Kevin Smith says Dogma is being held hostage by Harvey Weinstein, 'the devil himself'
Kevin Smith's Dogma, a religious satire centered on two fallen angels who hatch a plan to return to heaven after being cast out by God, is being held hostage by "the devil himself," the filmmaker says.
By the devil, Smith means disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, who is currently behind bars on charges of rape and sexual assault. During a recent interview with TheWrap, the Clerks III director offered an explanation for why the 1999 satire starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon isn't available to stream or buy anywhere (it has since gone out of print on home video).
"In order to tell the story unfortunately, I'm gonna have to say the name that nobody wants to hear anymore. But of course, Harvey Weinstein figures into the story," Smith said. While then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner told Weinstein not to make the "hot button" film — which evoked the wrath of religious groups before it even entered production — Weinstein did so anyway.
Lionsgate released Dogma theatrically, while Columbia/TriStar got the home video rights for a limited time, "but then the rights lapsed," Smith said. It was roughly a decade later when the filmmaker received a call from Weinstein "out of the blue" about a potential Dogma sequel or TV series. It was 2017 — and the call came about one week before The New York Times published the exposé about the assault and rape allegations.
"I got really excited because I was like, 'Oh my God... the dude remembered me,'" Smith said. "After a decade he remembered that I was part of the Miramax family. And he remembered that he had Dogma and had a cool cast." According to Smith, however, the phone call was a ruse — a realization that set in after he spoke to former Miramax executive John Gordon.
When Smith mentioned he had been in contact with Weinstein, Gordon allegedly said Weinstein "called everyone because he knew the story was coming, and he wanted to find out who spoke [to the Times].'" Smith said, "I was like, 'That makes perfect sense.' I'm guileless, I don't see all the angles. He was calling not because he wanted to do anything with Dogma. He wanted to see if I was one of the people who had spoken to the New York Times. I hadn't, because I didn't know any of that stuff."
Upon learning that Weinstein was trying to sell the rights for $5 million, Smith and his lawyers tried to buy it back, "which we felt very dirty about because we didn't want to give him money," he said, but Weinstein "scoffed" at his various offers. "He's holding it hostage," Smith said. "My movie about angels is owned by the devil himself."
A new company has the rights to the film, Smith learned, but he suspects Weinstein "changed the name of the company and maybe sold it to a different shell company." He said, "My movie about heaven is in limbo."
Miramax distributed a number of Smith's films, including Clerks, Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, and Chasing Amy.
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