the segments were also included on the Jersey Girl DVD.
In 2006, Smith guest reviewed on Ebert & Roeper, in place of Roger Ebert, who was recovering from thyroid cancer treatment. These spots were notable for the arguments between Smith and Richard Roeper over certain films, with Smith often citing Roeper's negative review of Jersey Girl to discredit his review of the film at hand. On one appearance, Smith compared Craig Brewer's Black Snake Moan to the works of William Faulkner.
Smith was featured as one of the interview subjects in This Film Is Not Yet Rated, a 2006 documentary about the Motion Picture Association of America's process of rating films. Smith discussed how Jersey Girl receiving an R rating, on the basis of a conversation two characters in that film have about masturbation, which MPAA head Joan Graves told Smith she would not feel comfortable having her 16-year-old daughter watching. Smith's response was to question whether Graves' daughter had not already masturbated or learned about masturbation, arguing that his film was not teaching 16-year-olds anything they did not already know.
Smith teamed with AMC and The Weinstein Company to co-host a late night talk show with Greg Grunberg, Geeking Out, which premiered in July 2016, covering San Diego Comic-Con with 8 subsequent episodes running weekly.
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 4 am). 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 on a plane and did another Q&A at the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake, Illinois, that night. Planned for two hours, it lasted just over five hours, ending a little after 1 am Central time.
Smith has a website, The View Askewniverse, which opened in late 1995. He also has an online blog, "My Boring-Ass Life", the contents of which were published in a book by the same name. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back's fictional website MoviePoopShoot.com became real in 2002. It became Quick Stop Entertainment and was the home of SModcast until it was sold and SModcast moved to a dedicated website SModcast.com, which also carries the other SModcast network podcasts in early 2010.
On February 5, 2007, Smith and Scott Mosier began SModcast, a regular comedy podcast. SModcast has since spawned into a podcast network called the SModcast podcast network which began in 2010, its own digital radio station called SModcast Internet Radio (S.I.R) in 2011 and an internet television channel SModCo Internet Television (S.I.T.) in 2012.
On June 4, 2012, Smith premiered his Hulu-exclusive weekly series Spoilers, described as an "anti-movie review" series, where Smith takes a group of people to a new movie and has them comment on what they've seen. Other segments on the show include interviews with celebrities, and the "Criterion Lounge", where Smith discusses a Criterion Collection movie available on DVD and the Hulu Plus service.
In late 2015, Smith and Jason Mewes began the web series "What's in the Box?" on the Screen Junkies website, through the site's streaming service.
Smith owns and operates Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey, a comic book store largely dedicated to merchandise related to his films and comics. He purchased the original store in January 1997 for US$30,000, using the money he earned from Clerks. The current location is its second. The store was moved to a defunct ice cream parlor on Broad St. after Smith sold the Monmouth St. property. The New Jersey location is managed by Smith's long-time friend Walt Flanagan, who appears frequently in Smith's films. A second Secret Stash in the Westwood section of Los Angeles was opened in September 2004 and was managed by long-time friend and associate Bryan Johnson, who has appeared in Smith's films as Steve-Dave. Smith had announced that he would close after his lease expired and Johnson wanted to resign, but eventually relocated to Laser Blazer, a DVD store in Los Angeles. In January 2009 the West Coast Store closed, leaving the east coast store as Smith's only operating store.
After the success of his first films, Smith lived in Los Angeles, though he disliked no longer being near his New Jersey friends. He dated actress Joey Lauren Adams, and declared his desire to marry her in Time magazine, but they began to grow apart after he spoke of staying in Los Angeles permanently and starting a life with her. When Smith's grandmother became ill, he returned to Red Bank and remained there, realizing that that was where he belonged. Smith and Adams' relationship was tested by their working together on Chasing Amy, the set of which saw a heated argument between the two. They broke up in June 1997.
Smith is married to Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, whom he met while she was interviewing him for USA Today. They got married at Skywalker Ranch on April 25, 1999. He photographed her for a nude pictorial in Playboy that consisted of photographs by various celebrities. Their daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, was born June 26, 1999, and was named after the character from the Batman comics. They live in the Hollywood Hills, in a house Smith purchased from longtime friend Ben Affleck in 2003.
Initially raised Catholic, Smith began to develop doubts about his beliefs in his early 20s, and came to see Catholic Mass as "dry and lip-servicey." Seeking out advice, Smith spoke to a priest, who analogized faith to liquid filling a shot glass, and explained that the glass grows in size as a person grows older, and thus the same knowledge that satisfies a person as a child can be insufficient as an adult. Smith read extensively on Christianity, explored other religions, read the Biblical apocrypha, and tried joining a Pentecostal congregation. The thoughts and ideas he explored during this time formed the inspiration for his film Dogma, the beginning of which features characters using the shot glass metaphor used by the priest. Though Smith still regularly attended Mass as late as 1998, he stated on "Back to the Well", a feature on the Clerks II documentary, that now he only goes to Mass on the day before he starts production of a film, and the day before it premieres. As late as September 2014, Smith told the BBC that he believes in God. He said, "Proof of God is that I have a career.", but confirmed he left Catholicism in a 2015 interview, stating that the death of his dog was what caused him to do so. Smith said,
|“||Honestly, when the dog died I kind of realized this. I watched him pass. He was an incredible life force. Never once throughout his entire existence did this dog look up to me and ask, “Am I going to heaven or hell?” He had no religion. I think it was at that moment I just suddenly grew up, hit a point where I was like, “You know what, I don’t need a story that somebody else tells me, that’s going to tell me what’s going to happen after this. Rather than focus on AFTER this, I’m going to focus on THIS. Put all my energy and faith and spirituality into life, not worrying about or wondering what happens after death and listening to anybody who has a story to tell you about angels and whatnot. There’s a plaque hanging at my house, a yoga thing, and I passed it for years and never really read it. It says, “May you realize your divinity in this lifetime.”
It’s not about living in service to some being you can’t see. It’s about living in service to everyone here. Aren’t we supposed to be beings of our own little universes, make things better, not rely on somebody in the sky to help us out? I have zero compunctions about having been raised Catholic. It was great stuff to tell a kid, who didn’t know what would happen to him after he died. Now I know what’s going to happen to me. I’m going to sit in a box and rot in the ground. So I’m going to try to make the most of my life while I’m here. All of that spirituality people want to focus on in the afterlife, I’d rather focus on the living. Being spiritual isn’t necessarily being religious. I don’t begrudge anybody.
I was just with my Mom, she’s struggling to hold on the last vestiges of Catholicism as well. You just get to a point where you’re too old and it doesn’t make sense anymore. Then the truth starts creeping in and logic starts creeping in. It’s not like I lost my innocence or something, you just realize, “Hey, I’m ready to handle more than I did when I was a child.” I would hope I could handle more.
|— Kevin Smith|
Smith stated in 2017 that he "believes in people".
Smith never smoked until his debut film, Clerks, in which he used the cigarettes as a prop, but did not inhale. He has said that prior to filming Clerks, he was a staunch non-smoker.[not in citation given][page needed] He quit smoking cigarettes in 2008 after taking up smoking cannabis after working with Seth Rogen on Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
Smith has had a history of yo-yo dieting, being an avid supporter of "Optifast". He lost 50 pounds (23 kg) upon meeting his wife. In 2008 he weighed in excess of 400 pounds (180 kg), though after eliminating sugar from his diet and taking up juice fasts, he lowered himself to 210 pounds (95 kg).
On February 25, 2018, after performing a stand up comedy show at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California, Smith suffered a heart attack caused by a total blockage of the left anterior descending artery. An ambulance rushed him to the nearby Glendale Adventist Medical Center for emergency surgery, from which he recovered. Following the episode, his doctor told him he needed to lose another 50 pounds (23 kg). Smith adopted a diet devised by scientist Ray Cronise based on work by Joel Fuhrman, which involves eating a single plant-based food (in Smith's case, potatoes) with no added salt or fat for two weeks, then gradually adding additional foods but remaining at an all-vegan diet. Smith heard about the diet from Adam Rifkin, who told him about magician Penn Jillette's well-publicized weight loss on that diet in 2015 after Jillette's own health scare. Nine days into the diet, Smith had already lost 17 pounds (7.7 kg). By a month later, Smith had lost 32 pounds (15 kg). He also joined Weight Watchers and became a paid spokesperson, or "ambassador", for the brand.
Mr. Anderson's film career was a happy accident. While he and Mr. Smith graduated together in 1988 from Henry Hudson Regional High School in Highlands, they were not close until Mr. Anderson began to rent movies from the video store where Mr. Smith worked.
|url=value (help). Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 62. Retrieved January 30, 2015 – via Google Books.
As one of the hottest young stars in comedy, Seth Rogen has gone from scene-stealing supporting character to bankable leading man in just a few short years
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