About The Production
Once upon a time, in the late 20th
century, existence was almost snuffed out without a trace. This is the premise
of Kevin Smith's comic fantasia DOGMA, which unfolds the fiercely funny
adventures of a group of mortal humans and surreal supernatural beings as they
make a pilgrimage to New Jersey to stop the accidental apocalypse any which way
Smith has previously written and
directed three movies that took on such earthly subjects as the lives of retail
employees ("Clerks"), the Mall Generation ("Mallrats") and
unrequited love ("Chasing Amy"). With DOGMA, he takes his storytelling
style to a new domain: a fantastical milieu, a sort of cosmological yet comical
Oz, in which human beings meet up with a coterie of colorful characters from the
celestial world - and get a first-hand glimpse of their lives, duties and temper
tantrums. Here, Smith's trademark verbal roller-coaster collides with
otherworldly adventure and special effects.
Smith wrote DOGMA around the same time
of his first feature film, "Clerks," when a personal moment of doubt
led to a monumental comedy about heaven and earth and the funny things that
happen in the space between the two. Smith fashioned a phantasmagorical world
populated by ether-dwelling angels and steaming, stenching demons who spring
literally from the bowels of the earth -- a cartoon-like world where he could
chat playfully about some of the issues on his mind. "It started with me
asking some questions about my own faith but the flick doesn't attempt to hold
out answers to any of those questions," says Smith. "It's meant to
make you laugh."
He continues: "Predominantly, what
I've always done is relationship movies and this is a farce and a fantasy about
the relationship with God. But no one can mistake it for any sort of tome or a
text. The absurdity of the characters sticks a pin into any potential
didacticism. All along, I've thought how seriously can you take a movie that has
a rubber poop monster in it?"
Smith waited to make DOGMA because he
didn't feel quite ready to take on the more ambitious filmmaking requirements of
a pure fantasy replete with winged flights of fancy. "Personally, I don't
think I was mature enough to take it on until now, " says Smith. "Not
that the subject matter is so mature - because it's really a flick that's as
goofy as it is thoughtful - but I think taking it on earlier would have led to a
far more adolescent film. I'm pretty much the least visual director around so
making such a visual film was a stretch and I wanted this world to really
When Smith's producing partner Scott
Mosier read DOGMA, the wild world Smith had forged came immediately to life in
his head. "This was a script that really did something different and
new," says Mosier. "It was peppered with so much fun and so many
different questions. But it also had all those elements that make Kevin's movies
At first Mosier attempted to define the
movie, but eventually he gave up. "This movie is completely uncategorizable,"
he admits. "It has it's own tempo, it's own groove that's very different
from anything else. Every time you think it's one thing - a fantasy, a comic
journey, an inquiry into faith -- it switches to another mood. The only thing
you can do is let go and allow it to happen to you. If you try to say it's one
thing or another, you're fighting the nature of the film."
Mosier was particularly drawn to
Smith's depiction of heavenly creatures as complex, emot
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