Jay and Silent Bob are back on the big screen together after a decade and some change away. The iconic duo, played by filmmaker Kevin Smith and his trusty “hetero life mate” Jason Mewes, were last seen leading their own flick in 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Now, Smith is returning to his ViewAskewniverse with Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, a star-studded sequel that will bring back a ton of fan favorites, while introducing quite a few new faces to the universe.
This is the first time Kevin Smith has visited his own cinematic universe since Clerks II in 2006, and his first movie since suffering his near-fatal heart attack last year. Jason Mewes is once again carrying this movie on his shoulders as Jay, just as he did in its 2001 predecessor. Not only that, but the two will be heading out on a tour starting later this month that runs through February 2020 to screen Jay and Silent Bob Reboot at theaters all across the country.
I was lucky enough to speak with Jason Mewes in honor of his cinematic return as the foul-mouthed, lovable stoner. We discuss what it was like working with Smith’s daughter, Harley Quinn Smith (who plays Jay’s daughter in the movie), his directorial debut Madness in the Method and much more.
Jay has been obviously an enormous part of your career, but it’s been a little while since you’ve played Jay in a really sizeable role on the big screen. So getting back into it, was it just like putting on a nice old comfortable pair of shoes? Or did you have a little bit of trouble getting a grip on it for this time around?
Jason Mewes: I thought it was going to be as easy as putting on a comfortable pair of shoes. I want to say yes and no because I thought it was gonna be easy, and we shot our first scene, our first day was with Jason Lee… I went in there, I’ve played the character many times. I’ve worked with Jason Lee, so there was no weird nervousness, because I still get nervous if I’m working with someone I haven’t worked with before… Long story short, we get in there I’m ready to go, we start doing some pages and I memorized most of the scenes the night before, but not all of it. I’d say 80 percent. Not 100 percent. And I thought because I’ve done it so many times, and because I’m working with Jason Lee I would just memorize the rest of it in the morning. I started going through the scenes and reading them and trying to memorize them. And then all the sudden, I just forgot. Jason Lee would start talking and doing his big monologues and I would sit there and stare out him. I spaced out, man. So we did like four takes and Kevin’s like, “Come here! Look, watch the playback monitor.” And I’m like, “What Bro?” And I was just standing there staring blankly at Jason Lee.
So, to answer the question, I thought that I’d be confident and I’d be able to slip into the shoes but I had forgotten how much dialogue Kevin writes, how much I had to memorize and how wordy and mouthy the words are. For camera’s sake, when I’m on camera and not talking, I can’t just sit there and listen. I have to react to what the person is saying because I’m on screen, on camera for a good 45 seconds with no dialogue. We went like two hours over that first day… We finally, after a couple hours of warming up, we finally get through it. Because of that, I was like, “This is never going to happen again.” That night I went over my lines. I did not go to sleep until I had them off-page, 100 percent. So the rest of the shoot, it was almost like a pair of shoes, if we’re using that analogy. The shoes fit, but they’ve been sitting and maybe they curled up. Then I got my foot in there and walk around a little bit, then finally they fit like a glove again.
You touched a little bit on Kevin. You guys have worked with each other your whole lives, but Kevin had a big change in his life with the heart attack. Did he change a bit as a director? Did that affect him at all, or was he kind of the same old guy behind the camera?
Jason Mewes: I don’t think it changed him necessarily for that. I think he was so excited. I think he forgot how, I don’t want to say the word difficult, but I think he just forget, hey, I’m getting dressed in wardrobe. It’s gonna be hot when I’m outside. And then I have to worry about how I look on camera, but also can’t pay attention to the other actors as they’re acting when I’m in the scene because my look. So I think he forgot all of that too. So I know the first day he was a little overwhelmed. I don’t think his style, overall, changed throughout the shoot. I just think, same with me, it took him a couple days. He directed Tusk and Red State and Yoga Hosers, and then a couple of other things, between the last movie. So I think he really forgot, when you’re directing and you’re on camera, you can’t watch what you’re doing. Overall, his scare and stuff, I think it helped him in the sense that he didn’t sweat as much. I mean, he used to sweat, this isn’t anything negative or bad, but I know he used to say it all the time, he used to sweat constantly. I feel like he was a little bit more comfortable. I would say overall, he felt better. I think he felt better about taking lunches. I know back in the day he would edit during lunchtime and really barely eat anything at that time. Now, he would stop. He would take his lunch break. Good things. Good changes. Overall, as a director, directing me and directing everybody, I would say there’s nothing that really stood out to me that was like, “Oh my God! He’s such a different man!”
I think the one thing that everyone has noticed is that the cast for this is massive. You’ve got a ton of people who throughout the years have appeared in these movies and a bunch of cool cameos. Was there anyone in the cast, particularly that you were really excited to work with this time around?
Jason Mewes: Everybody. I’d say everybody I hadn’t worked with I was a little excited about. I definitely was excited to work with Harley [Quinn Smith]. I think it’s such an interesting thing because I’ve known here forever. It’s such a cool thing to see and a cool thing to not only see, but being across from her at work, and get to see her do her thing. It was cool to see Jason after all these years. I think he was one of the funniest parts. Again, there was a lot of great parts. Diedrich [Bader] character, the security guard, I thought that would be so cool after so many years seeing him. I don’t know, there’s a lot of people. I guess I have my own reasons for everybody. I’m a fan of True Blood so seeing Joe Manganiello. Just seeing Craig [Robinson] again after so many years. Shannon [Elizabeth] and Rosario [Dawson]. It was just so awesome getting back with all of these people I hadn’t seen in so many years. I think it’s awesome that Chris [Hemsworth] was in it. But I wasn’t even there, so I can’t really say.
It’s like a nice to have that excitement about the whole thing. Kevin has talked a bunch about, following a heart attack, this was his big, one and only focus. He wanted to get Jay and Silent Bob Reboot made. That said, do you do you think one day we could see a third movie to round out the Jay and Silent Bob trilogy? Have you guys talked about that at all?
Jason Mewes: No. I feel like his focus now is definitely the Reboot Roadshow. He’s excited to get feedback from people… I think he’d really like to do Clerks III. I think it’d be great. I don’t know. I wonder. I feel like it would depend. I don’t feel like right this second he’s focused on, “Hey! I think we should get into a part 3 of Jay and Bob.” But I feel like if the movie does really well, then who knows? Maybe it will spark him to be like, “No. We should get right into a full on trilogy situation.” Hopefully. I definitely feel like I have one more in me. Not one more movie, but one more Jay and Bob. I really think it would be cool to do a full-on trilogy. Have three movies and have something really cool happen. So, we’ll see.
Before we run out of time I want to first congratulate you on Madness in the Method because that was your directorial debut, which was a huge accomplishment.
Jason Mewes: Thank you!
Of course man! So following that do you see yourself doing more directing? Have you lined anything up or was that just kind of something you needed to do to get it out of your system?
Jason Mewes: I don’t have anything lined up, but yes, I would totally loveI to do something else again. I would really, really hope that something comes up. Even if it’s not a [Madness in the Method] sequel, just do another movie. We’ll see, but I loved it. I really, really enjoy doing directing. The only thing different I’d like to do is, if I was able to do it again, I would definitely want to not be in the movie as much as I was in Madness. It’s not a bad thing but for me it would be my next experience, adventure. It would love to fully direct and not be focused on doing two things. Three things. I’d love to just focus on directing and really get into that, and maybe do one or two scenes in the movie… My focus was super pulled in multiple directions during the whole filming of that. I get why Kevin would want to be in his own movies, his first movie, because he didn’t know if he’d get to do another movie again, but he made himself silent.
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot will screen for two-nights only through Fathom Events on October 15 and 17. To grab tickets, head on over to FathomEvents.com. Or, to check out a date on the Reboot Roadshow, head on over to RebootRoadshow.com.