Jason Mewes is an actor who, we suspect, needs little introduction to the majority of you. As Jay, he’s turned up in a series of Kevin Smith films, forming one part of the legendary double act with the director’s own Silent Bob character. We caught up with Mr Mewes at the Memorabilia event in Birmingham, England, to find out what he’s up to at the moment…
What are your experiences of conventions such as these?
I don’t know really. Usually I get to sit at my table and I meet a lot of interesting people. There’s people who I would have no idea would even watch the movies. Sometimes there will be 60- or 70-year-old women…
Are they the ones buying the pictures you’ve been selling of you in your underwear?
No [laughs]. I guess there has been. Then there’s some people who are shaking and really sweaty and stuttering. It’s a really interesting thing to see the different people who come, and come to these things and really enjoy them. And people who like your work who you would have no idea about. I don’t get to walk around much and check out all the cool stuff.It must be a nice feeling when they come up to you and want to buy a photo, and to have you sign it?
No, I think it’s rubbish!
It is, it’s very nice. It’s sort of the same thing, and it’s interesting to see…
Clerks, Mallrats, Zack & Miri have a massive geek following. Could you explain why you think that is?
I don’t know why. I think that people can relate with the characters, and Kevin talks about Star Wars, comic books all the time. I would assume it’s that. I definitely think, the geeks – you say geeks, right? – who dress up and have Star Wars figures and stuff, I’m sure it’s exciting for them that they’re watching a comedy and the characters are spitting out dialogue about Star Wars, and about the Death Star, and this and that. And I think for the Jay and Silent Bob character people always say, ‘Oh, we have friends like that, who talk like that and are obnoxious, hang out together all the time.’ So, I think that’s a reason.
The project I wanted to ask you about was one that’s popped up on the IMDB called The Science Of Cool, which seems to hark back to the John Hughes films of the 80s? Is it finished?
No, it’s not. And you know what? A lot of those movies aren’t even strarted. The Science Of Cool is a movie that a friend of mine, Billy, is producing. And he asked me if I wanted to jump on board, and I read it and I thought it was good. It was a different character for me and stuff. And I don’t know how these people even get it up on IMDB like that.
There’s three other movies up there, but none of them are in actual production right now. They’re all in that stage where they’re getting characters, people attached to the script and some people are interested in financing, but nothing solid. That’s where that’s at. They have some people who want to do the movie and are interested, but they’re waiting to get financing.Are you actively looking for different characters from Jay now?
Yeah, that’s mainly what I’ve been doing. With the independent movies it’s, I’m sort of taking movies now by if it’s a different character, even if there’s no money. Or there’s a couple of movies, honestly, where I didn’t like the script, or like the cast that’s in it. But if there’s a way different character and a chance for me to play something else and do that, then you know. Yes, I’m definitely doing that. Not that I won’t do something if there’s a great script playing a smart-ass stoner character or whatever. I would do it, but I would rather not. I’m more trying to do other things.
How’s working with Kevin Smith compared to working with other directors?
It’s way different. Just because, even if I work with someone I really enjoy, like I’ve worked with a couple of directors that I’ve really enjoyed and got along with, hung out with them and became friends, it’s just, you know, Kevin is someone I’ve known forever. He’s more of an older brother type. And we work with the same people all the time. It’s always a great time. It’s always cool hanging out with everyone.
Even some people who I don’t talk to after we stop working, I still see them every couple of years. Dave Klein I don’t really hang out with him, but we’ll hang out three or four months straight on a movie set, and then two years later we’ll hang out two or three months straight on the next movie. But, I still consider Dave a good friend, someone I’ve known for over ten years. It’s always fabulous working with them.Have you got any involvement in Cop Out?
No. I was supposed to do a small part in there, and it didn’t work out because the day they were shooting, scheduling, didn’t pan out. It was just a small part anyway, which still would have been nice, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t worth adjusting the commitments I already had for a small part.
Are you pitching for big blockbuster films at the moment?
Yeah, yeah. I’ve been going to meetings and stuff like that. I’ve been going out for meetings and auditions. The auditions haven’t really panned out. I’m not really great at auditioning. I just haven’t found that movie yet. I have been going out for some big things.
Are you tempted to write and create something yourself?
I have been thinking about. I’d like to maybe do something…
[No further details were forthcoming! At this point he went over for a quick coffee break and started telling us about a music video he’s directed…]
I’d like to do a little bit of everything. I just directed a music video in Canada, and I really, really liked doing it. It wasn’t a lot of pressure because it was $20,000, and it was a music video. But I really liked it, so I want to try and do a couple more. The people who hooked me up with the video are going to try and get me a couple more videos so I can get a little more practise and get comfortable. And then I think I might try to do a low budget movie or something. So, we’ll see…
It looks like I might be doing a TV show in Winnipeg. Twelve episodes of a show called Todd, and we did a pilot about a year ago and it just got picked up. It’s called Todd & The Pure Book Of Evil, and I’m playing the janitor, which is sort of like the crypt keeper role. Sort of like narrating in the beginning, you know? It was fun and I’m hoping it pans out, and they already said that the network is like, ‘Look, we think it’s going to be great, but we have to wait.’ They’re interested in doing it. They’re like start writing episodes for season two, at least the beginning, so we can pitch the second one when it’s time.
Sure! It’s about six and a half inches hard!
I read Kevin Smith’s book and blogposts where he wrote about your battles with drugs. How do you feel reading that back now?
You know what, I haven’t read it. I don’t mind, but I honestly haven’t read it. I know what’s in there, and I read pieces when he first put it online. Because he wrote it and then he asked me to look at it before he put it out there. And I read some of it, and then I was, ‘Yeah, okay, I don’t care if you put it out there.’ But I stopped reading it then. It was too weird to actually see it from a different perspective and think back, and all that stuff. There’s been people who have said it’s helped them, so that’s really cool to me. So, it definitely doesn’t bother me.
Again, it’s awkward for me to read and stuff. But when you think about it ,it’s odd that some people know so much about you and stuff. But it doesn’t really bother me.
The only thing that bothered me was that Kevin put a video up there that I had told him not to do that, and he still did it. And the reason why was mainly because, not because oh, people are going to see it and think I’m a pussy because they already read all the stuff, but I knew there was going to be an asshole out there who would edit it and fuck with it, and they did.
I knew it wouldn’t be too long before someone grabs it and edits it. So, of course, someone did that and posted it up. So, then we had it taken down, and they put it back up, someone did something different to it. And I was like, ‘I don’t give a shit,’ but at the same time I was like, ‘That was for you, really.’ That was personal to him and only him. But it is what it is. If it’s helped a few people, even one person, then it’s worth it.
Jason Mewes, thank you very much…
And many thanks to the fine folks at Memorabilia for setting up the interview. The Memorabilia Show returns to the NEC in Birmingham, England on 27-28th March 2010. Details here.