Holy Moly Man: Kevin Smith
BY Ari Karpel
September 16 2011 3:00 AM ET
Travis, Billy-Ray, and Randy are just high school kids, dorky high school kids who want to get laid. So they go online and find an older woman to fulfill their fantasy of having sex with her one after the other.
When they get to the woman’s trailer, she plies them with alcohol, and before the guys know it they are knocked out, bound and gagged by Abin Cooper, a fundamentalist Christian preacher known for protesting at the funerals of gay victims of hate crimes. He has hog-tied the high-schoolers so that his lathered-up flock, made up exclusively of his family members, can torture and murder them for their perverted, homosexual ways (after all, they wanted to have sex one after the other). What ensues is part horror flick, part comedy, part antifundamentalist polemic, and pure Kevin Smith.
It’s the rare movie that lets its villain conflate teenage boys’ sexual desires with those of gay men, but there’s nothing typical about Smith’s Red State. The movie’s release has involved a five-week-long, 16-city tour that had the writer-director riding from city to city in a bus to attend Q&As after every sold-out screening (the film is now on Blu-ray and video on demand with a select theatrical release this month). Nor is there anything typical about the straight, onetime indie-film darling (remember Clerks?) who’s become an online pioneer. Smith’s status as an outsider icon is secure, as some of his 1.8 million Twitter followers travel across the country to have him officiate their weddings (which he calls SMarriages), not to mention his 24-hour online radio network of podcasts (SModcasts).
And then there’s Smith’s unlikely activism on behalf of LGBT folks and same-sex marriage, as well as his interest in gay sex. Particularly blow jobs. “I’m not gay, but I’m curious as fuck. Not bi-curious,” Smith clarifies, with no sign of defensiveness, “just curious. I like to know a lot of shit.”
It all started for Smith when his brother, Donald, came out to him in the late 1980s. Actually, their mother told Kevin that Donald was gay. “He didn’t tell me himself and I thought, Oh, shit, he thinks I’m that fucking dude, who would be like ‘Ewww!’ ” recalls Smith, who blurted out to his brother that he knew he was gay while on a road trip from Seattle to Vancouver. With that initial coming-out awkwardness behind them, Smith grilled his brother on all the gritty gay details, like “Glory holes: yes or no?”
Smith’s new knowledge got the budding filmmaker wondering what it would be like to be a gay man having to watch so many heterosexual love stories on the screen. Smith says he began making movies because he hadn’t seen himself and his friends up there yet, and he wanted the same for his brother. So at the beginning of his career he determined that any movie he makes will have some gay element for Donald. “I love him to death,” Smith says, sitting in his tour bus last fall on the Los Angeles set of Red State. “The idea of him sitting through any flick of mine and not having something that spoke directly to him just kind of hurt my feelings, it hurt my heart a little bit. So I was like, I’m going to put something in there all the time for him.”