With movies like Clerks, Chasing Amy and Dogma in his filmography, no one ever accused Kevin Smith of being warm and fuzzy. But with the release of Jersey Girl, the sardonic director showed he does have a soft and romantic side. With Girl arriving on DVD Sept. 14, Smith sat down with TV Guide Online to riff about his critics, Bennifer and that buzz surrounding The Green Hornet.
TV Guide Online: Jersey Girl is a different kind of picture for you.
Kevin Smith: I'd recently become a father when I started writing it, and I was kind of obsessed with that subject matter. The stuff I'd done before this was kind of profane and cynical, but underneath, there's this sweetness. The movie caught people in weird ways. I got great reviews from critics who never like my movies and horrible reviews from those who thought I was "selling out."
TVGO: So are you going back to profane and cynical?
Smith: Oh yeah. This was a one off. I wanted to give it a shot and I'm happy with the results. I love the movie. But we got caught up in the "Bennifer" maelstrom, which was just a nightmare. So the movie was prejudged by a lot of people before it came out. We took a lot of lumps for them, and I took a lot of lumps for making a supposedly soft movie.
TVGO: Did the Ben and Jen breakup surprise you?
Smith: Thankfully, I wasn't around for that part. You get confused because you're like, "What? You guys seemed like such a great couple." But you know, I think all that coverage took a toll on them. US Weekly became Ben and Jen Weekly for almost a year. So I was sad when they split up. But they both got to a decent place. She's married and he's cool with it. When Jen and Marc Anthony got married, I was like, "Are you bugged?" and he's like, "No, just happy for her."
TVGO: I take it you were not invited to J.Lo's wedding?
Smith: No. But I was invited to the Ben and Jen wedding that didn't happen. I was supposed to be a groomsman and I was going to do a reading. Ben had some major fashion label outfitting all the groomsmen. They came to the house and measured me up for a free tux. So I lost out on a free tux when they didn't get married. I wanted that expensive tux!
TVGO: You're a DVD fan. What discs should everyone own?
Smith: A Man for All Seasons, The Office [TV series], The Talented Mr. Ripley — and every DVD I've ever put out, because I could use the cash.
TVGO: Cash? But I've heard your next project is a very big-budget pic.
Smith: I've signed up to [direct] The Green Hornet. When I was asked by Harvey Weinstein to do it for Miramax, I was blown away because nobody offers me a franchise movie. When you watch my movies, you don't really think of me for that type of thing. I keep telling them, "I'm the guy who makes fun of comic-book movies!"