Almost 20 years and six feature films after making their screen debut in Kevin Smith’s “Clerks,” stoner duo Jay and Silent Bob (played by Jason Mewes and director pal Smith) star in their own animated film, “Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie.”
Smith and Mewes will be on hand to discuss their enduring characters following a screening of the film Sunday at The Fillmore.
Mewes, who publicly battled drug addiction with the help of his Hollywood filmmaker friend, spoke to The Observer last week about his new role as producer, taking the film on the road, and his interest in comics, cartoons and superheroes.
Q. Were you into cartoons and comics as a kid?
Cartoons definitely. Comic books I started getting into when I met Kevin and (Smith movie regulars) Walter Flanagan and Bryan Johnson at the community center where I’d go after school. They started giving me their old comic books. I couldn’t afford any myself. I was 13 or so. I’ve always been into cartoons. “Scooby Doo,” “Voltron,” “G.I. Joe,” “Transformers…” I was able to find “Dungeons and Dragons” on DVD at a comic book convention recently.
Q. The movie continues the saga of Jay and Silent Bob’s superhero alter-egos Bluntman and Chronic?
Kevin actually wrote the script as a graphic novel nine years ago when he did “Chasing Adam” (where the main characters wrote a “Bluntman and Chronic” comic). It was sitting on his shelf for eight years. We’ve had to update it. Nine years ago when Kevin wrote it there was no Twitter, for instance.
Q. How did you find the animator?
Steve Stark actually animated one of the stories from the podcasts that Scott Mosier (another Smith collaborator) and Kevin made and sent it to Kevin. Kevin enjoyed it so much he said, “Hey, there’s another story Scott and I tell. Will you animate this?” He started animating these stories from the Smodcasts.
Q. How did the experience differ from the “Clerks: The Animated Series?”
I produced this one. I was part of it from the beginning. I’m the one that talked to Steve and said, “Hey, do you want to do the movie?” Then I was the one sitting in when everyone was doing their voiceovers. I got to be part of the whole process asking them to do it again and explaining the script – not everyone read the full script, so not everybody knew why they were saying “Don’t Move” or why they got chased.
Q. Do you want to produce more?
I’m already looking into doing a Part 2 of “Groovy Movie.” I just produced a web series (currently titled “The Vigilante Diaries”). I love acting, but I can sit and work on a movie for a month, but then I might have to wait four or five months to do something else. My ideal situation would be produce a cartoon and shoot a movie and maybe afterward direct a week’s worth of web episodes or a short film.
Q. Does staying creative and busy help with your sobriety?
The podcast has been a big help. It’s kept me busy. We used to do it weekly then moved up to Jon Lovitz’s Comedy Club, which holds 250 people. We starting hearing from people that they wanted to see it. So we toured all over with it. The podcast is me talking about Kevin and I shooting movies and me staying at his house and putting me in rehab. It kept us busy and honestly it’s got us even closer. We’ve known each other 25 years and we’ve gotten closer.
Q. When did you realize these two characters had legs?
Not until recently really. We shot “Clerks” and we weren’t even on the poster. After “Clerks” I went back to work roofing. Right around “Chasing Amy’ people started talking about us more and we came out as comic books and action figures. I still never thought we’d be doing stuff involving the characters 20 years later.
Q. Did “Groovy Movie” satisfy your desire to be in a superhero film?
It hasn’t fulfilled it. To be honest I never wanted to be a superhero. I don’t think I’d enjoy it as much as watching somebody else do it. I would like to be the tech guy or maybe one of the FBI agents that’s in two scenes. I’d like to be in “Iron Man 4” and be one of (Tony) Stark’s employees. Watching myself animated is different than watching myself in a pair of tights on the big screen.
Q. Is touring the new way to release an independent or smaller film?
Unless you have movies like “The Avengers” and these big $200 million movies, people don’t want to leave their house. With this not only are people coming out, they get to see a Q&A/podcast and get to hang out. I sign stuff and chill outside after the movie. I think that brings something different to the table.
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