Kevin Smith, star of AMC’s Comic Book Men, talks about what fans can look forward to in Season 3 and has some advice on playing Batman for his friend Ben Affleck.
Q: What can fans look forward to during Season 3 of Comic Book Men?
A: This season, we actually delve deeper into the fabric of the comic books and pop culture of our past. We’re a show that specializes in reminiscing about comics, toys, things that we played with as kids and that a lot of the audience used to play with as well. So we started bringing in some cast: Lou Ferrigno shows up. Nichelle Nichols, Uhura from Star Trek, shows up. Then we reached into the present and grabbed Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, who work on the current Batman book. We also started putting in more stuff that we talk about — for instance, we talk about George Perez a lot, and we said, “Let’s just bring George Perez on the show.” I don’t know any other shows that are shining a light on one of the world’s greatest comic book artists, so we could be that show.
Q: Do you think being on a TV show has changed any of the guys at all?
A: They’re still the same guys. I think that stems from the fact that Walter doesn’t want to do the show — not in a way where he’s like, “I hate this,” but he’s not a guy who’s like, “I want to be on TV!” He had to be dragged into it, and every season he still has to be dragged into it. He does it more for the “I’m going to do it for you” kind of thing. So a guy who doesn’t want to be there to begin with, he can’t ever lose his head. Bryan Johnson, God love him, is one of the funniest people in the world I’ve ever known, but he has such low self-esteem. There’s no way he could ever be like, “I’m f*cking king of this sh*t.” So he, too, has not lost it. Mike is such a good-natured guy, he’d never lose it. The only one you have to look out for is Ming — as soon as the notion of the show was introduced, he’s like, “Can I be on it?” His eyes lit up like Christmas. But even he is very much the same guy.
Q: In the Season 3 premiere, you hire Lou Ferrigno to help Bryan get into shape. Have you worked out with Lou since you made Bryan your guinea pig?
A: [Laughs] No. The premise of it was: “Look, before I try this, you try because you’re in better shape than me and you might as well see if you can do it before I think about doing it.” So we sicced him on Bryan first, who was just like, “How can you f*cking do that to me, dude? I just got heavy recently — you’ve been heavy your whole life!”
Q: Ben Affleck as Batman: Have you spoken with Ben since the casting announcement was made? Being such an avid Batman fan and having worked with him, what advice would you give him for the role?
A: Affleck will crush Bruce Wayne because he is Bruce Wayne, like, billionaire playboy. I mean, he’s married now, but my lord, if anyone was born to play Bruce Wayne, it’s Ben. In terms of giving advice to play Batman, you put on that rubber mask, you don’t really do a lot of talking, and when you do, people usually bitch because they’re like, “I hate that voice!” — and everyone does the voice! Everyone drops down and [lowers his voice] talks like this. So my only piece of advice would be to stay away from that voice. Don’t try to do that Batman voice yourself. I would insist that they work something into the script where, in the cowl, there’s a voice modulator that lays against his voice box and when you hear him speak, it’s this other worldly, sound-mixed, creepy tone that you could fill a room with. When you’re just a guy going, [low voice] “I’m gonna beat you,” you sound ridiculous. But if you’re a guy whose voice is being treated in after-effects and audio, and it has this strange resonance that doesn’t sound like Ben Affleck and sounds more like a Cylon, that would be a little more terrifying if I was a criminal — and answers the question about the stupid Batman voice. So if I was him, my advice would be to push for a voice modulator.
Q: Any plans to live-tweet this season?
A: I will live-tweet every single episode of Comic Book Men. Number one, I live on Twitter anyway [@ThatKevinSmith]. But when your show is airing, it’s even more fun to sit there and tweet. You can answer questions back and forth and what not, like a Twitter Q&A. But more importantly, you get a feel for instant audience reaction. Aside from it being hopefully fun for the people watching the show — it’s fun for me — but it’s also insanely useful. You’re hearing from people about what they want to see on the show. Only a fool ignores that free advice. So, if anyone’s watching and there’s stuff they want to see on the show, be on Twitter during those live-tweets and suggest to me. I can’t guarantee they’ll do it, but I love taking suggestions. Ain’t no such thing as a bad idea, just because it came from somebody else.
Q: If you had to be trapped on a desert island with just one of the guys from the Stash, who would you pick and why?
A: Bryan. I think everyone would probably pick Bryan. Bryan is everybody’s favorite because Bryan is probably the most original person I’ve ever met in the world next to Walter Flannigan, who’s shoulder-to-shoulder with him on it. Those two dudes are hands down the most original people I’ve ever met. But, if you had to pick one for a desert island — well, I wonder who Mike would choose — but I bet you all of us would choose Bryan because he’ll make you laugh. You’ll be trapped, but at least you’ll be laughing.