Jeff Anderson talks Kevin Smith, ĎZack and Miri Make a Porno,í and Deaconís big scene

Lifelong friends and roommates Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are facing hard times and a mountain of debt. When the electricity and plumbing get cut off, they seize upon the idea of making a homegrown porno movie for some quick cash, enlisting the help of their friends.

The two vow that having sex will not ruin their friendship. But as filming begins, what started out as a business proposition between friends turns into something much more.

ďZack and Miri Make a PornoĒ marks the return of writer/director Kevin Smith to the often scatological comedic realm that he has become famous for. For Smith, the display of crude humor with a heart is a trademark.

© Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos

© Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos

ďZack and Miri Make a PornoĒ is available in stores now on DVD and Blu Ray disc.

Jeff Anderson, a Kevin Smith alum since the beginning of his career, fills the role of Deacon in the film. He has previously appeared in Smithís movies as the wise-cracking Randall. Anderson took a few minutes to share some experiences on set, including a detailed account of the first testing of the ďShit Cannon.Ē

M&C: First of all, is this the first movie youíve been in that didnít have the standard Kevin Smith cast?

Anderson: Yeah, I mean I did a cameo in Dogma but thatís not really fair because I was only there for one day, so I guess yeah this would be sort of the first time I was in a movie with Kevin where it wasnít sort of the same players.

M&C: Yeah, was it weird for you at all?

Anderson: You know, it is and it isnít. Itís sort of misleading to say that it wasnít with the same people because behind the scenes it was a lot of the same people. Dave Klein, the same cinematographer, and the camera operator, and the sounds people, all that was kind of the same people we used in Clerks II.

So it didnít feel all that weird, you know, being there, being on the set with Kevin, because it was sort of just like shooting Clerks II with bringing in extra people.

Me, Seth, and Craig and all that. It makes for a friendly sort of set when you bring in those new people they assimilate to it really well.

M&C: Man, I got to ask this as the second question, you probably know what Iím going to askÖ

Anderson: I have a feeling I know where this is going, go!

M&C: Is it somewhere in Kevinís contracts for Kevinís movies were it says you must be ok with getting shit on? Is that a clause?

Anderson: I believe that is somewhere in there, yes.

M&C: But did you read it carefully and you missed it, or you were fine with it?

Anderson: You know itís kind of funny, I was reading the script, and I was surprised first of all that Kevin asked me to do the movie and then when he sent it over to me I read through it and I was like alright well Iím this character whoís sort of moves around a lot but doesnít have a lot to do with anything so itís going to be easy for me to do, and then when I got to the shit scene I was like, Ďoh cool!í you know, here I am, I get to do something!

M&C: This is your big moment.

Anderson: Yeah, exactly. I get to do something! And then I didnít think about it for a while and it wasnít till we got to set, as soon as I came on set and was sort of meeting people, it was sort of the first thing everybody wanted to talk about. And I was like you know it was funny, I sort of didnít pay it all that much of attention, maybe I should have because everybody seems really interested in this scene and as we were going through like shooting and stuff it was literally like one of the scenes that we shot of the movie I guess they didnít want me leaving but as we were getting though it.

It kept being talked about. It first started there were people working on the shit behind the scenes and I was in my hotel one day early in the morning the phone rings and this guy introduces himself on the phone to me and he identifies himself as a scientist whoís working on the shit and he wants to know if I have any food allergies.

That was sort of the first time I thought about the logistics of it, WOW here we are shooting and making a movie and somewhere in this lab this white coated scientist is creating shit, wow theyíre really putting effort into this itís really going to happen, and he was like weíre creating this stuff and I just want to make sure youíre not allergic to any of it, obviously itís going to go all over you, that was sort of the first realization I had, like ďWow, I still have to film that.Ē

M&C: And then when you got in and started filming everything was fine?

Anderson: Yeah I mean, working up to it was like it started out, you know I came to the set one day and there was a noticeable buzz around the set and everyone was like Oh my god they tested the shit cannon last night.  And I was like, ĎThe shit cannon?!í and they were like yeah we did a test and I was like, ĎWhat is the shit cannon?!í and they sort of didnít want to talk about it.

I donít know if Kevin purposely kept that away from me to just sort of keep my mind off it, but I was fascinated by the idea of the shit cannon and the only feedback that I got was that they fired way too much out of the cannon, Katieís way too small of a girl, so they had to take it down a little bit.

M&C: yeah

Anderson: But just before we filmed it, I think it was the busiest day on the set. Sethís girlfriend was there, people that had their girlfriends and spouses in Pittsburg the whole time never really came on the set but that day everyoneís significant other was there. 

Just as they were set it up they took me out side and said ďDo you want to see a test of the shit cannon? Weíre going to test it before we film. You know my curiosity was peaked and I was like, ĎYeah, letís go see this!í and they used out AD.

He volunteered to have it fired at him, and it was sort of this big long tube of PVC with valves that hooked to this giant tank and it was really kind of funny. And they fired this thing at this guy and I was like, ĎOh my God!í I donít know what I thought was going to happen or how it was going to go, but I just didnít pay that much attention to it.

But to actually watch it go, the only thing I could think was, now that Iíve seen how it works Iím not supposed to know itís going to happen so I have to sort of try and keep my eyes open and thatís the thing that was scaring me, I do not want to ruin a take by actually closing my eyes before it actually hits me.

M&C: Yeah you had your eyes, you had your mouth open, and you got a face full that was really messed up.

Anderson: Yeah it was kind of fucked up. To Kevinís credit and to the crewís credit, Iím glad it happened in one take, yeah, it wasnít one of these things that went on and on.

M&C: Growing up on the north are you into hockey? I know you were introduced in the movie playing hockey and in Clerks you played hockey on the roof, Are you big into that in reality?

Anderson: Not really big into hockey, no.  Iím more of a basketball guy myself. Growing up I know my family had season tickets to the Devils, when the Devils first came to New Jersey, I remember going to the hockey games but for me it was more about the fights than anything else.

M&C: But you do know how to skate though?

Anderson: I do not know how to skate, which is always an issue, every one of Kevinís movies Iím like ďDamn, hockey again?Ē  I should just learn how to skate but thatís not bad because Seth is from Canada and Seth couldnít skate.

M&C: oh, yeah

Anderson: So I didnít feel too bad about it, Kevin I guess always makes me the goalie so I donít have a lot of skating to do I just have to plant myself there.

M&C: Zach and Miri to me kind of seems like Jersey Girl as far as itís a little bit different than Kevinís other movies and that itís kind of bigger scale, broader story. Do you guys still feel like youíre dicking around, like friends dicking around or itís evolved out of that?

Anderson: You know, it always still feels like that to me like I didnít work on Jersey Girl and Iíd imagine that had a little different feel to it and even this one kind of did, but like I said using the same crew that we used in Clerks II and when you come to the set you sort of see the same faces so it always feels like youíre dicking around. Just in the parking lot the trailers have gotten bigger.

M&C: Sure.

Anderson: Thatís always the biggest thing, itís always amazing to me the amount of trailers and the amount of trucks and everything else, but doing this, Zach and Miri, like the actual movie and those guys making the porno has a lot of the elements that we did on the actual Clerks like the hockey stick as a boom thatís what we really did for Clerks.

So it was kind of weird being here, yes the scale was bigger, but when youíre on set itís almost like being on set of Clerks. So even though the scale grows and you walk around and you see the trucks, youíre staying at nice hotels, when you get to set it always feels like youíre going back to the same set. So yes it feels bigger but no it doesnít, if thatís an answer.

M&C: yeah, yeah thatís definitely an answer, I havenít gone to the north, like Iíve never gone to Pittsburg  before so I didnít realize so much was on location, Was it cool for you guys to be on location or did that cause any problems?

Anderson: Itís always fun to be on location because you get a little break from the reality of your life and you hang out at the hotel youíre eating good meals and everything else so itís always fun to be on location, but Pittsburg was a little challenging.

The weather there because the film was supposed to take place in the winter and you know it would snow there and that would sort of screw up the schedule because they needed snow for certain scenes so it got a little tricky you get phone calls, like many times I would have the day off and at six in the morning the phone would ring, just because it would either snow overnight or it wouldnít snow overnight it was a little challenging just with the schedule wise.

M&C: Did you and Kevin ever talk about having any similarities between Deacon and Randall? Itís you obviously, so itís going to be a little similar to Randall, but you probably donít want to be that character all the time.

Anderson: Yeah, actually I got into that with Kevin he gave me the script and obviously I read the script you know my first scene, Iím a goalie, yelling at the referee, you know thatís me, thatís my voice I canít make it be any different.

And before we started shooting, Kevin had Seth over in his office and invited me over to his office and wanted to just sit and read with Seth. And that was the first scene that came up and we were just sitting in his office and Iím screaming at it and then after the scene I was like, ĎKev this just feels weird to me are you sure you want me in this movie? People are going to be, dude thatís the guy from Clerks!í And Kevin was like; itís more likely that theyíre going to say thatís the guy from any one of Sethís movies. 

Iím like, ďI know, but this voice sounds the same.Ē It was something I had trouble with; you canít change your inflection. It didnít read similar to me and Kevin said, ďDude, thatís what you do. We canít help it youíre going to be like that guy no matter what soÖĒ

Jeff Anderson as Randal in Clerks II

Jeff Anderson as Randal in Clerks II

M&C: What do you have going on next?

Anderson: You know, I donít know. Iím sort of in this weird place where I donít have an agent I donít have anything, I donít pursue acting, I have been offered from time to time a bunch of things I usually turn it down but there is a film in May/June that Iím debating doing but I havenít come to a decision yet.

M&C: Alright, well good deal.

Anderson: Oh well thank you.

M&C: Have a good day!

Anderson: Thanks.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno is now available at Amazon. It is available for pre-order at AmazonUK for a March 23rd release. Visit the DVD database for more information.

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