When director, film and comic book geek Kevin Smith stopped by CNN’s Los Angeles bureau, he dropped more of his special brand of "pearls of wisdom" than could possibly be contained in one iReport interview (Smith answers questions from fans in the video above).
Of particular interest to comic book movie fans is his unusual theory about the next "Batman" film, "The Dark Knight Rises."
Such is to be expected from the “Red State” director (his latest, next-to-last flick is now available on demand), who has an annual Saturday night panel at San Diego Comic-Con where he sounds off on all things film and comic books. His most devoted fans appreciate that he is "one of them," a longtime fan of comic books and superhero movies who says exactly what many of them are thinking (not to mention that he owns a comic book store, soon to be featured on an AMC reality show).
No doubt about it, he excels at speaking his mind. ("Silent Bob," he is not.) Smith had a *lot* to say to CNN, so here are his most quotable moments:
What he’s geeking out about
“I’ve been geeking out pretty hardcore for the last three to four weeks now about ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ Oh my Lord, I haven’t watched a trailer that much since maybe the 1989 ‘Batman.’ I’ve probably seen ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ trailer more than I’ve seen the trailers for all my movies combined. I’ve been following it online like crazy.
I’m constantly wondering if Warner Bros. is out of their minds, because we’ve seen [paparazzi shots of] the Batwings, we’ve seen Catwoman’s outfit. And Chris Nolan is such a secretive dude, he must be going out of his mind! When you shoot distance footage of these big movies, it looks so dopey. When it’s shot across the street on a cell phone camera, you’re like, 'that looks weird.'
All that Bane footage has proved to me is that Bane is not the main bad guy. My main theory is that Ra’s al Guhl [Liam Neeson in ‘Batman Begins’] is coming back. I think they’re like, ‘Look at Bane, look at Catwoman, look at the Batwing!' And it’s just to distract from the fact that something we don’t know about is coming in. For us to see as much footage as we’ve seen, it sounds like a bait and switch.”
On film critics
“I was taught when I first got into this business to respect and fear critics. For years and years, I lived in fear of critics, because if you say something, then they’ll butcher your next one.
I made this movie called ‘Cop Out,’ dopey movie, not meant to cure cancer. It’s called ‘Cop Out,’ not ‘Schindler’s Cop Out.’ Critics shredded the movie as if it had loftier goals. As I read the reviews, it was a bloodsport. It was, ‘how can I be more snide than the last guy?’
After years and years of being afraid of critics, I stood out there and said, maybe you guys suck at your job? You have never seen such an outcry from the critical community. And I said, hey, doesn’t it suck to be criticized about your job? Welcome to my world.”
On why “Red State” went on tour
“Jeff Robinov [president of Warner Bros. Pictures] was talking about the ‘Green Lantern.’
He goes: 'Maybe the first one doesn’t pan out, but we want to start a basis for the next one.'
He said: 'We did it with "Batman Begins." It did good but not great... but I made "The Dark Knight," and that made billions worldwide. It’s worth taking that risk to build massive franchises.' This is nothing different than what they’ve done for years: Overspending to conduct their business.
But for me, you can do it another way. You can do it inexpensively. But they can’t hear that up there. That’s like walking into an auto plant, and saying, ‘I can save you guys, $600,000 a year. And they’re like ‘That’s nice son.’ With ‘Red State,’ I can make back $4 million by not spending $20 million to reach an audience, as long as I don’t play the marketing game. That’s not me saying, ‘I’m going to burn the temple down and rebuild it.’ That’s me going, ‘Look, this movie is going to be engulfed if we do it the normal way, I’m going to take it over here and special handle that stuff,' and it kinda worked out.”