In the Future with Kevin Smith


Kevin Smith has shot a role for the upcoming Live Free or Die Hard, which also stars his Catch and Release co-star Timothy Olyphant as the villain.

“I play a character that has a lot of expository dialogue; I’m the only person in ‘Die Hard’ who talks, and doesn’t shoot somebody,” Smith said. “When I got there, I was like, ‘[director] Len [Wiseman], can I get a gun?’ He’s like, ‘No.’ But it’s fun; it’s that role in the action movie where you provide a bunch of information for them to head into act 3. And my character gets talked about throughout – and it could all change. But the time they get in the editing room, they might be like, ‘You suck, yank him out.’ But as it stands now, in the script, and as I shot it, they talk about me a lot and then they meet me; and I provide a lot of information about the villain.”

Smith talked a bit about coming up with his own lines for the fourth “Die Hard” film. “What’s nice about working on those big, awfully expensive Hollywood movies, is they have so many writers, they don’t even notice if you’re one of them. So, I got there, and I wrote myself a one page monologue, and I got to deliver it; it was hysterical, they let me do it. Bruce Willis was like, ‘Do it up, that was a good speech.’ So, you do it, and they totally went for it; so that was kind of cool, and I got to give that speech in that movie. They were kind of riff friendly. There was one motto on that movie, and they kept saying it, which was, ‘Keep it Die Hard.’ So you didn’t want to – you couldn’t get in there and do a Jay and Silent Bob type monologue, but you had to make it germane to the movie. So I don’t give a funny speech, I wind up giving a very paranoid, Joe Pesci in JFK type speech, which was fun.”

He is also voicing a character in the CG-animated TMNT. “Harvey Weinstein called me up and wanted to know if I wanted to do a voice in ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’; ’cause Weinstein has a piece of it. And I was like, ‘Absolutely.’ The dude that lobbied, and didn’t get the part, was Jason Mewes. ‘Cause Jason Mewes was like, ‘What are you doing today?’ I’m like, ‘I’m going to do a voiceover for ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ they’re doing the CG cartoon.’ ‘What are you talking about?’ I showed him the trailer, and he was like, ‘Oh, I want to f**kin’ be in that.’ I was like, ‘Well, dude, you’ve been in Weinstein movies; call them up, they’ll put you in the picture.’ And he called them mercilessly, especially after he found out I got paid to do it. He kept calling and they were like, ‘We don’t have anything left, dude;’ they were like, ‘I’m sorry.’ He was like, ‘Add a character;’ he was like, ‘Can’t I be the girl turtle?’ But, he just said there was something they wanted to re-voice, and they brought me in; it took maybe an hour, or something like that. But no, I want to see that movie; I lobbied to see the footage, which they finally showed me when I did a voice over.”

Ghost Rider writer/director Mark Steven Johnson has also asked Smith to direct an episode of HBO’s upcoming “Preacher” series. “Yeah, he asked me if I wanted to direct an episode of ‘Preacher’; which I thought was pretty kind of him; but, I don’t know if I’m up to that. I love that book so much, and being able to translate one of those books to the screen, I don’t think that’s me. ‘Cause you don’t want to be the guy who f**ks it up, and so I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know, we’ll see.’ But I’m certainly not committed to do it, only as much of I don’t want to drop the ball ’cause I like it so much. But if it was some show I didn’t like; I mean, I’ve never really directed TV anyway, so it’s kind of difficult getting my head around it, but since it’s an hour-long drama, presumably, I’d be more keen to directing a movie rather than TV – I don’t know, maybe, maybe. The thing that would keep me from doing that would be I’d be afraid of ruining what I like so much about ‘Preacher’ – so we’ll see if that happens.”

Smith added that he hasn’t started writing his horror movie yet. “Horror flick is all up here (points to brain); I just have to put it down here (pretends to type). I’ve just been using acting as an excuse to not sit down and not write. For me, I don’t know; it’s kind of coming down to me wanting to do this comedy and me wanting to do this horror flick. And I feel like I should do the horror flick because I’ve done seven comedies in 12 years, and I don’t feel like a filmmaker most days; I just feel like a guy who makes those movies set in that universe. So if I really want to test myself or push myself, I’d try and make something completely out of my safety zone, completely out of my genre – that said, I’ve never tested myself, so why would I start now.”

He and Mewes have a cameo in the adventure-comedy, Fanboys “I’ve watched half of it; it’s a rather sweet movie. I haven’t watched the other half of it; I watched my half up until my part, ’cause we were doing that little scene, and I wanted to throw some stuff together for it. And I was like, ‘So what’s the movie about?’ My part wasn’t in it yet, but I turned it off where my part would be. ‘Cause [producer Scott] Mosier’s like, ‘We’re still in the midst of cutting it; watch the finished version,’ and what not. But I like it, I think it’s a really sweet movie, and right up my f**kin’ alley; so I’m kind of programmed to kind of dig it. That dude, Dan Fogler in the movie’s really funny, the chick from ‘Veronica Mars,’ who I absolutely love… [Kristen Bell]… she’s in it, and she’s really good. That dude who plays Windows in the movie is the guy from ‘Million Dollar Baby’… [Jay Baruchel]… he’s in the movie and he’s really pimp, and really funny.”

Smith also revealed the opening scene of his new Showtime comedy, “Manchild.” “In the opening scene in the show, we’re on surfboards in the middle of the Pacific, and I’m wearing a wetsuit, and I look like the f**kin’ Penguin, just round, with a little head on top. So I said, ‘I really feel like my character, Paul, would probably wear a shirt over this; and they were like, ‘You don’t wear a shirt in the ocean.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, Paul would; and Paul’s gonna.’ And they were like, ‘Alright.’ So they let me wear a Kings jersey.” The show revolves around a group of fortysomething male friends (Smith, James Purefoy, John Corbett, Paul Hipp) who are knee-deep in midlife crises. Smith said that if “Manchild” gets picked up, they will start shooting again in March on 12 episodes for four months.