Over the course of a 22-year career, writer-director Kevin Smith has had all sorts of improbable showbiz adventures and worked with a number of A-list stars, including the notoriously difficult Bruce Willis. But there are few chapters in Smith’s life as curious as the one involving reclusive Minnesota funk genius Prince, who hired him to make a still-unreleased documentary back in 2002. Since the musician’s untimely death on April 21, fans have been sharing numerous anecdotes about the man’s eccentric, improbable life. Smith spends half an hour of his live concert film, An Evening With Kevin Smith, talking about his strange experiences with Prince, prompted by a question from an audience member. Smith never intended to make a movie with His Royal Badness. Originally, he just wanted to secure the rights to use “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back. That never happened, but Prince and Smith did have a long, involved phone conversation, during which the musician chastised the director for his use of profanity. Before Smith really knew what was happening, he had somehow agreed to travel to Paisley Park and spend a week, unpaid, making the aforementioned documentary.

To say the least, it was a disorienting time for the already-busy filmmaker. Prince, he learned, was deeply spiritual and “way into Jesus.” His latest album was full of religious overtones, but Prince apparently didn’t want to talk about that, which made things awkward when it came time for Smith to moderate a discussion about the record. Ultimately, along with scores of “fully-produced music videos” and other sundry projects, the documentary went into Prince’s legendary vault and has yet to see the light of day. Though Smith’s anecdote ends with the director grousing that Prince never said “thank you” or even played “Batdance” during the week, it’s clear that the experience meant a lot to him anyway. In fact, he devoted a recent episode of his podcast, Fatman On Batman, to celebrating Prince’s life and legacy. His discussion of Prince’s contribution to the Batman franchise begins, appropriately enough, with some kind words for “Batdance.”

[via Laughing Squid]

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