ALISON STEWART, host:
Writer-director Kevin Smith may be the hardest working slacker in showbiz. On one hand, as his new book points out, "My Boring Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith…"
LUKE BURBANK, host:
You said ass.
STEWART: I sure did. He lives a pretty basic existence. You know what he does, Luke?
STEWART: Checks his e-mail, spends a lot of time in the bathroom, takes his kid to school.
BURBANK: He's living the dream.
(Soundbite of laughter)
STEWART: On the other hand, the guy who wrote "Clerks," "Mallrats" and "Dogma" writes comic books, guests hosts on "Ebert and Roeper." He is even writing a prequel to the hit show "Heroes," as well as directing the pilot for another TV show. And this is where our conversation with Mr. Smith picks up.
You directed this pilot for the show "Reaper," where this kid's parent sell his soul to the devil.
(Soundbite of TV show, "Reaper")
Mr. BRET HARRISON (Actor): (As Sam) Do I have to go to hell now?
Mr. RAY WISE (Actor): (As Devil) No, no, no. Not now. You're just going to bring escaped souls back to hell. That's cool, right?
STEWART: It's a great premise.
Mr. KEVIN SMITH (Director, "Reaper"): Yeah, it's very cool premise.
STEWART: How did you approach this differently from your film work, or just -do the same principles of story-telling apply?
Mr. SMITH: You know, interestingly enough - I mean, the same principles of story-telling apply, but for some reason, since I didn't originate the material - you know, since it wasn't mine, like I was directing somebody else's script for the first time - I put way more care into visual look of the pilot than I have into the visual look of any of the movies I've ever done. It was as if like I had to kind of justify why I was there in the first place.
Because on my movies, I can justify being the director because, like, I wrote it. But on the pilot, like, I couldn't justify why they would hire me. You know, and they paid me well, and I was just like, man, I should really try. So it's odd.
Like halfway through it, I was working with my DP, this guy Dave Klein who I've shot four of my movies with before, and I was like, is it me, or does this look better than anything we've ever shot before? He's, like, yeah, it feels like we're trying a lot harder on this, which is weird because it was a show for CW. But…
STEWART: The CW, excuse me.
Mr. SMITH: What's that?
STEWART: Come on, isn't it The CW?
Mr. SMITH: Yeah, I'm sorry I left the article out. It's The CW. But it turned out pretty well.
STEWART: Another posting I found called you the Geek Revolution in the Flesh. It was excitingly announcing that you're going to write and direct an episode of "Heroes: Origins," the spinoff series.
Mr. SMITH: Yes.
STEWART: First of all, how do you feel about that description?
Mr. SMITH: You know, I'll take it. I'll take any description, as long as they're not like a hack and sellout. I get that a lot on the Web, too. People like he's a hack. And, you know, it - I've stopped trying to correct that. You know, because I used to spend a lot of time going out there, and if somebody called me a hack, I'd be like, look. Technically, in terms of film directing, I'm not a hack. A hack is somebody who just takes money just to simply do a job, like, if I did "Mighty Ducks 9," then I'm a hack.
But considering that I write and direct my own stuff, I'm obviously not in it just for the money, although I do like getting paid. But, like, I'm kind of committed to the material more than most. Technically, I'm on auteur, but please don't even call me that. And then after a while, I got tired of kind of defending that. So if they call me the Geek Revolution in the Flesh, it's a lot better than, you know, that hack fat-ass "Clerks" guy.
STEWART: All right. You've got the movie thing going. You've got the TV thing going. You fill in on the "Ebert and Roeper on the Movies." You're on "The Tonight Show" on the couch. Is there anything you like to do that somebody just hasn't asked you to do yet?
Mr. SMITH: A voice on "The Simpsons." I would really love to do a voice on "The Simpsons." That - but I'm afraid to do it, because I think then I will die.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. SMITH: Because, you know…
STEWART: Because you're happy. You'll be happy and you'll die.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. SMITH: Yeah, it's like what's left after that? There's really - I mean, honestly, I've had a really charmed and wonderful life. And as much as, you know, I've done far more than I ever thought was possible for anybody, let alone for me. So every day, something happens where you're, like, I can't believe it. I've still maintained that - did you ever see that movie "Angel Heart"…
Mr. SMITH: …a long time ago, Mickey Rourke?
STEWART: Oh, that's scary.
Mr. SMITH: A scary movie because, you know, aside from, like, Robert De Niro being super creepy as Lucifer, what's really terrifying is the premise of selling one's soul and not knowing about it until it's too late, because part of the bargain is that you don't remember selling your soul. And, you know, raised Catholic, that always terrified me. And every once in a while, you know, at least for the last 14 years or however long I've been doing the film thing, I get that sick notion that's like maybe I sold my soul to the devil, and part of the deal was I'll not remember, because it's just so weird all the good things that kind of happened to me. Even the bad things, like even something like "Jersey Girl" comes along and doesn't do very well and stuff like that, but…
STEWART: I didn't bring it up.
Mr. SMITH: Yeah, well, you know, I have to. But even that, it's like - how many people are going to say they ever made of film that flopped? You know, it's like - it's a weird life, and I just get worried that, you know, all the good things have happened because there's a dude waiting on the other end to collect my soul in the bargain.
STEWART: A little bit more of our conversation with Kevin Smith.
BURBANK: Well, this should be called the Kevin Smith project.
STEWART: He offered to co-host some time, so if we can never find him, we'll bring him in. Why not?
BURBANK: That's great stuff.
Coming up on the BBP, we're going to try to see if we can be made to care about Merrill Lynch, the CEO getting defenestrated. We'll also talk about what that means.
STEWART: And he did it with a $160 million in his pocket.
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