With his supposed retirement around the corner, Kevin Smith has been busy promoting his horror film Red State, which opened to big, if not slightly manic, buzz at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The movie, which stars John Goodman and Melissa Leo and is out on DVD today, follows a group of hate-mongering Christian fundamentalists and their Fred Phelps–type leader (played by Michael Parks). We spoke with Smith about watching Phelps footage in the dark, bailing on Green Hornet, and “Kevin Smith movies.”
Would you say it’s part of your agenda to deliver a message that’s in some way guaranteed to piss people off?
Here’s the secret to that: If you’re passionate about something and you pour it into the work, you’re going to piss somebody off. That’s the reason why I’m still here. I mean, twenty years is a long [filmmaking career] for a man with no identifiable, discernible talent. Your perspective is your most unique aspect about you. It’s the only thing in this life, or in this art, rather, that might give you an edge. I’ve been trying to figure out, “Why me?” I’m a nice guy, but I just can’t help but irritate some people. And after years, I think, Maybe I’m just one of those fuckers that pisses people off.