Kevin Smith – the man who directed ’90s budget cult classics Clerks and Mallrats – is a stoner icon. He’ll be at this month’s Edinburgh International Film Festival for the UK premiere of his latest flick, Yoga Hosers, which stars his daughter Harley Quinn Smith (yep, named after that Harley Quinn) alongside Lily Rose Depp. We spoke to Smith about the movie, Prince and the status of Clerks 3 and Mallrats 2.
What on earth is Yoga Hosers all about?
“It’s fucking batshit stupid, I’ll be honest with you. I’m in this really weird phase of my career where I’m making the kind of movies I grew up watching, cable movies from the ‘80s. Tusk – a movie I did, like, two years ago that this movie spun out of – was sort of like a Hammer horror film. There are two girls who work in a convenience store in that movie and Yoga Hosers is about those two little girls. They fight villains that pop up out of the earth – which are one foot tall Canadian Nazis made of bratwursts called Bratzis.”
And you appear as one of these Bratzis?
“I am all the Bratzis. It was supposed to be Jason Mewes [Jay of Jay & Silent Bob] but he couldn’t do the prosthetics – he’s kind of claustrophobic, so it wound up being me. I went in front of a green screen and they just doubled me and doubled me. My kid, [Harley Quinn Smith] she plays one of the Yoga Hosers and Johnny Depp’s kid, Lily Rose, she plays the other one. My kid spends most of the movie killing me over and over again.”
Wow – how did you feel about that, being killed by your own daughter?
“I mean I wrote it, so I must be punishing myself. I must be some sort of self punisher.”
So tell me more about the prosthetics – how long did you have to go in the make-up room to come out as a Nazi sausage?
“It was about two hours to go from man to sausage. It was actually sort of inspired by when I went and spoke at colleges. Somebody asked me the greatest question I’ve ever got at a Q&A, which was “If you could be half man, half sausage, would you do it and which end would be which?”. I said I’d choose my lower half because then I’d have a big dick. But years later I was like, ‘oh my God, half man, half sausage would be this’, and that’s the Bratzi.”
So it’s a sausage on the top and man below?
“Pretty much. He’s a walking hot dog essentially.”
How did your daughter get the role in the film?
“This whole movie only exists because of her. I’d stuck Harley in the movies when she was a baby, but never with a speaking part. Let’s be honest, my kid’s never going to get a real job. She’s known Johnny [Depp] for years because her and Lily Rose have been friends since they were in kindergarten. So she knows he’s Johnny Depp and he’s famous, but to her it’s just like “Oh Johnny Depp, he makes the worlds best pancakes”. That’s what I’ve been hearing about forever because whenever she stays over that’s what he does. So she would come home and be like “Why can’t you make pancakes as good as Johnny Depp?” and I’m like, “I can’t do anything as good as Johnny Depp, ok. Not just the fucking pancakes.” In Tusk I remember Johnny came up to me after the scene and was like “Did you see how natural those girls were?” And I was like “They were crazy natural. Really, really natural”. He was like “If you and me had any smarts we would retire from this business and just live off these girls.” I said, “Well, one of us could afford to do that because one of us owns an island.” I’m a middle aged stoner so I just get ideas and go after them, I don’t use common sense anymore. That’s for younger, better people.”
The legendary, 93-year-old Marvel Comic boss Stan Lee has a cameo in Yoga Hosers.
“I started the Stan Lee cameo career back in ’95 with Mallrats. If you look at Stan Lee’s cinematic track record, he has cameo-ed in massive blockbusters. Ours is on the lower end. Mallrats made, like, $2 million, and Yoga Hosers will probably make even less. It’s a favour train that goes both ways. A few times he’s been like “Hey, can you do this?” and of course I’d free up anything for him because this is our modern day Mark Twain, for heavens sake. The Pope of all this shit, if you will. And a few times I’ve needed him for things, he’s dropped it and come and done stuff with me. He loves acting, you don’t even have to convince him to act. That’s what he’s wanted to do more than anything in life, so any chance he gets he loves doing it.”
What is the status of Mallrats 2 right now?
“It’s coming but it’s a little different than originally anticipated, but we actually get to make an announcement in the next month about it. But it is happening. It should be happening by the end of this year.”
Fantastic! And Clerks 3?
“Clerks 3 will be after that, but not before Moose Jaws, which is the last in these movies. Tusk, Yoga Hosers, the third one is called Moose Jaws, it’s like Jaws but with a moose instead of a shark. But then Clerks 3 will happen. Clerks takes longest because you gotta convince Jeff Anderson to do it. Jeff Anderson, the guy that plays Randal, never wants to do it. He didn’t want to do the Clerks 2 sequel, it took a while to convince him on that, and he wasn’t keen on Clerks 3 either.”
Prince hired you to make a documentary back in 2002 – what happened to that film and how did you react personally to Prince’s death?
“It was devastating, Prince’s death. Oddly enough, for somebody that I met once and hung out with for a week I was quite profoundly affected. The footage that we shot that week was never cut into a documentary as far as I know. It’s just raw footage. I think it’s in the vault. It would be amazing if they release it. I don’t even think they need to cut it into a documentary. If they just released the raw footage you would get to see the calmest, coolest, funnest, most relaxed Prince you’ve ever seen in your life. Like, he kind of dropped the presentation of Prince and just hung out those days with fans in front of cameras as Prince Rogers Nelson. He was warm and wonderful and funny.”
You’re off to the Edinburgh International Film Festival with Yoga Hosers. Have you been before?
“Yeah we were there with Clerks 2, years ago, we won the Audience Award. It was lovely. And if you’re a big fried mars bars fan as I am, then it’s the place to be. I live on fried mars bars.”
Edinburgh International Film Festival takes place from June 15-26. The UK Premiere of Yoga Hosers is on June 21 and Kevin will take part in an in-person Q&A on June 22