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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Jason Lee
June 29, 2001

...spoilers (and tangents) ahead...

MD = Michael Dequina; Q = Other press; JL = Jason Lee

Q: Do you get tired of hearing "Chasing Amy's Jason Lee"?

JL: No, I think it's funny. That came from Kevin, I think.

Q: It's from the commentary tracks.

JL: Yeah, yeah.

Q: How did the show go last night?

JL: Awesome. Fuckin' great, man.

Q: Now, that's a studio you set up to help struggling artists get a venue...?

JL: Yeah--we haven't started that yet. Last night's was just a one-night exhibition for Bryten [Goss], my friend. But we will definitely start the foundation soon.

Q: So was there ever a point where there was a chance of both of your characters being on-screen at the same time, or was it always written around that

JL: Yeah; I don't think they had it in the budget to do those kinds of special effects. I wondered, though--I thought that would've been cool. Brodie in a scene with Banky--what would that be like?{END SPOILER}

Q: How many days did you actually do on this film?

JL: Maybe three or four.

Q: Did you hang out then for a little while, or were you working on something else?

JL: I was working on Vanilla Sky, so I'd have to go in and do some Banky, and then go back the next day and do some Shelby, Brian Shelby [in Vanilla Sky].

Q: Do you have that T-shirt and jacket framed in a glass case somewhere?

JL: I will. The Brodie shirt [in this film]--not the exact one from Mallrats, but they got pretty damn close, distorting three more heads, and it looked just like the one in Mallrats. The jacket--not the actual jacket, but pretty close. Did you notice that it had leather patches on the elbows 'cause Brodie's a bit more "sophisto" now?

MD: After the Tonight Show gig.

JL: [laughs] Yeah, exactly.

Q: What was the poster behind him? It said "Brodie bolts" or something?

JL: Yeah, 'cause Brodie leaves [The Tonight Show], and he had that [headline] blown up; that's crazy.{END SPOILER} And then the hat, the Banky hat is the hat from Chasing Amy. They did reproductions of it, but I have the original, and I wore that in the movie. That was cool. I had so many offers for that hat. [laughs]

Q: Did you see this as a chance to tie up any loose ends from your characters, or is that too deep?

JL: Yeah, it's too deep. I just do what Kevin tells me to do. [laughs] {HIGHLIGHT FOR SPECIFIC SPOILER} But I was surprised with the whole closure with Banky at the end. [laughs]

Q: Do you feel closure now?

JL: It's still questionable, I think, with Banky; it's still questionable. Was he joking? Was it one night when he was drunk or something, you know? With Hooper? [laughs]{END SPOILER}

Q: Kevin's talked about doing a Clerks feature cartoon, something like that. Have you been approached about any of that stuff?

JL: No; I'd love to do a voice on that. But we're trying to see if we could do Fletch.

Q: That's right. How close are you [to making that]?

JL: I don't know. I guess he has all the ideas and stuff; we're just kind of waiting to see what Miramax wants to do because I'm not really "famous," so... They don't like to put "non-famous" people in lead roles.

Q: What would you want to do with the character? How would you like to see it different from the previous films?

JL: It would be so hard not to do [former Fletch star] Chevy [Chase], though. That's my only concern.

Q: There's kind a bittersweet intellectual flavor to your characters in Kevin's movies that I think you can really see in a lot of Chevy's early performances. Was that ever an influence on your style? I know you were kind of into acting at least when you first met Kevin.

JL: Yeah, maybe; not being aware of it. But yeah, I love Chevy Chase big time--all the Vacations, all the Fletches, Caddyshack; all the classics.

Q: Do you think a talk show for you could go a little better?

JL: Probably, yeah. [Laughs]

Q: Would you like to see Chevy participate in a new Fletch?

JL: Yeah, that'd be great if he came in and played something. [Grabs my copy of the Stroke 9 "Kick Some Ass" promo CD single] What is this?

MD: It's the promo single.

JL: [Studies the jewel box, opens it] What song is this?

Q: "Kick Some Ass" by Stroke 9.

JL: [Studying the disc] What's Stroke 9?

Q: I was gonna ask you that question. [Laughs] Do you know--does Kevin pick the music? Is the soundtrack his faves? How does that work out?

JL: I have no idea. That's a good question. [Closes the jewel box and puts it down]

Q: Is it really different going from something like Vanilla Sky, a big budget movie, to something like this, smaller budget, and you basically work with friends in? The acting is the same, or is there a different approach?

JL: It was a little more intense on Vanilla Sky because--

[Publicist enters and hands him a bottle of water]

JL: Oh, thanks so much! Water. [Drinks for a moment] A much bigger budget, a more complicated film to make, a lot of scheduling changes. Obviously, this kind of movie is like, you're in, you're out. You're done; it's smooth; it's a month or two at the most. Vanilla Sky, though, feels like you're making a very good film with friends but more stressful because it's bigger, and it's harder to get things done. You're working in New York and blocking off streets and having to use four cameras.

Q: You saw the Spanish movie [Open Your Eyes (Abre los Ojos)], the one that it's based on?

JL: Yeah, some of it.

Q: Is it very different?

JL: From what I've heard, I think Vanilla Sky is just more intense, bigger. It's hard because I haven't seen the first one, but I think [Vanilla Sky director] Cameron [Crowe's version] is more intense.

Q: How different is his process now from Almost Famous?

JL: Same.

Q: I always wondered, was that your beard [in Almost Famous] or was there some extensions in there?

JL: My beard.

Q: How long did it take you to grow that thing out?

JL: A while, and I had to keep it forever because there was the possibility of having to do reshoots. So my hair was about this long [points to mid-neck level], and every day they'd put this fall thing in it. They did a good job on the hair. So my hair was like this long, and then I had the beard, and I had it for a year. Drove me insane; I couldn't shave. And finally I said, "Can I shave, please?" and they had to call all these people--

[Everyone laughs]

JL: And say, "OK, you have clearance to shave now." Finally! [makes razor sound]

Q: Do you get a chance to do much skating anymore?

JL: No. Can't really do it while I'm working. If I get hurt, I get in trouble.

Q: How does that make you feel? Is that OK?

JL: Yeah; I'm pretty damn rusty anyway, you know? So it's not like I'm gonna compete anytime soon.

Q: This may seem random, but I hope it's not: do you ever play any of these skateboarding video games like Tony Hawk?

JL: Yeah.

Q [to previous Q]: I thought you were gonna ask the DVD question.

[Everyone laughs]

JL: What's the DVD question?

Q: Someone else's publicist thought it was random that I asked if she would be participating in the DVD commentary.

JL: That's not random.

Q: I know! But I know you're gonna participate in the DVD.

JL: Yes.

Q: But I was wondering what you thought of games like Tony Hawk, being a real skater.

JL: When I was in New York shooting Vanilla Sky, I played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 almost every day. I got so addicted, man. Such a cool game.

Q: I'm active on the boards at [View] Askew, and people are asking if Carmen's [Llewellyn Lee, Jason's wife] actually working on something right now that you're considering doing. Is she writing right now or thinking about directing something?

JL: I don't know. She's been doing her photography. She just had an exhibition a few weeks ago--the first [of June]. Yeah, she's basically doing some film work when she can, like her part in this, which is funny, and her photography.

Q: As a non-actor, I'm interested in your preparation process, coming from the outside. I'm always interested to see somebody who really seems to have a natural ability to just go in and really take no prisoners. Where do you think that comes from; how do you prepare? Is it technical? Are good at just picking lines up really quick?

JL: I don't think it's very technical. It's just a feeling; you just feel it. When it's right, and you know what you have to do, you just feel it. It's just a feeling; I don't know.

Q: So do you pick up the text pretty quick?

JL: Yeah, I can memorize my lines pretty quickly. You find your groove; [if] you work on the same movie every day for two months, you kind of have an idea of what's going on. I think the idea is to just ask questions and get as much understanding from the director as you can as far as who the character is. You build a solid foundation, and then you just kind of work from that. It just happens. It just goes and goes and goes.

Q: What would you say, if anything, this movie represents in Kevin's world, his development as a filmmaker? Does this, by anything you can perceive, show him as advancing as a filmmaker? He says he's regressing with this one.

JL: Yeah. [laughs]

Q: And, obviously, it's so self-referential, even moreso than the earlier pictures.

JL: I don't really know if Kevin has to advance as a filmmaker 'cause that's not what he's into. He's into dick and fart jokes.

[Everyone laughs]

JL: But, honestly, I think it's the idea of making people laugh, entertaining them. If you can see the film, and it does that, it doesn't need to be fancy and tricky. I think he's a filmmaker for the people as opposed to a filmmaker that considers himself, you know, a "grand filmmaker."

Q: Obviously, but then again, if you compare a movie like this to any six given "dick and fart joke" movies, which we get one of every two weeks, this one obviously has a personal spin to it. If you go with the auteur theory at all, Kevin Smith is definitely one: he has his own point-of-view and his own approach that's distinctive, and it ain't dumb.

JL: Yeah. He does. That's why--it's not dumb. It's got some corny, wacky scenarios; it's got an orangutan and this whole thing and all this stuff. But Kevin doesn't ever need to rely on what other comedies have to have to be comedies because he has that backbone of dialogue. His writing--it's so well-prepared that it seems like it's improvised, and that it's people communicating the way people communicate. Whereas other comedies have to have something to them to be funny. American Pie--the whole pie thing, you know? Definitely some funny moments in that movie, some funny characters; Eugene Levy was great. But it becomes about some thing that has to be done so that it becomes a "funny comedy," whereas Kevin doesn't need that because he has writing skills, dialogue skills.

Q: Kevin's attached to some other properties, comic book ones. Do you have any attachment to participate?

JL: No. Not attached to anything right now.

Q: Would you like to do a superhero thing?

JL: I think a company wanted me to do Mage. I guess they're doing Mage or something. I don't really know what Mage is. [laughs]

Q: It's a magic thing.

MD: You'd have to grow a beard again.

JL: Yeah. [laughs]

Q: Obviously comics are something that are core to your original character [Brodie in Mallrats]. Was that something that you could relate to? You didn't read a lot when you were a kid?

JL: I skateboarded everyday. I didn't really have much time for anything, no.

Q: So did you go to Kevin for most of that--you know, the tongs and the bag and the backboarding, and all that kind of stuff?

JL: Yeah, exactly. He showed me: taping the thing and the boarding.

Q: So do guys come up to you on the street and ask you what issue you've read or if you've seen stuff--do they identify you with that character?

JL: Fortunately, no because I'd hate to upset some kid at a mall somewhere with 9,000,000 comic books in his mom's basement. "You play Brodie, and you don't know anything other than Spider-Man? How dare you!" Cut to the news: "Jason Lee gets his ass kicked at mall."

[Everyone laughs]

MD: Chasing Amy's Jason Lee.

JL: Yeah. [laughs] I saw two kids at a mall in Georgia, and they saw me, and they were shaking. And they were like, "I'm like you, and he's like Ben [Affleck] in Chasing Amy! He draws, and I trace, really!" And he was so proud to be a tracer.

[Everyone laughs]

JL: It was funny.

Q: You seem so low-key and laid-back, yet your characters in these movies are fairly loud and outspoken. Is it something that builds up in you to do for a movie? Where does it come from?

JL: I don't know. It comes from just having to do it. But, you know, today's the day after a bit of a long night for me, so that also has something to do with how low-key I am. [laughs]

Q: I've seen you be low-key before.

JL: Yeah; I know. Being excited to work... I don't know, man; it's weird. You just do it. You just dive right in and do it.

Q: Are you from out here originally?

JL: Huntington Beach, yeah. Do you know where that is? Down south a little bit.

MD: I'm from Long Beach, which isn't too far [from Huntington Beach].

JL: Ah... I know where Long Beach is.

Q: I'm from Milwaukee.

JL: I know where Milwaukee is.

Q: In general, View Askew really seems to have kind of distilled a non-political feel. Kevin really surrounds himself with his friends. How do you think he survives, and how do you survive in this swimming with the sharks environment? Are you kind of protected by View Askew, or is it really just in the choices that you make?

JL: Yeah, I don't really swim with many sharks. I just try to keep a low profile, choose the best work I can, and do the best work I can, and try to get more work from that.

Q: What do you think of the film's overall satire of the film business?

JL: It's great because just about everything you see or hear is true. It's crazy. You either roll with it, or you don't. You roll with the machine, so to speak, or you don't, and I just have chosen not to, really.

Q: Do you see yourself ever taking some time off from acting to do some real skating?

JL: No. Too fargone; 31 now. It's been a while.

Q: You were gonna have a model of shoes, right?

JL: I had a shoe from Airwalk years ago, and they were gonna re-release it.

Q: Is it gonna happen? People are hungry for those things.

JL: I know. They were gonna re-release it as sort of a tribute--you know, "classic series shoe" thing. But they didn't meet my terms, man. I think they thought it was an idea--"Wait, we have Jason Lee's shoe, and he's an actor now. Hmm,.maybe if we re-release it, we could make some money." So I said, "Well, I'd like to make some money too." And they said, "Well, we can't pay you that." And I said, "No deal then." I can't let a company capitalize on that, dammit!

Next Roundtable: Mark Hamill

Jason Lee signature

Jason Lee photos


Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
The Complete Junket Roundtable Transcripts
The Review
The World Premiere
The World Premiere Invitation

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: Jason Lee/© Michael Dequina
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