Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow: Who influenced whom?
By Patrick Kevin Day and Jevon Phillips
Forget the philosophical question of which came first, the chicken or the egg. For movie geeks, the great point of debate this fall may be when it comes to filmmakers Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow, who influenced whom?
Simple chronology shows us that as a major filmmaking force, Smith was on the scene first with his breakout movie, “Clerks,” in 1994. And Apatow has stated that Smith’s work did influence him. But Apatow has been credited with influencing a whole generation of screen comedy, and Smith’s latest work, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” shares some themes and actors with Apatow’s own filmography.
A side-by-side comparison gives us some surprising results. (Carlo Allegri / Associated Press)
Smith was first.
Before Judd Apatow took Seth Rogen from ensemble TV player to box office star and then on to cameo-worthy status, Kevin Smith had already run his good buddy Ben Affleck through the gambit. The unknown Affleck, right, seen here with Matt Damon, had a minor role in Smith’s 1995 comedy “Mallrats” and followed it up with a starring role in his next movie, “Chasing Amy.” Then, thanks to another movie called “Good Will Hunting,” Affleck achieved the star power to be a bona fide cameo-worthy star. His appearance as himself in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” and his cameo in “Clerks II” were years ahead of Seth Rogen’s post-"Knocked Up” appearances in further Apatow productions. (Mitsu Yasukawa / For The Times)
Apatow was first.
True, the producers of “The Office” discovered the skills of the actor and stand-up comedian first, but it was Apatow who brought him up to the big screen for his bit part as a tortured nightclub door man in “Knocked Up.” Smith quickly picked up on his abilities and cast him as