Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, Again – Tonight
If there’s anything stoner moviegoers love more than a cannabis plant itself, it’s characters in the movies they’re watching acting like they’re completely gonked out of their gourds.
Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith know this, and they’ve taken advantage of it quite well. The two old friends – famed director Smith and his long-running partner in pity crime – have parlayed that knowledge into a series of films about life in stoned suburbia, playing streetwise stoners Jay and Silent Bob in Smith’s Clerks before winding their ways through Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, eventually circling back to the convenience store for Clerks II.
Now, Mewes, whose only non-acting or voiceover credit previously came on the Hulu release Spoilers with Kevin Smith, is taking a true shot at production.
Released unto the world on April 20 (nooch), Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie is a 95-minute exorcism of blunt-wrapped demons: a cartoon film that finds the two New Jersey street-curb prophets morphing into stoned superheroes in an effort to take down the demonic League of Shitters, an assembly of perverted anti-heroes (voiced by such notable figures as Jon Lovitz, Neil Gaiman, Eliza Dushku, and Ray William Johnson) out to trash their beloved Red Bank.
Mewes and Smith have spent the past three months touring the country in promotion of the movie, screening it in theatres before hosting a Q&A and live podcast taping of their recently launched podcast, Jay & Silent Bob Get Old.
Doors open at 6:30pm at the Paramount tonight; Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie screens at 7:30. Tickets are going fast, but a few still remain. We caught up with Mewes a few days before the screening to figure out what all to expect.
Austin Chronicle: This films extends from a long running thematic device employed in a number of your films, correct?
Jason Mewes: It’s the characters Jay and Bob, and it’s not really part of the whole universe necessarily. It’s them hanging out in Red Bank [New Jersey] wanting clean it up, so they decide to become superheroes: Bluntman and Chronic. They were able to realize this because they got a lot of money, and they were like “Hey, you know what we can do with this money?”
AC: Why is now the time to revive it as a movie?
JM: Kevin had the script sitting at his house for like eight years after he made the [Bluntman & Chronic] graphic novel for Chasing Amy for Banky and Holden. He had the script sitting there, and I told him that I wanted to start doing different stuff. I wanted to produce and wanted to direct, but I didn’t even know how to go about starting the process. He asked if I knew how to produce and I said I could figure it out, so he said I needed something to produce.
He said, “Well, look. I’ve had this script sitting around forever. Why don’t you take it, produce it, see what comes of it?” I thought that was awesome, because Kevin … Say you wanted to read Clerks III right now. You have to go to his house; he won’t let it leave his house. I thought it was awesome that he gave me a script and was like, “Here, take it. Go do something with it.”
I started thinking about what to do with it, and I called Steve Stark, who is the has done some animations for Kevin and Scott Moser. We started running with it, got about six minutes done, and went to show it to Kevin. He had no idea that I was going to do anything with it. He thought that I was going to put the script on my shelf and let it sit. But he loved it and said “Aw man, we should make it into a movie.” I said it was a great idea, but I wanted to tour with it, the way he did with Red State.
I feel like now, in order to get everybody out of the house to watch a movie, it’s got to be a little more appealing. Everything’s on the interwebs. I thought that we could give them a Q&A podcast, and that’s how it started.
AC: How much of a role did Kevin have in the development of the movie other than the writing?
JM: He didn’t have much, but we would put scenes together throughout. Every once in a while he’d come in and say: “Hey, this joke is outdated. Let me rewrite it. Pop it in here. This joke’s outdated, let’s pull this out and put this in here.” He had a little to do with rewrites, and he did a lot on the sound mix. I’d never done any sound work, so when we got there, he came in and helped out with some of that. I had no idea how much you had to be a master with your ears. If things were off-sync for two seconds, Kevin would notice.
AC: What can cartoon Jay and Silent Bob do that the real life Jay and Silent Bob can’t?
JM: They never age. They can stay young forever.
AC: How does that benefit them as they wage war against the League of Shitters?
JM: Their health being intact, and their wits: I feel like a live-action, 65-year-old Jay and Silent Bob would be slow-moving and slow-witted.
AC: It seems as though Dick Head, one of the film’s bad guys, who shoots ejaculate from his penis-shaped head as a defense mechanism, is the superhero tandem’s most formidable opponent.
JM: I would say that’s definitely the case. We get into his story more than the other characters. He’s strong, and he shoots spew out of his head. Ralph Garman did a great job. I’d say that the whole cast – Eliza Dushku and Ben Gleib – everyone who was a part of it did a great, great job. Ralph does great with Dick Head.
AC: The screening will be followed by a live recording of your podcast.
JM: Yes, we do it a little different. We do a Q&A so that most people can talk about the movie. We’ll record it, throw it up on smodcast.com. So we’ll do that, do a little podcasting, and then at the end, we’ll play a little game we like to call "Let Us Fuck," which’ll bring a few audience members up to the stage for some fun. It’s a three-and-a-half hour extravaganza, if you will.
AC: The game is called "Let Us Fuck"?
AC: What goes on in "Let Us Fuck"?
JM: You bring three audience members up, and then we come up with weird positions. So it’s not missionary style or doggystyle. People will come up with, like, The Chicago Anal Capone, and you have to come up with that position. There’s no nakedness. It’s just pretend air-sex. It’s like an air guitar contest, but with sex positions.
AC: Fair warning: Austin, Texas, is the home of Air Sex competitions.
JM: No way.
AC: Yep. The Air Sex World Championships were founded in Austin just a few years ago.
JM: That’s amazing. I got to remember that and make an announcement of that.