Director Kevin Smith Talks Jersey Girl

Recently I had the chance to meet with Director Kevin Smith during his publicity stop for his new film “Jersey Girl”. Kevin was kind enough to share some of his thoughts regarding the film as well as his past and future work.
GVK: Would you have made this film if you were not a father?
KS: No, never in a million years. I am five years into fatherhood and I still do not have a hold on it. For the people who do not like it, they can blame my kid. Seriously, I was anxious to make a movie that stood on its own. I liked our last film as it was fun, but you really needed to see the ones before it to really enjoy it. I began to wonder if I could even make a movie that did not refer to Julie dying in a pool or Jay and Silent Bob popping up. I was curious to see if I could pull it off as “Chasing Amy” is as close as I had done before and I was scared that the “Clerks” guys were going to hate me and that I better but Jay and Bob in or make a dick joke.
GVK: Do you see yourself doing more films like this?
KS: IT is hard to say, with Green Hornet next, it may be a while. I told Jason Mewes that I am going to put him in the Hornet but not as Jay and he got excited thinking I was going to make him the Hornet. That is not the case but it is good as he is one year clean on April 6, which is a sign of the Apocalypse and I expect the moon to turn to sack cloth any moment. In two years or so I think I might like to revisit Jay and Bob.
GVK: Expanding on that, how difficult was it to change the tone as while it was obviously your style it was, are I say, a kinder, gentler film.
KS: The lack of profanity was the big key as taking Jay and Bob out cleaned it up a lot, it is basically “Chasing Amy” without the Lesbian. Some people will see this film as say that I have grown up which is what they said about “Amy”. Its funny I have grown up twice. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be.
GVK: How did Jennifer Lopez enter the film?
KS: When I first started working on the script I knew I wanted George Carlin as the father but I was looking at Bill Murray as the lead as I was taken by him in “Rushmore” As time went on, Ben became attached to the film and my wife suggested that she was good in “The Wedding Planner”, and has a film with Ben coming that looks like it will be a big hit. (Laughs), but I was not sure Ben would want to work with her so soon after but he called me and suggested her. Ben had already sold her on the part so after sending her the script it was off and running. We actually benefit from what happened with “Gigli” as it lowered expectations and people who have seen it actually like it. We benefited well as she is the linchpin to the show, and we got a much better performance out of Ben as he was in love with her at the time. Regardless of what happens, ten years from now I will be proud of this film. When we went to cast the little girl, it was amazing at how Rachael looks like Jen and she has a natural delivery and was natural, not a kid with a parent working her behind the scenes.
GVK: How was it working with a child in the lead role?
KS: It was not as bad but I had to make some changes such as not smoking on the set, and really having to watch what I said, I said “fudge” a lot and also had to learn to talk to her on her level. It worked out very well and we had a great support team for her.
GVK: How afraid were you to take the change of pace that you did?
KS: I was terrified as I have a great relationship with the fan base and I interact with them on a regular basis and I try to have a great kinship as without them, I do not have a job. The 13-14 years olds that love Jay and Bob swearing all the time will not like this film, but you cant live your life catering to them or else you become Michael Jackson as I need to serve myself first and make something that I am connected to and hope that the audience will follow as they have so far.
GVK: With the scheduling changes, was there pressure or a lot of second thoughts about changing the film?
KS: There was not pressure but lots of second thoughts. We moved to get away from “Matrix Revolutions”, and then we had to move from “Paycheck” and then we were moved into March and it is a good move now as we were distanced from “Gigli” so I was able to trim and swap songs, I moved at least five songs. We did pull out the wedding shot as I did not want people laughing over that with what was to come after.
GVK: What is happening with the Fletch movie?
KS: It is coming but it has been moved on the back burner due to “The Green Hornet” but it is what I will do after “Hornet” as I was working on my second draft of it when “ I got “Hornet” it is damn good.