Jul 27, 2011 09:21 PM EST
Kevin Smith Talks Red State
Kevin Smith is in the process of releasing his latest project Red State this year and FlickDirect had a chance to sit down with the director during Comic Con 2011 at the Movies on Demand Lounge to discuss the project with him.
Being a departure both from his standard fare of quirky humor and shared-universe characters, Red State is a horror movie where three men while following an on-line offer of sex, instead are snared by a murderous right-wing cult. Speaking at Comic Con, Kevin explained that his movie was not only something of a change-up for his fans, but was also a departure for him as his other movies had been produced and distributed by the Winesteins (Harvey and Bob). He explained, since Red State was a different kind of property than they usually produce, they sent him back and forth until he finally decided to do it himself. Although, to show his love for the people who helped make his career possible, he called the production team 'The Harvey Boys'.
Talking about the material, Kevin noted he was more gratified than horrified when the ultra right-wing, Westboro Baptist Church, appeared to protest. Perhaps they feel the cult is a depiction of them. He described their signs (including one which they gave him autographed by all of the members and even of the 'the old man himself', Fred Phelphs). He described a radio-show call wherein the Westboro Church spokeswoman was offered tickets to the premier and accepted. Kevin gave her six; but she called back immediately and requested fifteen. "God may hate fags," he remarked, alluding to their infamous signs, "but apparently He loves a discount." He explained that he was disappointed when, about six minutes into the show, they had to leave apologetically saying "Sorry Kevin, this is filthy." He had hoped to get them on stage after the viewing to debate with them. However, at the time he saw them as sort of extreme performance audiences, but he says he has since revised his opinion -- after one of them tweeted sexual and disturbing things about his 11-year-old-daughter and he heard from some ex-members of the family who described growing up in an abusive household. He now sees them as more of a cult.
For Kevin, Red State is a big deal. Doing the production and release himself, he is in new ground and outside of his directorial comfort zone. He described the scene where his relationship with the Harvey's came to a head over their refusal to make the picture. On its release night, Harvey Weinsten had been invited to the showing at the film festival. After complaining that it interfered with a football game party he was holding, he elected to come; but instead of entering the theater, he stood outside talking loudly into his phone. Kevin described sticking his head out and yelling at his mentor, producer, and source of his career to be quiet. After doing so, he said, he felt like he had just shouted at God.
Red State may be an unusual movie for Smith, but he feels his fans will see it any way. He says his communication (Twitter, pod casts, regular appearances) has kept him in touch, and his movies hold a stead audience. Made on a small budget, he says he is getting a chance to do the kind of film making he didn't have to after the surprise success of Clerks, and the backing from that point on. He also credited smoking a large amount of marijuana with "making him fearless."
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