Note for the easily offended: In typical Kevin Smith style, this interview contains a lot of swearing. We bleep it out, but if you have delicate sensibilities for that sort of thing, beware.
You never know what you’re going to get with director Kevin Smith, and that proved to be the case last week when he invited a handful of journalists to chat at Comic-Con. The intimate session was supposed to cover his latest project Red State, a horror film about a group of teens who encounter fundamentalists with a deadly agenda. It quickly spiraled out of control when Smith threw out all his talking points and revealed an explosive story on…how he told Harvey Weinstein to shut the f*ck -up.
He began by sharing with us how the script for Red State was born. It all started around 2007 in the midst of making Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
“I only wrote in that moment in time as an exercise because we were waiting to hear from Seth Rogen, we had sent him Zack and Miri. I had prom girl syndrome. I was staring at the phone and I kept thinking, ‘OK, this is it. Here’s Seth calling.’ After a while I felt so f*cking strange and I thought I’m going to start writing Red State, wrote it in three-four days and that took my mind off Zack and Miri since we were still waiting on Seth to commit.”
He went on to say that he was surprised when the Weinstein brothers passed on Red State because they didn’t know how to market the film. So we asked Smith if the Weinstein brothers had given him any input on the movie. He was quick to express his gratitude for Bob Weinstein, who apparently gave him a few tips.
“I saw Bob at Sundance. He went to the screening in the morning; we also had a night screening. He loved it. He immediately went into Bob mode and gave me cut notes. He’s like, ‘The speech is too long and the ending just needs to end don’t drag it out.’ So I said, ‘Alright. This is a smart f*cking dude. He’s made more movies then I have ever made. He’s got a good head for that.’ I took note,” Smith said.
But things turned a bit sour when asked about Harvey’s support--or lack thereof. At first Smith seemed hesitant and said he would tell the story on his podcast but within a few seconds he was dishing out one of the no doubt juiciest stories ever told at Comic-Con.
“[Harvey] was there at the screening, the night of the big auction at Sundance. We had a moment at the screening,” said Smith. “I’m sitting in the back of the theater, true story, our debut at Sundance. Me and Jon Gordon made this movie, Jon used to be Harvey Weinstein’s assistant for years and then he became executive at Miramax. I made most of my movies at Miramax. Without the Weinstein brothers I wouldn’t be in this business at all. We called our company the Harvey Boys in honor of Harvey Weinstein. We thought, ‘Oh my god, this is going to be like Christmas when this fat motherf*cker sits down to watch this movie.’ He’s going to think, ‘What a gift. They love me.’”
Smith continues that Gordon was the one who invited the Weinstein brothers to the screening, which turned out to be inconvenient for Harvey.
“Harvey called [John] Cooper the head of Sundance and asked what they could do to move the Red State screening. Cooper says, ‘What are you talking about?’ and he says, 'Well the Jets are playing. I have a party going on.’ So Cooper tells him they can’t move the screening just because he has a party,” said Smith.
But here comes the best part. Harvey ends up showing up to the screening unbeknownst to Smith and pulls one of his all-star rude moments. Only this time Smith wasn’t going to take it.
“Dude ends up showing up. I don’t know this until I’m sitting at the back of the screening. About seven minutes in I hear, like, f*cking Charlie Brown’s teacher in the next room. And I’m like, I f*cking know that voice. I get up to look, push the curtain over and I look and there is Harvey in the lobby talking to his assistant at full volume. Now I see that and I think this is typical Harvey, he’s never been f*cking polite at a screening even at his own. I sit back down and two minutes later he’s loud again.
“I don’t know what it was. It was a real trying moment for me because again without him I wouldn’t have a career. These cats handpicked Clerks and I made all my early movies with them. Everything I got in this life is because of the Weinstein brothers. But as in every f*cking tale of father and son there comes I moment where you step up and say, ‘Today, I am a man.’ I never did at my own house because I’m a p*ssy but I figured I could do it to this person who I wasn’t really related to. Especially in this instance where we made the movie without him and here he was being obnoxious.
“So I kept thinking, ‘What should I do? What should I do?’ I get up and I swear to god, I pull the curtain open and say, ‘Hey!’ He looks over and I say, ‘Shut the f*ck up! Yeah, shut the f*ck up. I would never do this to you. I would never come to one of your screenings and act like an a**hole. Shut the f*ck up.’
“And he looked like he was going to come over and punch me so I closed the curtain and sat down. That was a huge moment and I thought, ‘Here he comes! Repercussions!’ and nothing happened. I looked over and he was gone. That was f*cking scary. I literally faced down god. I wasn’t being rude or a diva, he shouldn’t have been talking.
“I told Jon we were literally f*cking stupid to name our production company the Harvey Boys because Harvey don’t give a f*ck. He obviously doesn’t care. We’re alone. It was an important lesson.”
Red State hits theaters on October 19th.