Born and raised in New Jersey and very proud of it; this fact can be seen in all of his movies. His first movie, Clerks. (1994), was filmed in the convenience store in which Smith worked. He was only allowed to shoot at night after the store closed. This movie won the highest award at the Sundance film festival and was brought to theaters by Miramax. The movie went over so well that Smith was able to make another movie, Mallrats (1995). This movie, as Kevin has said, was meant to be a "smart Porkys". Although it didn't do well at all in the box office, it has done more than well on video store shelves and is usually the favorite among many Smith fans.
During filming for the movie, Smith met his new close friends and stars of his next movie, 'Ben Affleck' (qv, 'Jason Lee (I)' (qv, and his new girlfriend, Joey Lauren Adams. Smith has said that his relationship with Adams has been much of an inspiration for his next movie, Chasing Amy (1997), Smith's comedy drama which won two independent Spirit awards: Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Role (for Jason Lee). Around the time that Chasing Amy (1997) was wrapping, Smith broke up with Adams and, then when the Spirit awards were approaching, he met his soon-to-be wife, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith. After Chasing Amy (1997), Smith started on Dogma (1999), a controversial film about Christianity. Around this time, Smith's wife gave birth to their first baby girl, Harley Quinn Smith. Harley Quinn and Jennifer both have roles in Smith's next film,Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001). In this road trip comedy, the cult heroes, Jay and Silent Bob, go on an adventure to stop the production of a movie being made about them, find true love, and save an orangutan.
In 2004, he wrote and directed Jersey Girl (2004), starring Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler. Although there were some disappointing reviews and the movie was a disappointment at the box office, Smith says it did alright going up against the "Bennifer Massacre" known as Gigli (2003).
In 2005, Smith wrote the screenplay for Clerks II (2006), which he planned to start shooting in January of 2005. But then he got a call from Susannah Grant, who wanted Smith to audition for her new film. Smith went into the audition and, five minutes after finishing, he got a call saying he got the part. Filming began in January 2005 so Smith had to delay the filming of Clerks II (2006). After Catch and Release (2006/II) finished filming, Smith shot "Clerks II" in September 2005. After cutting "Clerks II", they submitted it to the Cannes film festival. It got accepted and, at Cannes, it got an 8 minute standing ovation.
In 2006, Smith also got offered a part in the fourth "Die Hard" film, Live Free or Die Hard (2007). Smith got to film a scene with one of his idols, Bruce Willis, the scene was supposed to take one day of filming, it ended up taking a week. In 2007, Smith was also hired to direct the pilot for the show "Reaper" (2007), which garnered favorable reviews.
In 2007 and 2008, Smith wrote two scripts: a comedy, Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008), and a horror film called Red State (2011). Harvey Weinstein green-lighted "Zack and Miri", based just off the title, although they passed on "Red State", Smith plans to get "Red State" independently funded. Smith filmed "Zack and Miri" with comedy star Seth Rogen. The film did not meet expectations at the box office but got good reviews. It is Smith's highest grossing movie, although he says he was crushed by the disappointing box office of the film.
Smith was offered the chance to direct a film which was written by Robb Cullen and Mark Cullen called Cop Out (2010). Smith accepted, it would be two firsts; the first feature Smith has directed but not written and the first feature of Smith's that Scott Mosier has not produced (Mosier is trying to find a film to direct). Smith hired Bruce Willis for the film.
|Jennifer Schwalbach Smith||(25 April 1999 - present) 1 child|
Witty yet profane dialogue laced with pop-culture references
References Hockey in all of his films: Clerks. (1994): Dante closes the store to play hockey; Mallrats (1995): Renee breaks up with Brodie because he is playing Sega Hockey; Chasing Amy (1997): Holden and Alyssa break up at a hockey game; Dogma (1999): Azrael's imp sidekicks are dressed as hockey players and carry hockey sticks.
Frequently shows a character or group of characters reacting to a strange action happening off screen (Dogma (1999): Poop monster gang fight; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001): Biggs and Van Der Beek monkey fight; Jersey Girl (2004): Ollie busting in on Gertie and Bryan; Clerks II (2006): The donkey show).
Every one of his View Askewniverse movies happens to feature either one of Smith's ex-girlfriends or his wife: Kimberly Loughran appeared in Clerks. (1994) as Heather Jones and in Dogma (1999) as the woman in the elevator. Joey Lauren Adams appeared in Mallrats (1995) as Gwen Turner and in Chasing Amy (1997) as Alyssa Jones. Smith's wife Jennifer Schwalbach Smith appeared in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) as Missy, Clerks II (2006) as Emma Bunting, and Betsy in Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008).
Frequently refers to characters from his View Askewniverse movies. For example, in Chasing Amy (1997), Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) tells Holden (Ben Affleck) that she slept with Shannon Hamilton. Shannon Hamilton was the character Ben Affleck played in Mallrats (1995). Smith also frequently references Julie Dwyer dying in the YMCA pool from Clerks. (1994).
The hero of each of his films usually has a best friend who wears a backwards baseball cap (e.g. Randal Graves in Clerks. (1994), Banky Edwards in Chasing Amy (1997), and Silent Bob in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)).
Frequently shoots scenes based in or outside of Quick Stop convenience stores.
Uses the "sh" rule at least once in every movie. Example "Breakfast Shmrekfast".
Always uses a "The director would like to thank" special credit column near the end of his films' end credits. He usually thanks, among others, God, his wife Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Scott Mosier, Jason Mewes, and the film's crew. He also will not use the opening credit "A Kevin Smith Film" because he believes a film is the work of ALL the people involved, not just the director.
Suspected that he was hired to write the doomed "Superman Lives" script after someone at Warner Brothers saw the exchange in Mallrats (1995) between "TS" and "Brodie" involving Superman's reproductive habits. Warner executives told Smith to cut a romantic scene between "Superman" and "Lois" on Mt. Rushmore. Kevin complained and said, "This has the best dialog in the script". Executives responded, "This is a toy movie. People don't care how good the dialog is". The script was eventually rejected by Tim Burton, who elected to personally rewrite it.
Harley Quinn, Kevin's daughter's name, may also be a play on the Harlequin character from the Italian commedia dell'arte, the same reference that the creators of the Batman character were making.
Owns a comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey.
Sold his comic book collection for money to film Clerks. (1994) and after the film was a success he bought the collection back.
Brother of Virginia Smith and Donald Smith.
Graduated from Henry Hudson Regional in Highlands, New Jersey in 1988.
Wrote the first eight issues of the Marvel Knights series of Daredevil. In the graphic novel edition of all eight issues, the introduction was written by Ben Affleck. Kevin began writing the Green Arrow comics for DC.
Did some rewrites for Coyote Ugly (2000).
Received an honorary degree (Doctor of Humane Letters) from Illinois Wesleyan University on May 7, 2000.
Attended Vancouver Film School but dropped out halfway through.
Shot a pictorial of his wife, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, for Playboy Magazine.
Because so many people asked him what happened to the characters Jay and Silent Bob between the films Chasing Amy (1997) and Dogma (1999), Smith wrote a graphic novel detailing their (mis)adventures between the two films. The book is entitled "Chasing Dogma".
His daughter plays his character, Silent Bob, as a small child in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001).
In 2005, he appeared as himself in several episodes of the Canadian TV series teen drama, "Degrassi: The Next Generation" (2001). Although he is married in real life, for his appearances on this show, Smith (as a character in the show) is said to be single, in order to allow him to make out with one of the main (adult) characters in the series.
In a review of Clerks. (1994), one critic described his writing style as "David Mamet meets Howard Stern."
Said in his DVD commentary of Dogma (1999) that actress Linda Fiorentino was very difficult to work with, even to the point that she wouldn't speak to him some days. In retrospect he says he wishes he had cast Janeane Garofalo as Bethany instead (Garofalo appears in Dogma as Liz at the abortion clinic).
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, Vol. 131, pages 408-413. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
Was at one point attached to write the script for Scary Movie 3 (2003).
Won a Harvey Award, given for achievement in comic books, in 1999 for Best New Talent based on his work with Marvel's Daredevil as well as his comic book series "Clerks" and "Jay & Silent Bob" for Oni.
Has maintained that had he not had the success with Clerks. (1994), he would still be a clerk at the Quick Stop and RST Video in Leonardo, New Jersey.
Had a long running feud with Jeff Anderson shortly after Clerks. (1994) was released and ended just before production began on Dogma (1999). This explains Anderson's absence in Mallrats (1995) and Chasing Amy (1997).
Was a guest critic for Ebert & Roeper while Roger Ebert was recovering from throat surgery. He reviewed the films for the weekend of August 12-13, 2006. He gave thumbs-up to World Trade Center (2006), Step Up (2006), and Half Nelson (2006). He gave thumbs-down to Scoop (2006).
Pitched a superhero movie to Miramax in 1999 and Miramax chairman Harvey Weinstein loved it. It was described as a "Justice League" type of superhero team that has to disband because of the government. Once on their own, the film would follow the same type of format used in Pulp Fiction (1994) which would be stories inter-connected. In the end, the team would have to unite to defeat one of their own, turned villainous. Smith just never got around to writing a full script. It was also pitched to HBO as a possible series.
Once wrote and produced two pilots for sitcoms. One was called, "Hating Hal" and the other one was "Hiatus".
Has said that after his career is over he'd like to teach film and creative writing courses at a college.
Wrote a script called "Busing" in 1994 for Hollywood Pictures. It was described as "Clerks in a restaurant". Parts of this script became Clerks II (2006).
Wanted to write and direct a big screen adaptation of the book "Sex and Rockets".
Has stated that he had an idea for a children's book and that he'd like to write it before his little girl reaches her teens.
In high school, he video taped his school's sporting events and town meetings for the local cable access station.
Once tried to buy a warehouse near his View Askew production office in Red Bank, New Jersey, to convert into sound stages for independent films. He even approached Miramax president Harvey Weinstein to split the bill. However, the warehouse owner wanted too much money.
Wrote a short story in his college creative writing course about a serial killer, who also happened to be a priest. He received the best grade in the class.
The reason why there hasn't been a Jay and Silent Bob video game yet, is because Smith wants to be fully involved in the game's creation and he simply does not have the time. He does insist there will one day exist a Jay and Silent Bob video game.
Once considered buying a local movie theater in Red Bank New Jersey and showing all kinds of movies. He said one week could be Scorsese themed with Taxi Driver (1976) and Mean Streets (1973), then the next week could be superhero themed, like the original Batman and Superman movies.
During his childhood, he was a big fan of Tom Savini's special effects work.
Shortly after Clerks. (1994) was released theatrically, Smith taught an acting class at his old high school, Henry Hudson Regional.
After Mallrats (1995), pitched an idea he had for a "Jaws 5" to Universal. They gave him the go ahead to write a treatment, but he had other projects to work on.
In the fall of 2002, the town of Paulsboro in New Jersey named a street after him: Kevin Smith Way. This was in response to Smith using the town to film in.
Wrote and produced with Jason Lee, a pilot for a sitcom, to star Lee, called "Hiatus". The premise had Lee's character coming back home to open up a comic book store after living in California for a few years, trying to make it as a struggling actor. Unknown to his family and friends, he was actually a porno star for a while,when he didn't land any "legitimate" work.
Had an idea for an science fiction alien themed story that was to be a part of the film anthology called "Alien Love Triangle" but his idea was never used. He has stated an interest in turning his idea into a feature one day.
Played goalie during games of street hockey with his friends Bryan Johnson, Walter Flanagan, and Ed Hapstak.
Was approached by Dimension chairman Bob Weinstein to do a Jay and Silent Bob/Hellraiser crossover movie in the same vein as the old Abbott and Costello meets the Wolfman type crossovers. Smith declined.
Wrote and acted in comedy sketches in the town's annual talent show. His comedic writing even made the local papers.
Has two dogs named "Mulder" and "Scully".
Was member of the dramatic jury at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000.
As a teenager his girlfriend's mother wrote "Kevin Smith will never be a famous writer." on a sheet of paper and told him that if he ever proved it wrong that she would eat the paper. He still has the sheet of paper, and considers the mother a close friend. However he does not speak with the former girlfriend anymore.
Wrote all of his own dialog for the five episodes of "Degrassi: The Next Generation" (2001) that he appeared on.
Directed "Reaper: Pilot (#1.1)" (2007) just to prove to himself that he could direct a script that he did not write.
Is an AMPAS member.
Graduated from Henry Hudson Regional High School (Highlands, New Jersey) in 1988.
Is a huge fan of Road House (1989).
Created an online short film contest called Movies Askew in 2005. The twelve finalists were screened in Hollywood for Smith and a famous panel of judges that included Jason Mewes and Donnie Darko (2001) director Richard Kelly. Duane Graves took home the Grand Prize for his documentary Up Syndrome (2000), granting him the privilege of working with Smith on one of his future projects.
At the height of controversy over his film Dogma (1999), Kevin Smith and his friend Bryan Johnson participated in a protest against the film at an Eatontown, New Jersey, movie theater. Smith and Johnson hand-made signs that read "'Dogma' is dogshit" and and "To Hell With 'Dogma.'" The protest, which was supposed to attract hundreds of demonstrators, was only attended by about 15 people. Smith was recognized and interviewed by a local TV news reporter, to whom he refused to admit that he really was Kevin Smith.
Hosts a weekly podcast with friend and producer Scott Mosier called "SModcast". Guest hosts have included friends Bryan Johnson, Walter Flanagan, Malcolm Ingram, Jason Mewes, his wife Jennifer Schwalbach Smith and his daughter Harley Quinn Smith. This podcast has expanded into an entire network called "The SModcast Podcast Network" at smodcast.com.
Shares the same birthday with his brother, Donald Smith.
Kevin founded the podcast network, 'The SModcast Podcast Network' on January 1st, 2010.
He is an Edmonton Oilers ice hockey fan.
In one of his podcasts, Smith revealed that the name of Silent Bob came, in part, from a character in Tim Burton's Batman (1989), Bob the Goon, citing in particular Jack Nicholson's (The Joker) line "Bob, gun" and the character stoically handing him a gun.
[on the hoopla over homosexual slurs in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)] "Gay or straight has never been a big issue with me. Sex is sex, as far as I'm concerned. Some cats dig on the opposite gender, and some cats dig on their own. Sexual identity will always be as mystifying as why "The Dukes of Hazzard" (1979) was once the number one television show in our country: there's no point in getting bent out of shape about it; it just IS. Some cats will always gravitate toward "Daisy Duke", and some will always pine over Boss Hogg".
They're like, 'I can't believe Kevin Smith gets into comics, and all he can do is a superhero comic.' Well, that's what I want to do.
I wasn't disappointed by Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999). I know a lot of people were but I was one of those cats who wasn't. You go in with low expectations, or not expecting it to bring you right back to the days of your youth, but it's kind of a fun movie.
The Jay character is kind of based on who Jason was when he was about 14 years old. In the movies he's a bit more well spoken than he was at that age. Silent Bob - there is no affiliation to myself. I needed a guy to stand next to Jay and not say much, being that Jason was going to be saying a lot. - on resemblances between real life and his characters.
On considering dropping out of The Green Hornet (2011) film (August 19, 2004): "Right after Jersey Girl (2004) came out and kind of underperformed, I was just like, "I got no business making large-budget movies". I should always make movies that cost less than 10 million bucks... I just don't think somebody like me should be in charge of big-budget movies. I'm too interested in dialogue, and dialogue and big budgets just don't blend very well".
Now you've gotta spend two thousand bucks to stay at my house. And for five, I'll let you photograph my wife in the shower.
Each flick I've done is kind of a snapshot of where I was in my life when I wrote it; Clerks II (2006) really speaks to where I am in life at the moment. You don't have to be an analyst to look at the movie and go, "The Quick Stop means a little more than the Quick Stop, and Florida represents something more than just going to Florida". That's kind of where I am. There's definitely something bittersweet about arriving at Clerks II (2006).
There's something to be said for failing. It's not the failure you feel, it's the failure that people project when something disappoints. You're back to ground zero, where there's no expectations, and that's where I like to be. People like to set the bar high. I like to put the bar on the ground and barely step over it. I like to keep the expectations really low. After something like Mallrats (1995) or Jersey Girl (2004), the expectations are in the toilet. People are like, "He's over, he's done". So it's easier to be, like, "Ta-da, I'm not". It's a much more comfortable place to work from. When you have an escalating career, and every time you have to outdo yourself, I couldn't handle that kind of pressure. But having to outdo Jersey Girl (2004)? Not very difficult.
I once wrote a horror screenplay for my friend Vincent to make when he was in high school that was close to Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal (1957) (aka "The Seventh Seal"). Very psychological horror stuff. Alot of the religious elements in the script ended up in Dogma (1999).
It wasn't the first comic I ever actually READ, but the first comic I remember slapping down hard-earned money for was a 'Superman Family' Annual in which the first story featured a married Lois and Superman waking up on a cloud. I remember being oddly aroused by the whole thing. I mean, the implication was that these two were fucking.
I was a fan of the Daredevil and Green Arrow characters, so it seemed logical to write them. Now I'm kind of interested in taking obscure characters and seeing if we can turn them into top ten books. I mean, DD and GA had somewhat built-in audiences, so there was a basis to work from. But could we take a Doctor Strange book and put that in the top ten? That'd be a fun challenge.
It's too expensive, that's the thing nobody wants to talk about. It is too expensive to make movies. That's not true, it is too expensive to market movies. Making movies is not. You can have 10 bucks to 10 million bucks and if you got a crew, imagination and a lot of people willing to turn in some work next to nothing, you going to have a feature. But you can't get beyond how expensive marketing the movie is, it's so crushing.
(On Slacker) 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.
[on making Red State (2011)] Look at all these beautiful people making this movie, cinching their belts and doing it for next-to-nothing. Ben (Affleck) recently sent me an email going 'Dude, I don't know how you make this for four million bucks. It doesn't look like a four-million-dollar movie'. That's because nobody got paid, dude.
[on cinematographer Dave Klein] I'm not much of a sports guy, but I do like hockey very much, and they say great lines always find each other. Same thing with Klein. He can finish a visual sentence that I can start to express but can't finish. It just makes me laugh - I became a better filmmaker standing next to the same knuckleheaded kid I'd met in film school years ago.
[on involving himself with online podcasts] If I'm a white noise in your life, if I'm this background voice that's comforting to know it's there, I could go a lot farther than I ever could've gone with film. I can go weird places with you - in the bathroom, on the bus on the worst plane ride of your life. You can't demand that the audience do 'appointment viewing' anymore. You have to make it as easy and accessible as possible.
Storytelling is my currency. It's my only worth. The only thing of value I have in this life is my ability to tell a story, whether in print, orating, writing it down or having people acting it out. That's why I'm always hoping society never collapses because the first ones to go will be entertainers.
[on Paul Thomas Anderson and Magnolia (1999)] I'll never watch it again, but I will keep it. I'll keep it right on my desk, as a constant reminder that a bloated sense of self-importance is the most unattractive quality in a person or their work.
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