Having a brush with death would probably change most people’s perspective on life, and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot – filmmaker Kevin Smith’s most intimate and personal film so far – seems to suggest it did for the Clerks director, who suffered a massive heart attack in February 2018.
Talking to Yahoo Movies UK, the cult-favourite auteur says he stopped caring what anybody thought about him, or his work, after his health scare.
“It enabled me to pour gallons of heart onto [Jay and Silent Bob Reboot],” Smith said about approaching the film, the sequel to 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
“We were able to lean into the emotional aspects of the movie, because after the heart attack, I didn't care anymore if anyone judges me. I almost died, I'm living on borrowed time, I've tried to act accordingly because I'm hyper-aware of that. So yeah, I'm gonna make a movie that memorialises me.”
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With that in mind, he effectively admits that the film hasn't been made to draw in new crowds – it's made for his fans, and his fans only, something he feels is culturally acceptable in light of Marvel's impact on modern cinema.
“We tried to make an entertaining movie for the audience but I didn't feel like I had to check every box, I could make this a more personal experience,” he said.
“You're not talking about a mainstream audience, you're talking about a hardcore collective of people. This is probably the least user-friendly movie out there – you have to know to a bunch of other movies in order to enjoy it. We live in that culture now – you can't really enjoy [Avengers:] Endgame, you have to have seen 10, 20 movies prior to that.”
In the new film, when Jay and Silent Bob discover that a reboot of the Bluntman & Chronic movie (a movie based on a comic book based on them) is being made (and they lose the right to use their own names after the company behind it take out an injunction against them), they head off to ChronicCon in Hollywood to stop it.
Along the way, they run into Jay’s old girlfriend Justice (Shannon Elizabeth) and Jay discovers he has a daughter he never knew he had – one who forces Jay and Silent Bob, at knifepoint, to take her and her three friends with them to Hollywood so they can be extras in the new movie.
We also discussed Harvey Weinstein with Smith, given that Reboot sees Matt Damon reprise the role of Loki from Smith’s 1999 film Dogma, which is still owned by the Weinsteins.
Smith recounts the last time he spoke to the shamed producer, which was a week before the New York Times article broke, despite the fact they hadn't spoken for a decade.
“I felt used,” Smith admitted. “I can't like my old movies anymore – they were made under that system, so making Reboot which was our first movie since Clerks that didn't have Weinstein's name on it anywhere, so it was important to do it and now that we're free.”
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is in cinemas now. Watch a trailer below.