He’s best known as “Bubbles” from the hit cult TV series, Trailer Park Boys. But now, actor Mike Smith is dumping his trademark Coke-bottle eyeglasses to play himself in the new flick, Swearnet, which chronicles his adventures with cohorts-in-crime Robb Wells and JP Tremblay – aka Ricky and Julian of the Trailer Park Boys – as they launch a profanity-riddled internet channel. When Smith isn’t on set performing his wild antics, he’s on the road driving a car that is anything but trailer trash. It’s an Italian exotic: a 2007 Maserati Quattroporte.
PG: You don’t strike me as a Maserati guy – why did you buy a Quattroporte?
MS: I wanted one for a long time. The first time we ever went to LA in 2000 I saw one and I liked it right away. I like having a four-door sedan. That's the coolest one you can get in a four door. It handles like a smaller car. It’s fast and I love the sound of Maseratis.
PG: One of the most iconic Detroit cars on Trailer Park Boys was the “ShitMobile” – a 1975 Chrysler New Yorker, right?
MS: Yup. Big. Heavy. Powerful car. That was in mint condition when we first started and we had to break the car down. It took a long time to do with axes and sledgehammers. It was hard to dent it. There's so much iron in the thing.
The actual ShitMobile is so banged up, but it'll still do a brake stand to this day. You can't kill the engine in that car. It always fires up every time someone turns the car on. The thing is still working.
PG: What's your best driving story as Bubbles?
MS: I think it was in Season 2. I drove the ShitMobile and I can't see anything out of my glasses. We didn't have any safety people on set back then at all. I'd have a walkie-talkie sitting on the seat. If I was going to crash into something they'd yell, STOP! STOP! STOP!
There were a lot of mishaps with the cars on Trailer Park – they were constantly breaking down. I was driving a go-kart with my glasses on and I can't see anything. The brakes went on the go-kart and I crashed through a fence and into a tree! It made it into Season 5 – that was not planned. I totally crashed through that fence!
Once I was late and we were shooting Trailer Park Boys, the movie, in Truro years ago and I slept in. I was probably drunk the night before. I was late and I was speeding. A cop pulled me over and he was pretty mad because I was going about 180 [km/h]. Then, he figured out I was Bubbles. I told him I was late so he said there was only one other guy on the road today so he radioed ahead and told him I was going to be coming through and to leave me alone. I was given permission to go top speed! I drove 240 [km/h] to Truro in my Lincoln LS. I went blasting by the cops at 240 and gave him a wave! That was pretty cool.
PG: Why did you chose a ’53 Ford Econoline to transform into your official news van in Swearnet?
MS: It's a pretty cool van. We wanted something old, cool, and quirky looking. It was a good price. It’s not a very safe vehicle. It’s like you're in a pop can. But it’s a cool thing. It’s a three-in-the-tree shifter.
PG: Did you know how to drive a three-in-the-tree or was it trial and error?
MS: I had never driven a three-on-the-tree before that movie. They just brought it to set and I had to get used to it. It’s easy to drive, but it’s a little bit weird at first.
Hometown: Thorburn, Nova Scotia
My Car: 2007 Maserati Quattroporte
• Worked as a sound mixer on the 1999 Trailer Park Boys movie before playing Bubbles in the series, which debuted on April 22, 2001
• Worked as a sound mixer in the Hollywood films The Weight of Water with Sean Penn and Elizabeth Hurley, and Serendipity with John Cusack
• Appeared in several Trailer Park Boys films including The Big Dirty, Don’t Legalize It and Countdown to Liquor Day
• Was a guitarist in the band Sandbox, which was nominated for a Juno Award and East Coast Music Award
• Holds an English Degree from St. Francis Xavier University
• Swearnet, the movie is currently playing in theatres across Canada
• Created Swearnet.com, an uncensored internet channel
• Seasons 8 and 9 of Trailer Park Boys premiers on Netflix on September 5, 2014
PG: Where does your love of cars come from?
MS: My dad. He was a bit of a mechanical genius. I grew up always helping him when he'd be working on cars in the driveway.
I bought a 1970 Datsun 240Z – my dad built one from scratch when I was a kid. I bought one that was burned actually. The frame was perfect, but the car was burned so we bought 3 or 4 of them and built one from scratch out of those. It was a nostalgic thing. I hadn't laid eyes on one for 20 years and then I found one and just bought it. I only paid seven grand for it. It was from California.
PG: What was your first car?
MS: The first car I ever had was an '88 Chrysler LeBaron that I bought off my brother. It’s actually in Season 1 or 2 of Trailer Park Boys – it was Cory and Trevor's car.”
PG: What else have you owned?
MS: I had some awful vehicles. I had a '95 Chevy Lumina van because I used to do sound so I needed something I could haul sound gear in. That was a horrible car. I actually had an accident in it. Some woman spun out in front of me and I hit her side on. I bent the steering wheel right in half with my hands. It was really cool.
PG: What do you prefer – a modern car or a vintage car?
MS: It depends on the day and the car. I really want a '63 or '64 Jaguar XKE – I love those cars. But I do love modern cars. I'd love to have something real badass... A new Ferrari 458 Spider – that car is just terrifyingly powerful.