Jason Mewes Talks His Directorial Debut in the Dark Meta Comedy ‘Madness in the Method’ (Interview)
He’s best known as the exuberant and vocal half of Jay and Silent Bob, but in Jason Mewes’ directorial debut film, he’s on the hunt to combat type casting and to be taken seriously in show business, which leads to a multitude of murderous mayhem. In Madness in the Method, Mewes stars and steps behind the camera delivering a dark and hilarious meta adventure that View Askeniverse fans are going to absolutely love.
The film’s synopsis reads as follows:
We had the chance to chat with Mewes ahead of the film’s release. We spoke about his first time as a director, his heart-warming experience working the legendary Stan Lee and more!
Denise Caputo: Congratulations on your directorial debut with Madness in the Method! I screened the film last night. I loved everything about it! I’m a longtime View Askewniverse fan, and I think your fans are going to love it too.
Jason Mewes: Thank you! It’s cool to hear that from you and the young lady that I spoke to before you. This is all new for me, and when I did a screening at the San Diego Comic-Con, it was awesome. It went well. It seemed like everyone in the theater that came out dug it, but then I always second guess myself. I was like, “would they really come out in my face and be like, ‘that movie sucked!'” So, in my head, I’m like, what if they didn’t like it, but they are just telling me they like it. Then, I wonder if they did dig it. Anyway, I’ve been there. I just thought that you and the young lady before you wouldn’t be asked to say you liked it if you didn’t, but I don’t know since you’re not in my face.
DC: I promise. I’m always honest, and I would be honest with you. I would tell you straight up, and you know I’m from New York. We tell it like it is.
JM: I love it! Thank you.
DC: You’re welcome, and you did an awesome job with the film. Honestly, I am surprised this is your first time directing. Is that something you’ve always wanted to do? And can you tell me a bit about how the film came to be and how you landed the opportunity to direct?
JM: I don’t want to say I’ve always wanted to do it. I feel like around Clerks II is where I felt like I wanted to start directing. It was during a couple of independent movies I did when I started thinking like a director. The director would be like, “Hey, come to the door and go to the left. Stand here and say your lines.” I was like, “you know what? That is awesome, but what if I come through like this, and do this, and do that, and it might have a little more impact.” So, I realized in my brain I was thinking like a director. Then, in Clerks II, I’m asked Kevin to let me direct a scene. It was a studio movie, and he couldn’t let me direct a whole scene, but he let me direct an insert. It was such a simple little thing, but I dug even that small moment of directing this insert for Kevin. After Clerks II, I wanted to direct something, and I started reaching out. At one point, I almost had this comedy movie, but things fell through.
Then, I was in London doing a shoot on a movie called Devil’s Tower. The producer, Dominic Burns, brought me out and I did a four-day shoot. It was the same slap-sticky, sort of stoner-type character in this horror movie. It was fun. I loved it, and I hung out after the shoot to do some sightseeing. I’m like, if I’m in London I want to check out Robin Hood’s lair and such. So, I did some sightseeing and hung out with Dominic, and he was like, “Hey bro. I hope you don’t mind me asking. What do you really want to do besides this Jay character and then these other indie movies playing the stoner?” And I said, “I want to challenge myself. I’ve wanted to try to play a Hannibal Lecter type character or American Psycho. You know, or a rogue cop like the TV show The Shield where the dude is like a rogue cop badass and stuff; just something that will challenge me. Different and hardcore stuff.” I told him that I really, really want to direct as well.
We talked about it a little bit. Then, I went home and like two months later he called me and said, “bro. I’m going to send you an e-mail. I hope you’re not mad at me, but I took it upon myself to write a script for you. I hope you read it and like it.” I read it, and I liked it, but I was like, how about this, this, and this instead. He said, “wow, that’s a great idea!” And he started making some changes and stuff. We went back and forth for a few weeks shaping the script into something bigger and closer to what it is now. Then, I didn’t hear from him for like four months, and I felt like, “oh.” I just assumed he got another job producing or directing in London, that’s where he shot a few of his movies. Then, all of a sudden he called me one day, and he said, “I reached out to a couple of people I know about the script, and they’re going to finance the movie. They’re going to finance the script, and they said you could direct!” I was like, “get out of here!”
So, that is where it started. We changed the scripts a little more and came up with the idea of why don’t we make it more multiverse Jay Mewes where everyone plays themselves, but in an alternate universe. Like an Earth-2 or 15 version of Jay, and Kevin Smith, and Danny Trejo. This way, I can play to my strengths. It’s not just me going around literally murdering people and making it like a Friday the 13th murder mystery or whatever. That is how we fine-tuned the movie, knowing I was going to direct and all. I’m super happy with it because it’s a mix of me. Madness is this comedy and this drama. Then, I got to do the killing, a version of what I wanted to do, while also playing to my strengths and throwing some comedy in there.
We didn’t have a lot of money, and I feel blessed and lucky. We reached out to people to be in it. No one got their normal quote. I mean, I don’t know what their normal quota is, but I definitely know they didn’t get it. It was awesome that Dean Cain, Teri Hatcher, Danny Trejo, and everyone were like, “oh, Jay is directing his first feature? We want to be part of that!” That was amazing for me to be directing and realizing, “wow these people are going to take time out of their day even though they are not getting paid big bucks. They are going to come to play around and be part of my project!” So, that was amazing!
DC: Yeah! That was part of what made this movie so much fun to watch. It was awesome seeing you, Kevin Smith, Brian O’Halloran, Dean Cain and the others playing these alternate, embellished, weird versions of themselves. It’s a really smart idea and elevates the film to a whole other level. It was great.
JM: Thank you!
DC: You’re welcome! You mentioned that you directed an insert in one of Kevin Smith’s films. In watching Madness in the Method, I can see the influence that he had on you in your style. I was wondering who else has influenced your directorial style?
JM: I feel like most of it is just Kevin and then just seeing all the different directors I’ve worked with and watching them. A big piece was Dominic Burns. I am super grateful to him. He’s the one who took a chance and reached out. He found the financing and all of that stuff, but he was also the one standing there behind me saying, “you should try to do this.” I realized I took a lot from him.
Kevin edits his own movies, and over the years I’ve sort of watched him too. In the script, it says we are going to have the two characters come out the front. We are going to do a wide shot, then we are going to do a frame shot of them walking around the back of the building, and this is where stuff is playing out. Kevin, as an editor, because he edits himself, would be like, “I would never show them walking around the building. I would just cut to the back of the building, so let’s get rid of this. We don’t need this. Let’s save a whole setup in the world of shooting.”
So yeah, I would like to say that I was influenced a little from this person and that person. I do have to say mainly Kevin, and little bits and pieces of I did a movie called Zombie Hamlet, and like all these little indie movies I’ve done. I’ve taken little pieces here and there, but mainly Kevin.
DC: That’s awesome! I have to ask you about Stan Lee’s appearance in your film. I’ve tried to do some research, and as far as I can see, there aren’t any future plans for other cameos, so this just might be his last on-screen appearance, which is crazy! What an honor!
JM: It is crazy! It is crazy! People have been saying that, and it seems like that might be the case, but I just don’t want to say that and then all of a sudden some scene that was shot years ago comes out and all, but it seems to be the case. It is completely surreal to me. It’s surreal that he even is in the movie at all, and I’ve been telling people this story about how amazing it was for me. Every time Kevin and I would see Stan Lee over the years, we’ve known him since Mallrats; Every time I’d hear him say “hi,” I get goosebumps just from his voice, you know. It’s Stan Lee!
But every time he’d see Kevin, he’d be like, “Kevin, when are you going to put me in a movie?” So, when we started getting the movie together, I was like, oh my gosh. He always asks Kevin to put him in the movie, and he never asked me to put him in a movie, but that’s because I don’t make movies. So, now that I’m making a movie, maybe he will do it. I reached out to his handler and said, “Hey, I’m shooting a film. Is there any way that Stan would be able to come out and play?”
I didn’t hear from him for a few days, and then all of a sudden, I get a text. He calls me up, and he goes, “Jay, we were out of town we just got back. Sorry, I took a few days, but Stan would love to be in the movie. How long will it be?” I said it would be an hour or ninety minutes at the most. We’ll have him in and out. He is like, “that’s great. It has to be before 5:30 because we have to leave. He cannot miss dinner. Stan will never miss dinner with his wife.”
DC: Awwww. How sweet!
JM: Yeah. They would gather every night at 6 o’clock for dinner together. So, I was like, “that’s awesome. When do you want to do it?’ He said they were leaving town again in the next day so it would have to be that day. I was like, “oh my goodness!” He called me at like 2 o’clock, and he said he could be there at like 3:30. We had been shooting nights, so everyone just got home from work at like 7 in the morning, maybe got to bed around 8 in the morning and no one was supposed to come to work that day until seven at night. It was so amazing. I’ve got to give it up to the crew and everybody because we reached out and said Stan would be in the movie, but it has to be by 4 o’clock. He has to be somewhere, and we have to start at 4 to have him out of there by 5:30. It was nice because nobody had to be at work until like 7 and everyone came to work freaking super early, like 3 hours early, so that they can watch the scene with Stan. All of that was just super amazing!
DC: Oh, that’s so wonderful! What a great memory to have of Stan! I love it. So, now that you’ve had your first crack at directing are you interested in doing more?
Jason Mewes: Oh, yes. I definitely, definitely would like to do more stuff.
DC: What types of films would you like to make in the future?
JM: I feel like I would want to stick to some comedy, but again I don’t know. Part of me feels like comedy is my strength, and I should totally direct comedy. At the same time, I’d love to challenge myself, and I feel like horror would be so much fun. I don’t want to say any genre specifically. I would love to do anything. One of my favorite things to watch, and something I would love to direct, is like procedural stuff, like CSI. I’m watching that right now even though I have seen it already. Stuff like Burn Notice or Murder She Wrote, which is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. So is Columbo and Matlock. I would be down to direct everything honestly.
DC: That would be awesome! I can’t wait to see more from you as a director. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you would like our readers to know about Madness in the Method? Anything you want to say about the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot or any other projects you have coming up that you’d like to shout out?
JJM: Just that I hope everyone goes to see Madness. Friday, it will be out, and I hope everyone enjoys it and enjoys themselves. Also, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot will be out in October. Kevin and I will be touring with it. If you go to rebootroadshow.com, we will be going to different screenings. You can see it either way, but we are going to certain cities to watch the movie and then afterward we will be doing a Q&A and some meet and greets.
Also, right now when I’m not going to be doing the Reboot Roadshow, you can check me out on Twitch: @JayMewes. For my birthday, Kevin got me an IRL backpack which is literally like an all-in-one streaming backpack. While we are doing the Reboot Roadshow, I am hoping to bring the backpack and do some streaming. Like, here is me and Kevin walking to the venue and all that type of stuff. So, please check me out @JayMewes on Twitch because that’s something I’ve been doing recently that I am enjoying. I’ll be playing video games and all that other business.
Sending a massive thank you to Jason Mewes for taking the time out to speak with us about his directorial debut in Madness in the Method. The film hits select theaters and on-demand on Friday, August 2nd! You don’t want to miss this one! Check out the trailer for the film below:
You can also catch Mewes reuniting with his hetero life mate Kevin Smith when they reprise their iconic roles as Jay and Silent Bob in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot which hits theaters on October 15th.