‘View Askewniverse’ stalwarts Jay and Silent Bob find their way back to our screens in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. It’s very much a love letter to fans from its creator, Kevin Smith, and we had the chance to catch up with him for a chat about it.
Jason Lee’s character, Brodie, lets his feelings on reboots be well known in the movie. But how does Kevin Smith feel about the phenomenon?
He lets loose a guttural laugh and expands: “In real life I’m a big fan. For me a reboot, like a remake, is a cover song. You know, it doesn’t change the fact that I love the original but, every once in a while, somebody gives you a cover where you’re like, ‘That’s wicked, I never would have thought of that.’ I’m a pop culture junkie, so I’m all for it – I’m not like Brodie.”
The fan service in Jay and Silent Reboot is almost unrelenting, with characters from Smith’s past movies popping up all over the shop. Smith didn’t have to resort to guilting anybody to get onboard, although Matt Damon proved a challenge.
“We reached out to Matt throughout the whole production and never heard back. His agent kept saying, ‘We can’t find him.’ So, he was just like MIA. Then, when the movie was done his agent called me and was like, ‘Hey, Matt’s back and he wants to be in the movie’. We had no roles left, but I managed to work out the Loki thing. I think a lot of people just came because they were like, ‘I heard you almost died!’. Some people just wanted to see if I was still around.”
While the usual – and very welcome – Smith silliness is at play in the film, it also carries quite an emotional wallop. Smith is quite open about what inspired this.
“If I had to point to any one specific reason, the heart attack definitely informed the movie. Post-heart attack I was like, ‘There’s no point making this journey unless there’s something to feel out of it’. Like, we can make them laugh with Jay and Silent Bob, but we’ve already done that, so let’s make ’em laugh AND make ’em feel. So I kind of leaned more into the heart of it, particularly the idea of not knowing who your parent is.
“Jason [Mewes] is the only person I’ve ever known who didn’t know who his father was, and he didn’t seem bothered by it, so I thought, ‘I’m going to use it for his character as well.’ Then, oddly enough, we’ve been out in the world with this movie doing Q&As and a good portion of the audience are like, ‘I never knew my father! This movie hit me so hard,’ and I’m always kind of blown away by that.”
A newcomer to Jay and Silent Bob’s world is Chris Hemsworth, who plays a holographic version of himself. Smith took a chance in trying to get him to come and play.
“That happened because Chris had mentioned my name in a piece about Thor: Ragnarok and I was like, ‘Oh my god, the God of Thunder knows my name!’ So when we were casting Reboot, I said, ‘Hey! Reach out to Chris Hemsworth’s people, he seems to know my name, maybe he’ll come for it?’ In a very busy Avengers: Endgame opening weekend, Chris still made space for us to shoot that little piece, it was nice.”
Hemsworth seems to be an almost alarmingly down-to-earth kind of guy, and Smith was quick to confirm it.
“Oh my god! He’s absolutely alarmingly down to earth. He’s so beautiful to look at, obviously one of the most beautiful people to have ever lived, but very normal and fun and funny – he’s got a great sense of humour. Yeah, I was absolutely smitten with the dude. I had high hopes, but he absolutely superseded them all.”
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is out on DVD & Blu-ray from June 17