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A Tribute to Kevin Smith

Curated by the NZ On Screen team
16th March 2009

 A Tribute to Kevin Smith

A Tribute to Kevin Smith

 NZ On Screen team

Curated by the NZ On Screen team



Kevin Smith was an actor who could do it all; from brooding like Brando in a Tennessee Williams play, through the swords and sandals of Xena, to the gentle, romantic lead of Double Booking, and self-parody in Love Mussel. The pieces collected here represent snippets of a career cruelly cut short (he died in a film-set accident in 2002). Writer James Griffin pays tribute. 


The Kevin Smith Collection

 Kevin Smith

Whether playing footy, kissing blokes, busting crims or making lovers swoon, Kevin Smith, “came at things with such vigour that it was impossible not to go with him wherever he had decided to take you. He ate life, and loved the taste.” (Michael Hurst) Read more.

 Desperate Remedies

Smith's first feature role saw him cast as a "decent but dangerous" settler in this colonial glamo-drama. Australian reviewer Peter Kemp called Smith "a hulking tumescent mass of smouldering lips, piercing eyes and sweaty pectorals".

 Love Mussel

Smith's final noteworthy Kiwi screen role was in this made-for-TV satire. Love Mussel is a mockumentary about a fictional town that erects a monument to an aphrodisiac shellfish. Smith parodies his hunk reputation and falls for Prime Minister Jenny Shipley.


Lawless was the biggest role of Smith's screen career. After years of playing bad guy, sidekick, or romantic interest in female-led features, Smith finally got top billing, as an undercover cop turned bouncer, turned private investigator, John Lawless.

 Lawless: Dead Evidence

The second Lawless sees boozing bouncer John Lawless engaged by former crime-solving partner Jodie Keen (Angela Dotchin) to investigate the case of an jailed American (C. Thomas Howell). There’s a hitchhiker killer, and a creepy finale with Jodie as human bait.

 Lawless: Beyond Justice

In the last of the Lawless trilogy private investigators John Lawless and Jodie Keane seek the truth behind an apparent suicide on behalf of the deceased's mystery American wife. The trial leads to romance, intrigue, and a shady nightclub operator (Frankie Stevens).


Jubilee, a warm comedy about small-town NZ life, sees the actor with “biceps that looked like two VW Beetles looking for somewhere to park” playing ex-All Black Max Seddon. The former Nelson Bays Colts representative was anxious not to play the role "like a meathead."

 Mon Desir

Beneath her twinset, repressed housewife Gwyneth is close to the edge: of attacking the dishwasher, and giving in to lust (thanks to her hunky jogging neighbour, played by ... Kevin Smith). Based on a Fiona Farrell story, Nicky Marshall’s short was chosen for Cannes 'Un Certain Regard' section.

 Double Booking

A comedy about a bloke, Brett (Smith), reluctantly celebrating his stag night, and Jane (Theresa Healey) who is unhappy at her hen’s party. When a double booking occurs at Ocean Moon restaurant Brett and Jane are star-struck; weddings are threatened and much ado occurs.

 Marlin Bay - Series Three, Episode 11

Smith won Best Supporting Actor at the 1995 New Zealand Film and Television Awards for his work as a scheming businessman Paul Cosic. Early nineties primetime drama series Marlin Bay followed the coming and goings of a far north luxury resort and casino.

 Channelling Baby

Smith played a troubled Vietnam vet caught up in tragedy, seances, and romance, alongside actor Danielle Cormack. Sunday Star Times reviewer Michael Lamb praised Cormack and Smith's feature film chemistry; later reignited in theatre play The Blue Room.

 Mountain Dew on the Edge - Series Three, Episode Four

Lana Coc-Kroft and her all female Extreme Team swing, fall and paddle their way through this episode from their primetime TV series. Smith makes an enthusiastic guest appearance alongside presenter Jayne Mitchell, as they check out bridge swinging near Masterton.

 City Life - Episode One

City Life followed a group of Gen-Xers on the emotional merry-go-round of urban living. Playing the owner of the apartment building in which the series was centered, Smith's character shared a brief, but notorious, screen kiss with one of the series' male characters.

 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? - Kevin Smith episode

The flat of twenty-somethings had better polish silverware because this week’s mystery dinner guest turns out to be ‘New Zealand’s sexiest man’ (repeatedly voted by TV Guide readers). When Smith appears, the female flatmates accordingly applaud and shriek.

 Gloss - Kevin Smith's TV debut

In Smith’s first sizable screen role, he played a swank schemer - Damien Vermeer - with rich brat Chelsea Redfern (Lisa Chappell) in his sights. Kerry Smith recalled, "here he was - this tall, extremely good looking guy who almost took your breath away - so shy and oblivious of his charm." 

Kevin remembered by his mates

Kevin remembered by his mates

Actor and director Michael Hurst reminisces: “He was the lead, the black guy, the big Shakespearean f*cker who murders his wife.” Read More ...

Kevin remembered by his mates

Actor Geoffrey Dolan remembers his best mate Kev. “I still miss him greatly and visit him regularly to talk with him and have a beer.” Read More ...

Kevin remembered by his mates

“Goodnight sweet prince.” An obituary from actor and theatre director Simon Prast, published in The Listener at the time of Kevin’s death. Read More ...

Special thanks to:

NZ On Screen would like to thank Kevin's family, the Robert Bruce Agency, TVNZ, NZ Film Commission, South Pacific Pictures, and the many producers and colleagues who helped with the compilation of the Kevin Smith Tribute. This collection of work celebrates the talent of an actor we lost too soon and sorely miss.