Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Indie Idol Goes Mainstream

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Indie Idol Goes Mainstream

Article excerpt

Byline: David Germain

THE wonderboy who made Clerks now is officially an "influence" on a new generation of filmmakers.

Kevin Smith wrote his latest comedy, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, with Seth Rogen in mind to play slacker Zack, who makes a skin flick with his platonic best pal to turn some quick cash.

When Smith started, Rogen was a supporting player just getting a foothold in Hollywood. By the time he was ready to pitch the film to the actor, Rogen was about to break out as a leading man with Knocked Up and then as a screenwriter developing his own material.

Smith figured he had lost his shot at Rogen. But it turns out, the actor's big dream always had been to work with the filmmaker he'd admired so much as a teen: Kevin Smith.

"It really comes down to Clerks as the gift that just keeps on giving," Smith, 38, said at September's Toronto International Film Festival, where Zack and Miri premiered. "It gave me a career, I met my wife because of it. It just goes on and on.

"And then suddenly, there's another reason to love Clerks, because Rogen loved it, and that's how he winds up in this movie, eventually. ... I felt like this dude's doing me a true solid, because suddenly, he's a movie star. The dude can do any movie he wants at this point. For him to choose ours is really cool."

With Rogen's fresh star power and sharp rapport with co-star Elizabeth Banks, Zack and Miri has a shot at elevating Smith beyond his loyal cult audience and into the mainstream.

Rogen's three big films over the past year and a half - Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express - collectively hauled in $US360 million ($A520.83 million) in the US, nearly three times the total for all seven of Smith's movies, from the $US3.1 million ($A4.48 million) gross for 1994's Clerks through the $US24.1 million ($A34.87 million) take for Clerks II in 2006.

At just over $US30 million ($A43.4 million) each, Smith's highest-grossing flicks were the Roman Catholic comedy Dogma, with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as fallen angels, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which elevated the director's alter ego Bob and old Jersey pal Jason Mewes' Jay to star status after appearing in smaller roles in his previous flicks. …

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