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'Jay and Silent Bob Reboot' is family affair for Jason Mewes, Harley Quinn Smith

By
Karen Butler
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot stars Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes participate in a hand- and footprint ceremony immortalizing them in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on Monday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
"Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" stars Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes participate in a hand- and footprint ceremony immortalizing them in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on Monday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Actor Jason Mewes said playing one-half of the titular duo in the comedy Jay and Silent Bob Reboot offered him some unexpected challenges.

While Mewes has played fast-talking stoner Jay in most of writer-director-actor Kevin Smith's movies, dating to 1994's Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot finds Jay discovering he has a teen daughter, played by Smith's real-life offspring, Harley Quinn Smith.

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"I went in there thinking: 'We're just going to have some fun. Snoochie Boochies and running around.' But it actually was a little more work for me, a little more dialogue," Mewes, 45, told UPI in a recent phone interview.

Sharing scenes with Harley Quinn Smith made it easier for him to develop and reveal a more serious side to his iconic character.

"I've known her since she was a baby and we have a really great relationship," Mewes said.

"She'd put a pretty good performance on where she is getting upset, and because she's getting upset, I would literally start really getting upset. I know she was pretending, but I had to go with it. It made it a lot simpler than I thought it would be. ... If I wasn't a [real-life] dad and Harley wasn't in that role, I don't think I would have been able to pull it off."

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Set for theatrical release Tuesday, Reboot is the sequel to 2001's Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

The new adventure follows Jay and Kevin Smith's Silent Bob -- lifelong best friends -- as they road-trip from New Jersey to California to quash the remake of Bluntman and Chronic, a movie based on Jay and Silent Bob without their permission.

Along the way, they meet numerous people from their past, including Jay's ex-girlfriend Justice (Shannon Elizabeth) and her wife Reggie (Rosario Dawson,) who have been raising Jay's smart and feisty daughter, Millennium "Milly" Faulken.

Unimpressed with Jay but pursuing her own agenda, Milly and her pals Jihad, Soapy and Shan Yu (Aparna Brielle, Treshelle Edmond and Alice Wen) threaten their way into a ride to the West Coast.

"It was special to us because we were making it as a family and so many of our friends are in it," Harley Quinn Smith, 20, said of Reboot in a separate phone interview.

"At a certain point, everybody realized it was becoming special in its own right, especially filming the scenes between Milly and Jay. There was just such real chemistry and real emotion -- it became something else."

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The project is Kevin Smith's first since he suffered a massive heart attack in 2018.

Variously silly, smart and thoughtful, the movie mocks bigotry and political correctness, sends up comic book conventions, Hollywood and mall culture and even mines for laughs in veganism and celebrity friendships.

The introduction of progressive Milly, her moms and her diverse group of friends also creates opportunities for social commentary.

"There are a lot of points in this film that would not be appropriate to be made by Jay or Silent Bob because they are points that should be made by a woman," Harley Quinn Smith said, noting the new characters represent the disabled, women of color and LGBTQ communities.

"There is all this representation," she said, explaining that she thinks it is important to let the women speak for themselves instead of having cis-gendered, white male characters comment on them.

Stars from all of Kevin Smith's other movies return for cameos in Reboot, and there is a lovely tribute to his personal hero, comic book titan Stan Lee, who died last year at age 95.

Mewes' 4-year-old daughter, Logan, got into the act, too, sharing a poignant scene with Ben Affleck, who reprises his Chasing Amy role of Holden.

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"Harley Quinn was in the first movie when she was about 2 or 3, but I just felt like we had to also have my kid in it. So, just like now, Harley can go back and watch that and be like, 'Oh, my gosh, look at me as a baby in the movie!' I just wanted the same thing for Logan," Mewes said.

"Twenty years from now, she'll get to look back and go, 'Oh, my gosh, that's me doing a scene with Batman.'"

Mewes was thrilled to reconnect with Affleck after he and Kevin Smith had previously worked with him on Chasing Amy, Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but then fell out of touch.

"It was nice to just say: 'Hey, bro, I haven't even got to talk to you in five years. I have a daughter now and this is my daughter and I've been sober this long.' It was just really nice," Mewes said, adding he was also excited to see on the Reboot set Jason Lee, his co-star on Mallrats, as well as Diedrich Bader, Chris Hemsworth, Melissa Benoist, Val Kilmer and Cheech and Chong.

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Mewes and Kevin Smith were honored Monday at a hand- and footprint ceremony immortalizing them in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman's) in Los Angeles.

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