Clerks is one of the movies that made me love movies, and so it was with more pre-interview nerves than usual that I waited on hold to connect with Jay actor Jason Mewes via a crackly international phone-line.
We were due to talk about the animated movie Bling – in which Mewes voices a robot monkey called Kit, who shirks his responsibilities as a theme park employee to help the main character (voiced by Taylor Kitsch) take down a super villain and propose to his girlfriend – but the memory of all the nights I’ve spent chuckling away to Jay and Silent Bob’s antics had put some serious fear into me.
I needn’t have worried, because Mewes proved to be a lovely chap to chat with, and was more than happy to talk about his work with Kevin Smith as well as his animated endeavours. With the bits where the phone line cut out edited away, here’s how the interview went…
We’re here to talk about Bling. Could you tell us the story of how you got involved with this movie?
How I got involved… you know, they just contacted me! It was pretty awesome because I’m really into doing cartoons, animation, and voiceover stuff. And, y’know, it’s a great project. It was through my agent, they just contacted me and asked if I wanted to be part of the team there. So, I said yes in a minute. They told me what character I was gonna be – I was in!
Your character Kit is a robot monkey –
– I was very excited about that! I’m a huge, huge lover of the monkey and the ape. So robot and monkey? It was a perfect combination. The animation’s fantastic, too – the style of the animation. Again, I was super excited when they asked me to jump on board.
How do you prepare for a role that’s this far out?
Y’know, I wish I had some awesome technique to prepare for stuff. But it’s just like, try to hone in my inner monkey / robot. And I just sort of went with what I thought, and again with the style of animation and the other characters and stuff. I just tried to put my own little spin on it the best I could, so… the only preparation, I guess, is that I ate some bananas beforehand. [Laughs]
When you made this, were you in a studio with the other actors or do you all record separately?
Oh! It was by myself, we did it individual. Yeah, you know what? I’ve done that once, where I was in the room. I did a movie, and I’m not sure if it actually came out, but it was Noah’s Ark way, way back in the day. We were in the same room and went over each other’s dialogue and stuff. But no, I was all by myself for this.
Which I think is good, so like… it’s fun, it’s nice to be able to stop and go again if I feel like it’s not right or if the director wants me to try it again. Again, I do think there’s the benefit of doing it room because you can play off one another, and bounce the dialogue back and forth, and play with it. That would’ve been fun, but I didn’t get to do that…
Is there any room for improvisation when you’re trying to match up with the animation?
Yeah, I would say a little bit, for sure. For one, it’s trying to match the animation. Especially watching it, and the lips moving and stuff. Y’know, it’s always fun because you get to improvise in between. If the mouth’s still moving and the end of the sentence, or whatever, I always try and throw a little something either in the middle of the sentence of at the end.
And then of course, when you’re off screen or you’re swing through the air, and say you hit a wall and you start sliding down. The ‘camera’ is to your back, or whatever… or you fall out of frame. It’s always fun to add some adlibbing in there.
So, I definitely think there’s room to do that. Not as much, of course, than when you’re doing live action… but there’s room to do so and it’s fun.
Kit aspires to be a superhero, and obviously you’re a big comic book fan. I was wondering if you had any comic book recommendations for our readers?
Oh, have I read anything? You know what, right now, I’ve started reading the Infinite Crisis. That I really dig. And, there’s World’s End, that I’ve been reading. And I’m just going back and reading World War Hulk. I haven’t been able to read as much, I have a new baby: she’s 11-months old, her name’s Logan. And she keeps me pretty busy, so I definitely been reading still but just not as many comics as I used to.
I was re-watching Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back the other day. It has the jokes about studios making any old superhero movie because of X-Men, and that everyone will complain about them online. Are you surprised that those gags are still so topical ten years later?
No, I feel that definitely there’s been a big change now with the comic book movies, which has been awesome. For me, any comic book movie I’m excited to see. I don’t think any of them are bad. I think, some aren’t as good as the others of course, but they’re all entertaining. And to me it’s great to see any comic book character come on the big screen and become live action. It has been awesome for me, and – I don’t know many years it’s been right now – but with X-Men and Avengers and Captain America and Iron Man… I just think it’s a different world now.
And the TV shows, I mean, The Flash and Arrow are amazing. They did so well with that… and then Daredevil and Jessica Jones. It’s just unbelievable, and so awesome. So yeah, I think it’s definitely different than it was 15 years ago. Or even 10 years ago….
It’s like, even with comic book conventions now. I remember going 10 years of 15 years ago and they definitely were busy but it was mainly like a bunch of guys who like dressing up. Now it’s like, you see 75-year-old women and men. Kids… so many people go to comic book conventions now, and know comics and characters and stuff. It’s definitely a different world, now…
One of the facts on your IMDB page is that Kevin Smith was once writing a Green Arrow script with you in mind to play Oliver Queen. Is there any truth to that?
A script for a movie? No, no, no. He did the Green Arrow comic book, he did a Green Hornet script, and did he did a Superman script way back in the day. But as far as I know – and I spend a lot of time – I don’t think he wrote any scripts for Green Arrow. But… I think it would be awesome if he did! I think he would do a great job. I know he’s going to a Flash episode, in the next couple of months, which I’m very excited about. I’m excited for him, so…
One Kevin Smith picture that has you listed on it is Yoga Hosers, which hasn’t come out over here in England yet. Could you tell us a bit about that film, and how you fit into it?
So, Yoga Hosers is part of Kevin’s – you know, Kevin did a movie called Tusk – and now Yoga Hosers, and the next one is gonna be Moose Jaws. And it’s called the Canadian True North trilogy, which he’s doing.
Yoga Hosers should be out soon, now. Y’know, the way Kevin explains it… it’s a movie he wanted to see when he was a fourteen year old girl. That explains it. I feel it’s like a Clerks meets Army Of Darkness. It’s really fun and really cool and Johnny Depp’s in it, and Kevin’s daughter and Johnny Depp’s daughter.
I was a producer on it. I was on set the whole time helping out, and a big part of that. And then also I’m in one scene of the movie, as ‘the rogue cop’. So I play a rogue cop, and just in one scene but it was a fun scene. An awesome scene. I got to work in a scene with Johnny Depp, so that was a big deal for me. I was very excited about that.
The film Shooting Clerks is being made at the moment as well, about the making of Clerks. Have you been involved with at all, or have they contacted you about that?
Yes, yes… I’ve spoken to the guys, and stuff. I haven’t been involved up to this point, necessarily. I might be doing something in there. They’re supposed to get a hold of me, and I think I might do a little quick bit or something. I haven’t heard from then in a bit, so as of right now I’d say no…
Kevin’s been communicating with them and I’ve talked to them a few times, but not I’m not really involved. But they’re doing a great job! I’ve got to see some of the stuff, and the guys are great. They made a film called Get Greedo, based on a bit from our podcast, and they did such a great job. So, I’m excited to see it.
So, are you going to be involved with both MallBrats and Clerks III?
Definitely, definitely. It looks like Clerks III, right now, is sort of put on the backburner ‘til maybe the end of next year. We’re not sure, it’s sort of up in the air. But MallBrats, we’re hoping… will happen by the middle of this year. At the end of this year at the latest, hopefully.
Um, yes Jay and Bob will definitely be in there. And, again, I’ll part of the whole process. The whole thing is, now, Kevin and I… with our podcast Jay And Silent Bob Get Old, Kevin and I have gotten really close. And not that we weren’t close before, but we had a different relationship. It was a sort of older brother, younger knuckle-headed brother.
Where now, we’re like best friends and business partners. And my wife’s a big part of the company, and producing. It’s been cool, for me, to be on the other side of things, where I get to be part of the process of helping make the movies. So I’ll definitely be part of both those movies, when they happen.
You’ve directed a few things as well, over the years, is that something you’d like to do more of?
Yes, yes. Definitely. That’s something I really wanna do. Me and a friend from London… I did a movie called Devil’s Tower, and I worked with this guy called Dom [Burns, who produced the movie]. He wrote a script based on some stuff we talked about, and we’re trying to get that going now with financing and stuff.
And, if all works out, I’m going to direct it and it’ll be my first feature. I did a short, a PSA and a couple of music videos, and I really love it. And I want to start stepping into directing more. So, hopefully if this all works out I’ll get to direct a movie and we’ll get to shoot it by this year.
Awesome. Good luck!
Thank you, and just before you go I want to mention… we’ve got a game. Trevor Fehrman – who played Elias in Clerks II – is making a Jay and Bob videogame. And they’re doing some crowdsourcing and funding. If anyone’s interested in seeing a Jay and Bob game, and wants to be a part of it and help out, it’s on the Fig.co website.
Jason Mewes, thank you very much!
Bling is available on Google Play exclusively – and for free – right now.