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Feature: Clerks II
The outspoken writer/director discusses anal surgery, pissing his wife off and why the time was right to revisit Clerks in... Clerks II
“I was on The Tonight Show last night and I talked about my anal surgery. You don't want to get me started on that, man. That was like a four-minute version of that story. Usually that story is about an hour long.”
A typically crude conversation opener by writer/director (and actor by default – “If you looked like me would you want to be on camera?”) Kevin Smith as he sits down to discuss his latest movie.
It was 12 years ago that a young New Jersey kid, with his eye on Hollywood and his feet behind the counter of a convenience store, made a movie that would redefine and reinvigorate the independent movie world. The movie was Clerks, and while the films he’s made since have intertwined and momentarily revisited that earlier success (both in critical and narrative terms), none have come as close as this, Clerks II.
“I wanted to tell a story about what it felt like to be in my thirties and I tried to do that with Jersey Girl and to some extent succeeded,” Smith begins to elaborate on the reasons behind the existence of his sequel. “But at the same time I look at that movie and I'm like, 'It’s kind of a manipulative movie’. It tends to be a little mawkish in places and whatnot, and I love that movie to death, but at the same time it is sort of a conventional mainstream affair. So I wanted to tell that story about what it felt like to be in my thirties and do it down and dirty and do it kind of closer to the edge of reality. So I was just like wanting to really put that up there on screen and so I was thinking about new characters and new situations and how I was going to get that thought across and then I was like, 'Well, wait a second. Clerks was a story about what I thought it was like to be in my twenties. I can use Dante and Randal again as my proxy, as my stand-ins, as a way into that story’. Suddenly it all just kind of clicked.”
In the years that followed Clerks’ success, the prospect of a sequel often arose, although generally it would culminate in other related projects, such as the short-lived (but excellent) animated series, the short skit that aired on The Tonight Show and the cameo in his last Askewniverse picture, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. But even after Smith had decided to revisit his Clerks characters, he still had a tough sell on his hands, not to producers (the Weinstein brothers – for them the prospect of a low-budget sequel would be a no-brainer) but to one of his stars.
by Judy Sloane / Grant Kempster
Read the full and outspoken interview in
Cleks II © The Weinstein Company
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