March 25, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 92  

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Kevin Smith on sex and Ben Affleck

By Shannon Proudfoot
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
JAY AND SILENT BOB CREATE SOME SORT OF MISCHIEF. Kevin Smith is well-renowned for his series of movies that feature his silent self and his pot-smoking buddy.

TORONTO — About halfway through Kevin Smith’s marathon question-and-answer session at Roy Thompson Hall, a chubby fan with greasy hair stepped up to an audience microphone, and began, “From one fat nerd to another... ” Smith paused a long moment before hollering, “Wait a minute — you think I’m a fat nerd?!” — eliciting roars of laughter from the audience.

So goes an evening with Smith, director of cult favourite films like Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma. Dubbed “Kevin Smith Speaks Out,” the event was sponsored by Ryerson University’s Student Administrative Council, and the normally sedate venue that houses the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was packed with raucous students.

Smith strolled onstage — sporting a trench coat, baggy shorts and checkered Vans running shoes — after an introduction by Pat Mastroianni and Stefan Brogren, former stars of Degrassi Junior High.

The director recalled his obsession with the 1980s Canadian show; as soon as his first independent film Clerks earned money, he immediately called Scholastic and forced a confused receptionist to sell him the complete Degrassi video series intended for loan to high schools.

Of course, Smith’s brilliant comedic storytelling is buoyed by the fact that his friends include Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Jason Lee and Jason Mewes, who plays mouthy sidekick Jay to Smith’s onscreen alter-ego Silent Bob.

Smith defended his choice to cast Affleck and Lopez together in Jersey Girl — which opens tomorrow — despite evidence (in the form of Gigli) that the pair are akin to a war crime when onscreen together. He maintained that Affleck’s love for Lopez at the time improved his performance, explaining, “He didn’t have to act at all. And trust me, the less you need Affleck to act, the better off you are.”

Not only was he candid about his friends’ romantic lives, but Smith spoke about his own, too. He described his arousal while doing a Playboy shoot — featuring his wife Jennifer scantily-clad in the arms of a mock Superman — for the magazine’s 50th anniversary. And then he mentioned his wife’s refusal to have sex in a supply closet on set.

Smith had the audience in hysterics with a story about being overcome with emotion watching the trailer for Seabiscuit, when his wife walked in on him sobbing. Imitating his wife, Smith gave a sad, disgusted shake of the head, and muttered, “I can’t believe I let you stick your cock in me!”

Amazingly generous with his time, Smith spoke for almost four hours before organizers forced him to stop answering questions so they could avoid paying overtime for the venue. The Q-and-A format allowed the audience to direct the evening, but became annoying when several aspiring young filmmakers took the mic to shill for their projects or unique ability to understand Smith’s oeuvre.

The director deserves praise for being kind, if sarcastic, to everyone, but much of the audience wished he would just tell the precocious ones to tone it down a notch so we could hear more of his hilariously brilliant commentary.



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