Kevin Smith is making a hockey movie. This makes a certain amount of sense, as Smith’s favorite subjects seem to be (in ascending order): comic books, hockey and himself. The writer/director has been working on the project, called Hit Somebody, for a little while, but apparently it wasn’t until Seann William Scott came into his life that Smith cracked the thing.
“Seann, for me, was the key into the character,” Smith told NHL.com. “I had all the elements in place, and the one thing I was missing was the personality. Generally I like to write to a voice, but I didn’t know who that voice was or what that voice could be. And then after spending all the time with Seann on this movie, he’s pitch perfect. He is that guy.
“This dude has something in him that you can just see hangs so well on Buddy [the lead character of Hit Somebody]. He’s got some pain that’s going to work out well. More importantly he has so much love in his heart. Seann Scott is such an ebullient, happy person who’s just happy to be there. And on (“Cop Out”) you could see it. On our set the guy is just so delighted to be working, to be making people laugh. But he’s always dismissed as Stifler. … This is his chance to shine.”
Combined with Scott’s downbeat thoughts on forever being tied to Stifler (read them here), those last sentences just make me feel terrible. I was going to say that maybe Scott was Smith’s new Ben Affleck, but it reads more like he’s his new Jason Mewes – a guy Smith is just trying to help out. Spinning the casting of your lead as charity may not be the best thing.
But wait! It gets grandioser:
“I look at this as Seann’s opportunity to go to the (Tom) Hanks level,” Smith said. “Hanks for years and years did this (lesser) role and then he became that (blockbuster movie) guy. This is Seann’s chance to do that as well, not just be Stifler. And it’s my chance to not just be the “Clerks” guy. It’s my chance to do something big, epic in scale. Stories I tell span one day. … This spans 30 years. You’re talking a period. You’re trying to bring people to a time in your life that hasn’t existed in 30 years. The look of it, the feel of it, the sound of it — everything I have is going to be in that movie.”
Even after everything – bad movies, inane Tweets, an ill-conceived publicity grab through being fat – I can’t help but root for Smith. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, he’s just a guy who doesn’t know how to climb to the next level, or maybe he doesn’t know how to work the level he’s stuck with. It’s been interesting watching Smith go from an indie darling to an almost Insane Clown Posse level of cultism. I do think that the guy has something in him to say – he’s been able to do it before! – and maybe a decades spanning hockey movie is the way for him to do it.