Kevin Smith, sometimes film director, sometime ultimate fanboy, talked about his “religious experience” on the set of J.J. Abrams Star Wars again over the weekend in a Q&A at the Neuchatel International Film Festival in Switzerland (via Slashfilm). And as you’d expect, he is incredibly effusive. Here’s a sampling of his quotes:
What I saw, I absolutely loved. It was tactile — it was real. It wasn’t a series of fucking green screens and blue screens in which later a bunch of digital characters would be added. IT was there, it was happening. I saw old friends who I haven’t seen since my childhood, who aren’t really friends, but I love them more than some of my fucking relatives. I saw uniforms, I saw artillery I haven’t seen since I was a kid. I saw them shooting an actual sequence in a set that was real. I walked across the set, there were explosions. And it looked like a shot right out of a Star Wars movie
As I walked up that ramp I realized that the something that was missing from those other movies (the prequels) and it’s now in these movies. And it’s not the obvious like hey the Millennium Falcon or hey the characters that we know are returning. It’s something else entirely — he’s building a tactile world, a world you can touch. And he’s replicating with all the love of someone who has the world’s greatest collection of Star Wars figures. And when you walk on that set man, I don’t know how else to describe it except thusly: you use another pop culture reference to describe this pop culture phenomenon. It’s like the Field of Dreams, the Kevin Costner movie. And if JJ builds it, we’re all going to come hard, because its amazing. It looks fantastic. So anyone out there wondering if he’s going to pull it off, he’s pulling it off. He showed me cut scenes, he showed me sequences, images, pictures. I cried and I hugged that guy. And I’m sure as I was crying and hugging on him that he was thinking “time is money” because they’re making a movie. But he got it. He was very flattered. And I was like “Honestly dude, you’re doing it. You’re making my childhood again. You’re doing our Star Wars. What I saw, blew me away.
And here’s the thing: If you don’t watch the video, and if you just read the quotes, or see the Instagram of Kevin Smith shedding a tear after the visit, it’s honestly very easy to think, “Aw, f*king Kevin Smith. He’s wanking off to Star Wars or Batman again. Give it a rest, man. Show some fucking restraint!”
In fact, I was about to write up this story based on the quotes, when I saw a quote on Kevin Smith’s recent antics from MrCreosote, which perfectly summed up my feelings:
Before I slag him, I would like to damn Kevin Smith with faint praise. I really like him, I like his work, and I’ve seen him on his tour-he was entertaining and endearing. That being said, he needs the back the hell away from endless pontificating about nerdy franchises he loves. He raved over the Star Wars movies, which really Kevin? Then he’s on set with Affleck crying and hugging people because of the batsuit? And now he’s allegedly leaking false scripts as part of a complex ruse to conceal the details of Supes V. Batdude? Calm down Kevin. Look, given the level of access he has, I’m sure lots of people would go nuts, but we all know he’s not going to say anything negative, no matter how much of a steaming pile he really thinks something is. It’s just painful to see him wax poetic about something that isn’t going to live up to expectations. Stop being Harry Knowles, Kevin. You’re better than that.
I agree! 100 percent. But here’s the rub: When you actually watch the video of Kevin Smith talking about his on-set experience, it doesn’t really feel like fanboygasming. I only watched it so I could find out which 11-minute segment during the hour he talked about his Star Wars set visit (around the 36 minute mark), but of course, I got sucked in. Because when Smith talks, I always get sucked in.
Smith talked about boning his wife in Switzerland, and about how he became a filmmaker, and he told the 12-13 minute story about the first time he had sex with his wife. I’ve heard most of these stories. Multiple times. But I always get sucked in again, because Kevin Smith is an amazing storyteller, and when you hear him talk about this set visit, it sounds genuine and authentic. It doesn’t feel like Harry Knowles. It sounds like a guy who was legitimately blown away. I’m not even a huge Star Wars and by the end, I was still like, “Fuck and yes!” It’s impossibly to feel cynical when Smith speaks, because it’s so easy to get caught up in his enthusiasm.
And that’s the thing about Kevin Smith. He doesn’t sound good in print, because it leaves out the context, the tone, the charm. Kevin Smith should have a vampire-like superpower where, instead of his image not showing up in mirrors, his words don’t show up in print. Everyone should have to listen to the guy speak, because it always transforms my skepticism into fondness.
Anyway, like 2 percent of you are actually going to watch that video, and the rest of you are going to say, “Aw, fuck you Rowles. You’re such a Kevin Smith fanboy” (except when you’re not, except when you’re calling him the King of the Motherfucking Bitches), but the two percent that actually do watch will know exactly what I’m talking about. Snootches.