London, Feb 10: Kevin Smith is trying something new. He's executive producing and appearing in AMC's first reality show called “Comic Book Men.”
The show was inspired by his weekend podcast called “SModcast” with his longtime producing partner Scott Mosier and what goes on at his comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank in Smith's home state of New Jersey.
Smith says his reality show is different from what viewers are used to seeing on TV.
“For reality - you know you watch some of those shows and there's always someone looking at a camera telling like, ‘I was so mad at this person,' like doing that confessional stuff. We've sidestepped that ‘cause since it's based around the podcast the episode is framed with me talking to my friends who work in the store; these four guys: Walter (Flanagan), Ming (Chen), Mike (Zapcic) and Bryan (Johnson) - who doesn't work there; he just hangs out there - but I'll be like, ‘What'd you guys do this week and then they start telling me stories and then we cut into all the stuff they shot.”
Except for joining in a hockey game, Smith is not in the store with his buddies but serves as a sort of commentator of what's taken place.
Smith also believes “Comic Book Men” is unique because its stars didn't even want to be on TV.
“Most cats you go to this world, you're like, ‘Hey man, do you want to be on TV?' They'll be like, ‘Shit, yeah,' and they run for it and they'll step on somebody's neck to go into a TV show. My friends - was like, ‘You guys want to do this TV show?' Right away Walter's like, ‘I have no interest.' I couldn't even get it out. I was like, ‘Dude, bear with me on this. They may want to shoot a reality show at the Sta...' and I couldn't even finish the word stash ‘cause he was like, ‘No, I don't want to do it,' and I said, ‘Why?' and he goes, ‘I don't want to be Snooki.'”
Smith still says he's retiring from the film business once he puts out “Hit Somebody,” about a man making his way into pro hockey. Smith says he's surprised the public is so surprised.
“You get to the point where I think a lot of people want to stay in it because they're like, ‘The money's great. Who wants to give up this amazing job?' And I don't judge anyone else. They can stay in as long as they want but for me I'm like, ‘Well, I'm not bringing in anything as new to the game as I used and how I got in here is by saying something new. ‘Clerks' said something new. ‘Chasing Amy' said something new. ‘Dogma' said something and at a certain point in my career I started managing. I started by like, ‘Well what kind of stories are they making? Alright. I'll make my version of that. And that's how you get to ‘Jersey Girl' and ‘Zach and Miri' and I love those movies and I'm the kind of artist where if you can't do or say something new or you're not bringing something original to the party, step away; let the youth in there. Let somebody else in there who's going to bring something new to it.”
After the 2010 film “Cop Out,” starring Bruce Willis that Smith directed was panned he lashed out at film critics on his Twitter account. Smith also said he might charge critics for future advance screenings. A number of critics bristled at the comments, calling Smith “dishonest” and “disingenuous.”
Relations between Smith and film critics worsened when he premiere his horror film “Red State” at the Sundance Film Festival last year.
He limited the number of critics he would speak to about the film and then after suggesting for weeks that he would hold an auction for rights to the film announced he would take the movie on the road himself and paid himself a token $20 (U.S.) dollars for the privilege.
Smith remains unmoved on his dealings with the film critics or his handling of the “Red State” premiere.
“The most important thing I did on the road to making ‘Red State' for me was to try to change my conditions of filmmaking to get them as close to as possible as they were on ‘Clerks.' I can't go all the way back but the most important aspect of ‘Clerks' when I was making that movie, I wasn't making it for anybody but me and my friends. I wasn't sitting there going, ‘What are the critics going to think?' So, I was like, in order to do that with ‘Red State' I just have to get away from that. So I did the best thing I possibly could. I was like, ‘You guys have been telling me for years that I suck at my job and I'm irrelevant. Guess what? You are. Nobody gives a fuck about critics anymore. Nobody cares what you have to say. Oh my God the emo bomb that blew up on the Internet after that! You want to see critics come out in full force with long, sharp knives? Tell them they're irrelevant. That's what they've been telling me for years and all I did was sit back and be like, ‘Maybe you guys are irrelevant,' and they all exploded.”