Kevin Smith Discusses Working with Bruce Willis on A Couple Of Dicks
Posted 10.21.09 by BrentJS
Kevin Smith is used to being the guy in charge on his film sets. Through his production company, View Askew, Smith has acted as writer, director, and editor on all of his "Askewniverse" films, even providing music (remember "Berserker" from Clerks?) and filling miscellaneous crew roles. However, for his latest film, A Couple of Dicks, starring his Live Free or Die Hard co-star Bruce Willis, Smith had to come to terms with the fact that his was not the only creative vision ... and that he was not necessarily top dog on the set.
So it took us like a week for us to figure out what it was we were doing together. I was going at it like, "Bruce, do it like this" I was directing Bruce the way I direct everybody else. And Bruce was like "I've been acting like Bruce Willis for 25 years, do you really think there's anything you're going to tell me that I don't know?" So he was very much the author of his own performance.
Bruce really is what you call a f---ing movie star. He can act, but he's a movie star, and he's one of the last few. That breed doesn't really exist any more. You're talking about a guy who was trained in the '80s, and in the '80s, the actors ran everything, particularly big movie stars like them. I've never worked that way. I'm not a dictatorial director, but I'm like, "I wrote the script, and we're all following this vision so here we go."
All of a sudden you were dealing with somebody who was like, "I got ideas." And at first I was like, "Let me hear your ideas!" And he'd tell me his ideas and I'd be like, "Yeah, well, it sounds cool but I just don't see that in my version, because I've been thinking about it." And that's when you realize that you're telling this dude essentially, "Ah, f--- your idea, I'm going to stick with my idea." And you're sitting in this world where it wasn't a script I'd written, it was this arbitrary interpretation of [Mark and Robb Cullen's] script. So at that point I had to be like, "Oh f---, man," I couldn't be the foremost authority.
Smith is setting aside Dante, Jay, Silent Bob, and his other Askewniverse denizens for the time being and is unsure when, or if, he'll return to them.
I don't want to say I've grown up, but the older you get the more distance you get from the situation that created you as an artist. It's just you can't get in touch with the same art.
I feel like I'm closing View Askew for the time being, and now I'm opening a new book and I'll see for a while if I can be this filmmaker where I don't write everything that I direct, or create everything that I direct.
Next Showing: A Couple of Dicks
opens February 26, 2010