- Kevin Smith told Business Insider why he referenced “Dogma” in his new movie, “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot,” though he doesn’t own the rights to it.
- Smith’s 1999 movie starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as renegade angels is owned by Harvey and Bob Weinstein.
- Smith said he “thought it would be fun” to give a “Dogma” update, especially seeing this year marks the 20th anniversary of its release.
- The writer-director has reached out to the Weinsteins in the past about getting the rights to the movie but has never heard back from them, he said.
- “Kevin Smith is one of the great directors of our time, of course I’d hear and consider any idea he would suggest,” Harvey Weinstein said through his spokesman Juda Engelmayer to Business Insider about selling Smith the rights to the movie.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Writer-director Kevin Smith makes a references to almost all his old movies in “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot,” including one he doesn’t have the rights to.
Smith’s latest movie, which had a nationwide screening Tuesday through Fathom and will have another on Thursday (followed by a roadshow tour), is a literal reboot of his 2001 movie “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” in which the New Jersey stoners (played by Jason Mewes and Smith) run into numerous characters from Smith’s previous movies while trying to stop a Hollywood adaptation of the comic book based on them.
“Reboot” is loaded with familiar faces, from Ben Affleck reprising the role he played in Smith’s “Chasing Amy” to celebrity cameos like Chris Hemsworth in hologram form. But one interesting inclusion is Matt Damon’s cameo as Loki from Smith’s 1999 movie, “Dogma,” which Smith doesn’t technically have the rights to use.
Smith was able to make “Reboot” because he personally owns the rights to the Jay and Silent Bob characters and got permission to use “Strike Back” from Miramax Films. So that covers movies like “Clerks,” “Mallrats,” and “Chasing Amy.”
But it gets complicated with “Dogma.”
At the time Smith made “Dogma,” Miramax, then run by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, was owned by Disney. The family-friendly studio refused to have a company it owned releasing a movie about an abortion clinic worker (Linda Fiorentino) who sets out to save the world from two renegade angels (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon). So the Weinsteins personally bought the rights to the movie and got Lionsgate Films to release it.
Since then, the Weinsteins have owned “Dogma.”
“We put out word to them a long time ago, ‘What’s the chances we can buy our movie back?’ We never heard back,” Smith told Business Insider.
Because of the rights situation, Smith had no intention of including “Dogma” in his new movie. But then he heard from Matt Damon.
“We were in post and Matt got back from vacation and was like, ‘Don’t leave me out, I want to do something,'” Smith recalled.
At first, Smith was going to have Damon do a cameo as the version of himself that is in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.” But Smith’s wife convinced him to instead put Damon in the movie as Loki.
“And I said, ‘But Loki’s dead,'” Smith recounted. “She was like, ‘Yeah, in the movie. They are just movies.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, you’re right.’ So I thought this would be fun, give a ‘Dogma’ update.”
In “Reboot” (this time Jay and Silent Bob are trying to stop a Comic Con-like event of the comic book characters based on them from happening) Damon briefly appears as Loki, sitting in a church with the Bible in his hand, talking to the camera. He even makes a joke that he’s not the Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For Smith, the Loki cameo is the closest he can get to celebrating a movie he doesn’t own.
“This is the 20th anniversary of ‘Dogma,'” Smith said. “I can’t celebrate it because the movie is not owned by me. It’s not available publicly. At a certain point, I felt I created Loki. It’s not like we are building the marketing campaign on Loki, so I’m going to weight a certainty over a doubt and I’m certain including Loki is the right thing to do. The only thing that would be the doubt is he starred in a movie that you don’t technically own.”
Smith said the last time he heard from Harvey Weinstein was in 2017 when the producer called him about wanting to make a sequel to “Dogma” and getting the original available to the public after years of it being unavailable. However, a week after that call, The New York Times published its explosive exposé detailing allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein spanning decades. Smith now believes the call was Weinstein’s way of gaining his support before the Times story ran. (Weinstein’s spokesman Juda Engelmayer told Business Insider he does not know if this call ever happened.)
Currently, “Dogma” is the only Kevin Smith movie unavailable to stream.
Would Weinstein ever sell Smith the rights to “Dogma”?
“Kevin Smith is one of the great directors of our time, of course I’d hear and consider any idea he would suggest,” Weinstein said to Business Insider through his spokesman Engelmayer.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.