“Before he was known as a fucking convicted rapist, Harvey Weinstein was known as Harvey Scissorhands.”
While Kevin Smith still struggles to pry his 1999 film Dogma from convicted rapist and former mega-producer Harvey Weinstein, the Clerks director reflected on Weinstein’s snappy way of editing films.
“I hate to mention the name, but back before he was known as a fucking convicted rapist, Harvey Weinstein was known for being Harvey Scissorhands and cutting up movies and stuff,” Smith told Vulture. “He never did that to me because I would have beaten him to it. I thought I don’t want people sitting there any longer than they have to.”
Smith shared that he was always “more sensitive to feedback than other filmmakers” and didn’t stop reading reviews until after decades in Hollywood.
“It took 20 years or more of my career to think, ‘Why bother? you did this for yourself It’s an act of masturbation,'” Smith said. “‘When you jerk off, you don’t go to someone else to approve it afterwards. Why the hell are you looking for approval?’”
But as Smith clarified, after its explosive Sundance premiere, critics “particularly carried” his hit feature debut Clerks into the mainstream.
“We did ‘Clerks II’ for a bargain price — I sacrificed my salary to do it, which wasn’t that huge,” Smith said. “With ‘Zack and Miri,’ I was like, ‘Oh, everyone gets paid and we get a movie star.’ Besides, I was already committed when we were editing Clerks II.”
Smith credited fellow Sundance Breakout “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” Steven Soderbergh for inspiration for his later career moves. “‘Cop Out’ grew out of a nervous breakdown over ‘Zack and Miri’ and I could have been talked into anything. Someone said, ‘How about you write a script that you didn’t write?’ And I said, ‘Soderbergh does it,’ even though I’ve never in my life said, ‘Well, me and Soderbergh are the same,'” Smith shared. “But in that one moment I was like, ‘Well, he’s a director and he also directs other people’s stuff, and then he directs his stuff, so maybe I should investigate that.’ And I thought, ‘I’m going to hang out with Bruce Willis every day.’ And I wasn’t wrong!”
Smith later mirrored Soderbergh in other ways, following the success of Red State, his cinematic response to critics. “‘Jesus, you’re always on my tail when it comes to making Kevin Smith movies,'” Smith recalled his musing at the time. “‘Let me try to make a movie I’m supposed to make. Let’s see if I can make a damn movie someone else would make. Let me try to do a Quentin Tarantino film about the Coen brothers.’”
He added: “If I took my name off this, no one would fucking know it was me. And when I was done, I was like, “Well, this is ‘good’ filmmaking.” I didn’t miss anything. So I thought I’d retire. There was a period of three years when I was like, ‘I’m done with this.’ That was also inspired by Soderbergh because he was retiring and I was like, ‘We can do this! We could just stop!’ Okay, I guess I’m on hold.”
After directing the long-awaited Clerk III earlier this year, Smith has set his sights on directing a Dogma sequel if he can buy back the rights to his own film and screenplay. “It’s my movie and [Weinstein’s] I get it,” Smith recently told The Wrap. “He’s holding it hostage. My film about angels belongs to the devil himself. And if there’s only one way out, maybe we could buy it away. Sell me back my self-expression.”
https://www.indiewire.com/2022/09/kevin-smith-harvey-weinstein-cut-up-my-movies-1234765810/ Kevin Smith: Harvey Weinstein cut up my films