For video from Kevin Smith's appearance at The Oaks on Saturday, visit http://www.post-gazette.com/multimedia/
By Sharon Eberson / Sunday, Oct. 26
Kevin (bleepin') Smith apologized for being a few minutes late to the Q&A after his film, "Zack & Miri Make a Porno," had its local premiere at the Oaks Theater Saturday night.
If it had been at one of the Pittsburgh places he has grown familiar with while filming here, like the Target at the Waterfront, he might have found his way around the traffic. But Oakmont was new to him.
"And you know, you've got a lot of (bleepin') bridges here," he said.
OK, we all know Kevin Smith talks dirty. F-bombs seem to be the "like, you know" of his sentences - and he throws in sexual references with an equally casual attitude. So quoting the man isn't easy. And I wish I could do so more, frankly, because he can be very funny. You can imagine him as a stand-up comic, cracking up large crowds on college campuses . . . well, that's if this making movie thing doesn't work out.
He answered questions for 45 minutes on Saturday and would have stayed longer but the Oaks had a 10 p.m. showing of "Beetlejuice." The folks who had made a $50 contribution to the Pittsburgh Film Office and local cast and crew were then able to share a drink with Smith at the Alto Bar in Shadyside.
Prudes weren't welcome Saturday night, and when he called on a young girl for a question and got her age as 16 - she said she was there with her dad - he made light of it, but even he was shocked. The movie barely escaped an NC-17 rating, for, as he explained, "excessive thrusting" and a shot so gross, well, if you go, be prepared.
There's a sweet love story in "Zack and Miri," too, by the way.
Wish I could tell you about what he had to say about Ben Affleck's reaction to the movie, having to do with the "(bleepin') shot" at the end of a naked Jason Mewes, but I blush just to think of it. I will tell you that he praised Pittsburgh's filmmaking community, saying he'd come back to work with the crews here whenever the opportunity might arise.
Here's some of what Smith said, most of it cleaned up as best I can.
Asked about his next film project, a political movie titled "Red State, he said he's still looking for financing. It's a movie that's dark and offers little hope, he said. In fact, "it's is so bleak it makes ‘The Dark Knight' look like Beverly Hills Chihuahua."
He gave a very detailed description of how he won an R rating after the MPAA slapped his movie with an NC-17 rating. He'd twice appealed ratings before, and this was the first time that, because of a rule change, he could use other movies as examples that argued against the ratings board's objections. Citing a sex scene between Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke in "Taking Lives" and a disgusting scene in "Jackass 2," he found that the MPAA members and NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) members "were buying it," much to his surprise. He felt like Jack (bleepin') McCoy from "Law & Order" - so much so that he was ready to make a deal while "the jury" was still out before the door opened and he found out he had won his case.
Smith has put on a lot of weight, which he blamed on Pittsburgh's pierogies and other rich food, citing Guillifty's and Primanti Bros. as favorite stops along the road to calories. He said he began coming to Pittsburgh in 1989, when his girlfriend was at CMU. He would take a nine-hour train ride from New Jersey to be with her ... there's more to that story, but there's just so much one can say on a family news site.
"Zack and Miri" was an idea brewing since the 1990s, and he discovered his leading man when he saw Seth Rogen and fell in love with his brand of comedy in "40-Year-Old Virgin." Smith planned to give the script to Rogen and that he, Smith, could make Rogen a leading man and "ride his coat tails for a while," but then "Knocked Up" came out, and he thought he was too late for late. He tried anyone, even thought they'd just met once, when they bumped into each other and chatted for a few minutes at the Weinstein Company offices. Smith sent Rogen a flattering e-mail and said "I know you don't need material and you can write your own things, but I hope you'll read this script." Rogen shot an e-mail right back, Smith said. Rogen wrote that when he had come to Hollywood, one of his aspirations was to be in a Kevin Smith movie. "Nothing has changed, so send the script," Rogen said, according to Smith. The director was genuinely moved as he told the story, although he said if he seemed to be tearing up, it was more likely that he was sweating.
The director/writer/editor told of long nights working at "The Cork," the old Cork Factory in the Strip where he did a lot of editing after-hours.
He apologized for the fact that people might say Pittsburgh doesn't look good in the movie, but he had chosen to write about a couple of people down on their luck and November and December, so it couldn't be helped.
Along those lines, he noted that he might seem like a genius now that the movie is coming out and the story is about people with little money and dead-end jobs and how they have to find ways to raise cash - which is why they make a porno.
Someone asked if there was a problem getting Brandon "Superman" Routh to play a gay man and the lover of a porn star in the film. Smith said he casually asked Routh if there was some sort of morality clause in his contract and Routh said, "What, do you think this is 1941 or something?" The only problem would be if he were to play another superhero. Smith had considered Jason Lee for the role, but Smith's friend was too busy with "My Name is Earl."
Smith writes comic books - his miniseries "Batman: Cacophony" comes out next month, with the character Onomatopeia who Smith created for his Green Arrow series - and he was asked if he would be at the Steel City Con here this weekend.
Sadly, Smith said there was only one flight out of Pittsburgh to L.A. the next morning, and he would be on it. He'd been on the road a lot and missed his daughter, Harley Quinn (named for the Batman character).
There were no bleeps necessary in that sentence.
PHOTO: Kevin Smith on the set of "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." PHOTO CREDIT: Darren Michaels/The Weistein Co.
Kevin Smith has an active Web site and "smodcast" that gives you an idea of how his "view askew" brain works. Both have a lot of "Zack and Miri" at the moment. No need to say that they're meant for adults only, is there?