The Real Reason Kevin Smith Says He’ll Never Direct An MCU Movie – Exclusive
While writer-director Kevin Smith has mostly made films inspired by his real-life comedic exploits, the esteemed filmmaker has honed his craft enough since his debut with “Clerks” in 1994 to take on any genre he wishes to, including films in the comic book movie realm.
Smith is a longtime comic book aficionado whose endeavors include the ownership of Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, a comic book and collectibles store in his hometown of Red Bank, New Jersey. On top of that, Smith began his friendship with Marvel legend Stan Lee when Lee appeared in Smith’s second film, “Mallrats,” in 1995, and the filmmaker went on to write stories for Marvel Comics. Smith even had a small supporting role in a Marvel movie — playing a character appropriately named Jack Kirby, a forensic assistant — in writer-director Mark Steven Johnson’s version of “Daredevil” in 2003.
Surprisingly, “Daredevil” — which starred his longtime friend and collaborator Ben Affleck in the title role — appears to be as far as Smith wants to take things when it comes to any involvement with Marvel on the big screen. Even though Smith is a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and certainly has the connections to throw his hat in the ring for consideration, the famed writer-director is adamant that he will always remain an MCU fan and not become an MCU filmmaker.
Kevin Smith says he's 'not talented enough' to direct an MCU film
In the past, Smith said that if he were to direct an MCU film, it would take him out of the realm of being a fan of the saga, and he simply doesn’t want to risk that. More importantly, Smith told Looper in an exclusive interview for the new documentary, “Clerk,” that he simply doesn’t think he has the merit to handle the scale of an MCU film.
“I’m not talented enough to do that stuff. You look at those movies, man. That takes a real visionary to pull that stuff off,” Smith said, humbly. “And granted, I know it’s a team, and they got … I’ve seen behind the Marvel curtain, the Marvel Cinematic Universe method. And I understand that it takes a village and there’s a bunch of people, but I would be the weakest link in that village.”
As such, Smith said he is content with remaining a consumer of the Marvel offerings, and nothing more.
“I love those movies to death, but I never ever sit there going like, ‘Well, this is what I would do different’ or ‘Oh, I wish I was making this.’ I always like to say the chef has to eat, too. And I’m used to preparing meals for people,” Smith observed. “And granted, they’re not sustaining meals, and they’re not fancy meals, but I know how to cook. I need to eat, too. And that’s what I eat. I consume that stuff. And oddly enough, I don’t output it. It’s not like I watch a Marvel movie and go like, ‘I want to make a Marvel movie.'”
The MCU influences the way Smith tackles his own films
When he watches an MCU movie, it inspires Smith to excel at his own cinematic creations, including the upcoming threequel “Clerks III.”
“I see people doing what they’re exceptionally good at [in the MCU] and reminds me to go do what I consider myself to be exceptionally good at. So, I don’t think I have the talent to pull that kind of thing off. I’m not visionary enough,” Smith reiterated. “You need somebody who’s big in the visual storytelling realm. And you’ve got plenty of kids coming out of film school and coming out of Sundance who Marvel could scoop up, who are wanting to do that and have dreams of that.”
Smith said his feeling about not wanting to tackle franchise films like those in the MCU isn’t entirely new. In fact, he felt the same way when he made “Clerks” nearly three decades ago.
“When I started my career back in ’94, that was never in the cards. Making big action movies wasn’t my thing. I just always wanted to make Kevin Smith movies, and some are more complicated than others, but they’re all pretty simple. They’re people talking to each other,” Smith told Looper. “I made my comic book movie, I feel like, with ‘Dogma” and with ‘Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.’ So, for the Marvel movies, I’m content to just watch them. Same with the DC movies and ‘Star Wars.’ The big stuff that I enjoy talking about on [the podcast] ‘FatMan Beyond’ every week or on [the podcast] ‘Hollywood Babble-On.’ Those are the movies that I enjoy ingesting, but I would never try to make one in a million years.”
Kevin Smith appreciates the advantage he has with creating his own characters
In a cultural climate where social media users can be vindictive over filmmakers’ creative choices, Smith said he’s glad that he doesn’t have to bear the brunt of making decisions involving other people’s creations — especially those of the superhero ilk.
“I don’t really trade in characters where people have that much of an emotional investment or a pop culture investment,” Smith explained. “If I was making a ‘Batman’ movie, that sets me up for disappointing others, because they’re like, ‘I know what ‘Batman’ is like, and you better give me the Batman that I’m used to.’ And maybe I don’t, and that lets them down. When it comes to my characters, I can’t be wrong. I created my characters. Those characters are part of me, and they grow with me.”
As a result, Smith doesn’t worry about what he does with his film characters, because essentially, they’re his.
“I never feel like, ‘Ooh, are they going to come after me for making this choice?’ I’m like, ‘They can’t, I’m the guy that created this stuff.’ It’s not like I’m picking up somebody else’s characters, somebody else’s intellectual property and having my way with them,” Smith continued. “I’m like, ‘These are my kids. These are my characters. And until I leave this world, I’m the guy in charge of their storytelling.’ And I don’t make movies where people are like, ‘We need nine sequels.’ I made ‘Clerks III’ because I “wanted to, not because the world was asking for it.”
“Clerk” is now available on digital video.