Kevin Smith knows what it's like to come under fire, as he so eloquently explained during our "First Take: Live With Kevin Smith" interview earlier in the week: once every mainstream media outlet has called you "fat" in their headlines, there are very few insults remaining that can really make a dent on the psyche.
Which is probably why Smith remains undeterred by the legion of film fans and commentators who have taken him to task over his decision to distribute "Red State" all on his own. After indicating on Twitter that he'd be awarding distribution rights for his new horror flick in a live auction following the Sundance premiere of "Red State," Smith abruptly made the solitary bid on the film and awarded it to himself. Some bloggers and fans felt cheated by Smith's actions. But Smith doesn't see it that way.
"What is so wrong with being entertaining in your presentation? What gives people the right to be like, 'He's a liar!' Are you kidding me?" Smith told MTV News when the topic of the "Red State" auction came up. "People instead look for something to be mad about. They don't want to tell the story. No, the story they want to tell instead is like, 'He said he was gonna sell it and he didn't! What a jerk he is!'"
"Who would be pissed at [what I did]? Tell me who has the right to be mad at that? Distributors? Film fans? 'Cause none of those bloggers were ever gonna buy that movie, so what did they care who I sold it to?" he continued. "And I told the truth, in my tweet. I said, 'If I get to Sundance, I intend to pick my distributor in the room, auction-style.' Auction-style — did I not do that? People feel threatened and scared by something that has nothing to do with them whatsoever."
"I didn't lie. I stood up there and said that I'm gonna take my movie — I'm gonna take it out and try not to spend money doing it," he added. "The real story is, 'Oh my God, this dude's doing what Trent Reznor did in music. He's trying to take his movie to the people by himself, [with the aid of] social media networks.'"
In the end, Smith feels that the people he's actively trying to reach – his fan base – understood his motives, and that's what's important to him.
"I'm not a mainstream filmmaker. You want a mainstream version of me? Judd Apatow can do it in his sleep — he's much better at it," he said. "But if you want what I do, this many people are interested in it, not the whole world. Rather than spend for people who aren't gonna come, let me just talk to these people and see what happens."
And, as Smith puts it, what he did was more entertaining than what some apparently expected him to do. "What's more entertaining than 'Guess what, mother----er, I'm buying the movie, bitches!'" he grinned. "At the very least, they can sit there and be like, 'As we've seen, he's imploded. He's clearly insane.' That's entertainment!"
Do you agree with Smith or his detractors on this one? Do you feel he was being honest, or do you think he cheated his fans? Give us your take on the debate in the comments section and on Twitter!