Harley Quinn Smith is the daughter of Clerks director Kevin Smith. While that may have been her introduction to showbiz, the younger Smith has very much made her own way and has started to carve out her own, unique career. But that doesn’t mean she can’t find time to work with her dad these days. Such is the case with Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which unites the Smiths in the View Askewniverse.
Previously, Harley Quinn Smith starred in Tusk and Yoga Hosers, both directed by her dad. But here, she’s acting alongside Kevin Smith’s Silent Bob and Jason Mewes’ Jay, which is new. To make things even more interesting, the young Smith plays Milly, who happens to be the daughter of Jay.
I recently had the chance to speak with Harley Quinn Smith, not just about Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, but about her pretty incredible year overall, which also saw her on-screen in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Plus, we talked about the possibility of finally seeing Moose Jaws come to life. So, without further adieu, here’s our chat.
You worked with your dad before. You did Tusk. You did Yoga Hosers. But those were very much in their own universe and this time, you’re acting alongside him very much in his universe, so to speak. So did that dynamic change between you two given that you were kind of playing around in his sandbox?
Harley Quinn Smith: Yeah, I think it kind of did, actually. I think he was a little more territorial about this movie than he was the other times we’ve worked together, because this does mean so much to him. So I think he was a bit more careful about it than maybe Yoga Hosers. But it was really cool to act beside him because he was talking less than he’s ever talked in his life [laughs]. So that was cool. But it was also cool just to see him in a different light than I have ever seen him, because I haven’t really witnessed him acting before.
So you play Milly who, based on the trailers, seems like she has kind of interesting place in the story. Could you tell us a little bit about Milly and how she fits into things?
Harley Quinn Smith: Milly is the daughter of Justice (Shannon Elizabeth) and Jay and she’s grown up without a dad her whole life, and she has this big gap in her life and her heart because she doesn’t know why her dad was not around. She thinks that he left or that he didn’t want her. So there is this lack of a parent in her life that causes her a lot of emotional pain. In order to kind of deal with that emotional pain, or cover it up rather, she definitely has this exterior shell that serves as an armor to her, so that’s why she’s so tough. She’s pretty badass. But she’s very much her own person in her own right, separate from Jay and from Justice. She’s her own person who deals with her own problems. So I really dig her. She’s a total badass and that’s my favorite part about her.
I talked to Jay a couple weeks ago and I asked him about who he was excited to work with. He singled you out and said it was cool getting to work with you in that capacity because he’s known you your whole life. But to that point, you’ve known Jay your whole life. So was it weird working with him because he’s playing your dad in this movie, and right next to him was your actual dad?
Harley Quinn Smith: It would probably be weird, in theory, but when I act I completely separate myself from my character. So when I act I’m not really like I’m looking at my dad and Jay as my dad and Jay. I’m looking at them as different people because I’m, myself, a different person. So it weirdly didn’t really affect me very much, but obviously when we cut and when we leave set and I’m able to put back on myself I act differently. But while shooting, I’m very much not myself. I’m my character.
You’ve had an interesting year because you also were in Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. Not only is Quentin Tarantino Quentin Tarantino, but this could end up easily getting a Best Picture nomination. Then you’re doing something like Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which is just so different. So What’s it been like for you?
Harley Quinn Smith: It’s been really interesting time. It’s been a really dope year, but obviously working with Quentin has been like the greatest gift I’ve ever received in my life. Being able to witness him do his thing and being able to observe him. I learned so much from him. That was amazing. And to be a part of that bill was an absolute honor. Then working with my dad is the same thing. It’s an honor to work with him too. To be able to see in the happiest state that he could possibly be in, because he is the happiest when he’s working and doing what he loves, and being able to collaborate with him. It’s a special part of our relationship, so that’s dope in its own right. And working in between that too. I got to do a horror movie this year called Student Body. I got to do a lot of stuff with my band this year. Our album came out. So that was really cool, too. It’s been a very interesting year. A bunch of different creative things, which is always amazing. So I’m very thankful for the craziness of 2019.
Your dad famously wrote Yoga Hosers for you but you’ve definitely started to branch out in a big way. You were in Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, you’ve got the horror movie you mentioned coming out. So what’s it like for you now getting to branch out more and explore your creativity in your own way?
Harley Quinn Smith: I think it’s really important to me because when you are the relative of somebody who’s in the industry already, you’re really lucky because you do have your foot in the door, but at the same time, in turn, there’s a whole different set of issues that you have to deal with. Like working as hard, if not harder to prove yourself to people that you’re worthy of being here and you’re talented in your own right. So it means everything to me to be able to prove that to people. That, “Hey I’m not just here because of my dad. I’m here because I’m talented and I’m good at what I do.” So you know, building a career for myself outside of my family is so important to me. And I work endlessly to do that. Whether that is my acting career outside of working with my dad or my music career. It’s so important to me. So I just work all the time to prove to everybody that I do deserve to be here in my own right. It’s also really important to me that as many creative outlets as I possibly can. So whether that’s acting or writing or directing or doing music, it’s all equally as important to me. I like to be juggling many different plates at once.
One of those plates which you mentioned briefly, was Student Body, which is the horror flick you’ve got coming up. I know you probably can’t say too much about it, but can you give us a little bit about what we can expect from that?
Harley Quinn Smith: Yeah, it’s a feminist thriller. It’s really cool because it is very feminist, but it is also full of blood and gore. Tears. It’s really intense. It’s definitely the most difficult film I’ve ever done, in the sense that it just requires so much energy. So much more than I’ve ever had to do before. So it was a really real challenge, but it was really cool and fun, and I think it will turn out to be really dope. I’m always down to be involved in a anything feminist. So I’m really excited about it.
So just one last one. Your dad had talked about doing the True North trilogy, and you’ve already got two done in that. Moose Jaws would be the last one. Do you know if Moose Jaws is still gonna happen?
Harley Quinn Smith: Oh, man, that’s a really good question. I think it would be so funny if it happens. We’ll see. That movie Crawl came out that was kind of like Jaws, but with an alligator. So I feel like in an age where Crawl is happening, I don’t know why Jaws with a moose can’t happen. So hopefully.
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is set to screen for two-nights only through Fathom Events on October 15 and 17, ahead of a limited theatrical rollout. To grab tickets for either night, head on over to FathomEvents.com. Or, to get tickets for the Reboot Roadshow, head on over to RebootRoadshow.com.