So many people showed up to the lot at 50 Kent last night for the 20th anniversary screening of Mallrats that it took over an hour of standing in line to snag a beer. The only person who didn’t seem to mind was director Kevin Smith. “This is fucking tremendous,” he said from the stage, recalling how the last time he saw the movie in public, around the time of its release in 1995, it was just him and four other people in the theater.
Smith must have felt doubly relieved to see everyone comfortably chilling on blankets and in lawn chairs, puffing who knows what — the strain known as “Silent Bob”? — into the air. Truth is, the last time he was supposed to spiel to a crowd this big, it deserted him. The jersey-clad director recalled how, a few weeks ago, he followed the cast of Star Wars at Comic Con and ended up speaking to a half-empty room after JJ Abrams invited about 6,000 people to leave Hall H for a surprise concert. (He told a version of the story on his podcast).
Smith said he was psyched about “being here tonight and seeing a big crowd and knowing for a fucking fact that JJ Abrams has no concert in the nearby area.”
The upswing of the Comic Con fiasco, Smith said, was that he got to meet Bobby Moynihan of Saturday Night Live, a show Smith “desperately” wanted to write for when he was a student at The New School’s Eugene Lang college.
“I used to walk up to midtown and sit in 30 Rock, in the lobby, and wait to be discovered – not doing anything, not busking or telling jokes, just fucking sitting there going, Lorne will know. And I would do it so often and nobody ever discovered me and shit… and I would get sad and I remember crying, like being in the lobby of 30 Rock going like, Man, why won’t this happen and shit. And that’s no way to get hired on a comedy show, crying in the lobby.”
But one way to get hired: impersonate Kevin Smith. That seems to be how Bobby Moynihan got the gig.
“When I auditioned for SNL I got it because I played you,” Smith recalled Moyniahn saying. Smith continued the story:
I was like, “What, what? I can’t even get laid off of being me, how did you get a fucking job?” And he goes, I swear to you, he was like, “I went in for my audition, I did three pieces.” He’s like, “First piece I said, ‘This is Kevin Smith in Clerks’ and I turned my baseball cap backwards, lit a cigarette and smoked it and never said anything.” I was like, “That’s funny?” And he’s like, “They laughed at first,” and shit. He’s like, “You gotta remember it was 10 years ago.” He goes, “And then after about two minutes into it when I still didn’t talk they started laughing more because they thought he’s fucking committed and shit.”
That may just beat Smith’s Courtney Love story. But enough with the name-dropping. Everyone came to the event, sponsored by Nitehawk and Buzzfeed, to see Mallrats, and maybe hear about the sequel that’s in the works. Smith obliged by outlining the plot:
It’s 20 years later and the mall is on the brink of shutting down. Just like the mall everywhere it’s kind of on the way out. When I started talking about, “I’m going to make a Mallrats sequel,” a thousand amateur comedians on Twitter were like, “What, is it going to take place on Amazon?” And I took that joke and put it in the movie.
So it takes place as the mall is about to close and Brody Bruce, the Jason Lee character, is throwing his… he’s got a comic book store, Jody Bruce’s Secret Stash, which we had introduced in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. He has moved it into the mall and he’s throwing this Mallathon Comic Con to try to keep the mall alive. He’s like the people in Back to the Future – “Save the clock tower” – he’s trying to save the mall and shit… The whole place finally has a crowd in it for the first time in years and the movie is stolen from Die Hard so in the middle of the Comic Con terrorists take over the mall and so originally the title of the script was Mallrats 2: Die Hard in a Mall. I don’t think Fox is going to let us call it that so we might have to call it something else, but Brody teams up with everyone you remember and love from this movie, 18 characters from this movie come back in Mallrats 2 and then we add another generation as well, their kids as well.
Smith said Jason Lee is among the returning actors, though he had initially planned to retire. According to Smith, Lee decided it would be “kind of poetic” to make Mallrats the first and last movie he starred in.
The sequel sounds pretty action-packed, even if Ted 2 already did the whole “Comic Con fight” thing. Just remember what Silent Bob said: “Adventure, excitement… a Jedi craves not these things.”