If uber-geek Kevin Smith could be any superhero right now, sadly, it might be Matter-Eater Lad. The 38-year-old filmmaker says his weight problem is so out of control that he will be taking a break from work to slim down before his health is compromised.
Here’s an excerpt from today’s Los Angeles Times story by Chris Lee, who talked to Smith on the eve of the Friday release of the New Jersey native’s new movie, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”:
“I’m going away for a while,” Smith, puffing a menthol cigarette on the patio of his Hollywood Hills home, “to concentrate on myself. To save my life.”
At a time when Smith has been heavily promoting “Zack and Miri” — perhaps the most commercially viable movie in his 15-year career as a multi-hyphenate actor-writer-director of crude comedies and art-house bromances — the issue of his weight has remained front of mind. The director has been complaining about being fat in radio interviews and fretting about it on his blog much to the chagrin of Weinstein Co. publicists for the film, who have openly wished the director would “talk about something else.” Like, for instance, how closely in tone and casting the movie resembles something conjured up by comedy rainmaker Judd Apatow?
Adding insult to injury, Smith’s girth contributed to an embarrassing incident last week. “I broke a toilet. That’s how heavy I am,” said Smith. “I can’t take all the credit — that was an old toilet and a very waterlogged wall — but my size took that toilet down. I cannot cognitively reframe it and be like, ‘It wasn’t me — it was the toilet.’ It was definitely me. And that’s a wake-up call!”
Sweating steadily but not quite profusely, enveloped in a long wool overcoat (in implicit homage to Silent Bob, his screen alter ego in several of his films) despite the 90 degree heat, the New Jersey-born auteur seemed both exhausted and keyed up. He’s immensely proud of the film, which earned a number of glowing reviews when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September.
Hours before Smith would catch a flight to screen “Zack and Miri” at the Chicago Film Festival, he again pondered its commercial prospects. “This is the first time my sensibilities and mainstream sensibilities have met,” he said, lighting his umpteenth cigarette. “Not in a perfect way. But better than I’ve ever met the mainstream before.”
But he wasn’t quite finished on the topic of his weight.
“The results of this movie will be interesting. Come opening weekend, if it does well, I’ll want to reward myself by eating more. And if the movie does poorly, I imagine I’ll want to self-medicate and eat more. Hollywood’s a hard town to be fat in!”
Best of luck to Smith as he moves forward from here. I’m thinking his self-awareness, sense of humor and candor will help him quite a bit as he deals with his challenge.
— Geoff Boucher
Credits: Top photo by Matt Sayles/Associated Press shows director Kevin Smith, right, actor Seth Rogen, center, and actress Elizabeth Banks at the premiere of “Zach and Miri Make A Porno” in Los Angeles on Oct. 20, 2008. Center photo by Darren Michaels/Weinstein Co. shows Smith as Silent Bob with costar Jason Mewes in the 2006 film “Clerks II.” Bottom photo by Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times shows Smith in October 2008