“There’s something freeing about not giving a shit.”
If it wasn’t obvious enough with 2014’s demented Tusk, then Yoga Hosers makes it crystal clear—writer/director Kevin Smith could care less what anyone things of his movies anymore. Sure, he’s had famous spats with the press before (see: the Cop Out saga), but Smith has reached the stage in his career where he no longer needs to appeal to the masses—he can now reach out to his core fans directly through his innumerable podcasts, which has allowed him the sort of unbridled freedom (aided no doubt by copious amounts of weed), to create something as uniquely odd as his True North Trilogy, a loosely-aligned group of low-budget horror movies that began with Tusk, and continues with the recent Yoga Hosers.
While Tusk was essentially a stand-alone body-horror story of someone turned into a human/walrus contraption by a mad scientist, it also featured a quick cameo from Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn, who played a convenience store clerk alongside her real best-friend Lily-Rose Depp (daughter of Johnny Depp, who plays Quebec manhunter Guy LaPointe in both Tusk and Yoga Hosers), in a scene reminiscent of Smith’s own beginnings with the B+W indie-hit Clerks. With Yoga Hosers, Harley Quinn and Lily-Rose now anchor an entire film, one every bit as insane as Tusk (if not more so).
Yoga Hosers takes Kevin Smith’s infatuation with Canada further than ever before, placing his Critters meets Clerks horror-comedy into the decidedly Canadian town of Winnipeg, where 15-year-old best friends Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith) have to face off against a horde of Bratzis, miniature sausage Nazi clones defrosted after 100 years, who bear a striking resemblance to one Silent Bob. The backstory involving Adrien Arcand, the mastermind of the Winnipeg Nazi movement and it’s association with the Bratzis is nearly incomprehensible, but that’s almost the point. The fun of Yoga Hosers, like the best of Smith’s films, lies in the relationship between the characters, and Smith and Quinn have a great chemistry together in the midst of all the resurrected Nazi shenanigans.
We caught up with Kevin and Harley Quinn at the Fantasia Film Festival to discuss the origins of the film, working with family, and what we can expect from Moose Jaws, the final installment of the True North Trilogy. Yoga Hosers is available on Blu-ray and VOD now.
What do you love so much about Canada?
Kevin Smith: It started in childhood when I was 5, my parents took me to Niagara Falls, they had honeymooned in Niagara Falls before we were born. So after Niagara Falls on their honeymoon, they drove over to Montreal because it was around Expo (67). So years later, I’m 5, they decided to take what I guess was a reunion tour – years later, I honestly feel like my old man was like, “Let’s go back to all the old places we fucked in Canada,” because that’s what it feels like later. As a kid, it felt like they were just taking us to Niagara Falls, but I honestly later in life put two and two together. They put us up in a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls and didn’t go with us, and that was so uncharacteristic of my parents, and I think it’s because we all shared the hotel room, and my father was like, “This is the only time I’m going to have to do what I wanted to do when I came up here, which is have sex with my wife.”
So, I fell in love with Canada when I was a kid, and then that continued with the love of SCTV and Bob and Doug (McKenzie), and then later on Degrassi as well. So you know, I was just talking to the kid, when they stamped my passport, it said, “times 27.” And she was like, “What is that?” And I was like, “I have no idea.” She goes, “Maybe it’s the amount of times you’ve gone to Canada.” And I was like, “Nah, I’ve been to Canada way more times than 27.” From showing Clerks at The Toronto Film Festival in ’94 to now, I pretty much go up at least four times a year, all across the country. So you times that over like, 20 years, that’s like 80 trips. And she was like, “Jesus christ, why don’t you just move here?!” And I was like, “I tried at one point, but they were talking about charging me double income tax.” I don’t make enough to support myself in the U.S., let alone in the U.S. and Canada.
I seriously looked into citizenship, because it’s just something I always thought would be fun. Like Scott Mosier, the guy that I do Smodcast with, and he produced my earlier and better movies, he is a dual citizen. And I was like, “Man, I would kill for dual citizenship!” And I was kind of hoping that sooner or later they’d just give it to me, like every once in a while you get a college degree even though you didn’t finish college. You give a speech and they’re like, “You’re a doctor you son of a bitch!” I’ve got a few doctorates at home, so I was hoping they would bestow citizenship on me that way. Like, “You talked about Canada so much we’re going to make you an honorary citizen.” It hasn’t happened yet, but under the kid Trudeau anything is possible now, it’s a magical time here.
Does Johnny Depp share your fascination with Canada, or does he not get it?
Kevin Smith: Oh, his thing was like, “I’ve shot a movie in Quebec, so I’m very familiar with the accent.” And he goes, “And I have an internal dimmer, which means I can dial it up as accurate as you want, or dial it down as stupid as you want.” And I was like, “To be fair sir, we’re not looking for accuracy. It’s a live action cartoon, just make it as fun as you want.” So his inspiration was obviously both Clouseau and Colombo. It was very Clousombo, if you will.
When he first read the script for Tusk, he was like, “I know that accent, I’ve got an ear for it, I was around it for a whole movie.” He wanted to do it correctly, but I was like, “Do it fun.” So he just went crazy with it, and became our cartoon. And in Tusk, some people are like, “That cartoon doesn’t work.” But in Yoga Hosers, they’re like, “Oh, that cartoon makes sense.” So he was the one carry over element, as well as the girls. Tusk is kind of like a Hammer House of Horror film, but this plays more like an 80’s cable movie or something like that, that’s what I was kind of going for. So he seems to dig it here very much, but we oddly enough didn’t even step one foot onto Canadian soil for either of these movies yet! First one was North Carolina, the second one was Los Angeles, and mostly people go vice versa, like they’ll go up to Canada to shoot for Los Angeles, but one day I’ll hopefully get to shoot up here. I directed The Flash in Vancouver, so that brought me up here, but I haven’t directed one of these weird Canadian movies here.
Harley, what was the experience of making this movie with your dad and your best friend like?
Harley Quinn: Very few actors get to say that their first movie experience was spent alongside their friends and family and they were practically handed a script, like, “This is for you!” Which is so rare, and I’m so lucky to have had that happen so smoothly and I chose a majority of the cast, which is also very wild. So the entire thing is kind of like a dream, and when I say it out loud it sounds very ridiculous and so privileged, and it was absolutely a very rare situation, but it was the most amazing experience I could have wished for.
What’s the latest on Moose Jaws, the final film in the True North Trilogy?
Kevin Smith: I met with the folks at Creative Saskatchewan, and they put aside a little bit of money for us, should we be able to shoot up there, because there’s no tax rebate in the province. But the idea of being able to shoot Moose Jaws in or near or around Moose Jaw or of course Regina, the city that rhymes with fun, would be fantastic for us. So, it’s still on the table. My American financing just looks like it’s now coalesced and come together. Now the only question is when to shoot, ’cause I go back to Flash at the beginning of September, that takes about a month, and then there’s this other thing I shoot in October. So it might be between those, or in November, hopefully. We can’t do it in the summer because we need an empty camp, a kid’s summer camp is where it’s set. So, in the fall is fantastic.
How much of your real relationship with Lily-Rose made it into these characters?
Harley Quinn: I would say that we’re not like the characters in real life, but the relationship is very similar. We’ve been best friends since we were in kindergarten, so a really long time. We hang out all the time, we laugh. We do everything the Colleens do except fight bratwurst men that are my father. To prepare for it, we looked to people we know to find the most annoying aspects of a teenage girl, and then compiled all of the bad qualities that a teenaged girl could possess and then put that together. And then, at least for me, I just built an entire person because I didn’t want to be playing myself at all. I often compare my character to Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls, but with a lot of annoying teen aspects. Lilly Rose’s character is much sharper than mine, but she has a really good heart, and she just wants to make her best friend happy.
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