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Kevin Smith on movies, sex, and fat

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In Tough Sh*t you reveal the lessons you’ve learned in the course of your life. What is the main piece of wisdom to be derived from the existence of Kevin Smith?
Set the bar low, kids. I like to put the bar right on the ground and step over it. I feel as accomplished as the other guy and I didn’t have to sweat nearly as much.

You do have some harsh things to say about Bruce Willis’ work ethic on your 2010 film, Cop Out. Did your publisher’s lawyers have any problems with that?
I was very careful. They were very careful as well, believe me. All I can say about that section is he gets off very light. The problem was, I’d never really worked with a movie star before. Don’t tell Ben Affleck I said that. [Laughs]

There’s also a chapter about the 2010 incident where you were removed from a Southwest Airlines flight after it was decided your weight represented a security issue.
What I learned during Southwest was how much fat enmity there is out there in the world. It’s the final frontier in terms of, like, open bigotry. I was in a bubble for a long time because of the movies I did. I lived this illusion that the more I did the less people saw me as fat. But then during Southwest, man, people came out of the woodwork with their long sharp knives — online, of course, never to your face — in regards to size. ”I f—ing hate fat people on planes, they sicken me!”

If your daughter reads Tough Sh*t she’s going to have a very vivid idea of what you and your wife, Jennifer, get up to in bed.
I don’t mind her reading about how I rock her mother’s world. I’m sure she walks around this house trying to figure out why someone who looks like Jen would be with a troll like myself. When she’s old enough to read it she’ll be like, ”Oh, that’s why!”

Well, according to you.
God willing, Jen won’t write her book until I’m dead.

What’s the word on your next film, the hockey movie Hit Somebody?
I’m just finishing the script. To me, it’s going to be a great farewell party, because you try to bring back everyone you ever worked with. We did that on Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and it was just such a blast.

And are you still determined to retire from directing after that?
Yeah, man. Film is cool and wonderful, but I’ve made all my dreams come true.

That’s a shame. When I watched your last movie, Red State, I thought, ”This guy is finally getting the hang of the directing thing, as opposed to the sticking-a-camera-in-front-of-people-and-getting-them-to-say-dialogue thing.”
I thought it was kind of important before I checked out of the career to show people ”Yeah, I did learn s—.” For years I took a lot of crap. People would go, ”Ah, he doesn’t move the camera, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.” I wasn’t interested in that kind of thing. But if you do anything for 15 years you’re just going to get better at it. Now I could direct the s— out of my material, but I don’t really have anything to say.

You’ve become quite a stoner over the past few years. How high are you at this moment?
When you’re a midlife stoner you don’t get high, you’re just always centered. As for how centered am I? Centered enough to not feel like ”Oh, man, I hate talking about myself.” But I certainly wouldn’t go out and operate heavy farm machinery.

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