When Clerks was released back in 1994, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d ever get to this point. After all, the black-and-white film was made for $27,575 starring actors with no on camera experience. However, the film has gone onto become a cult hit, even spawning a sequel in 2006. (This time in color). Last month, Smith announced the third installment in the franchise, which they’re filming all this month. And Vanity Fair provided fans with their first look at the film.
“The film is predicated on the idea that Randal survives a heart attack, a massive heart attack, quite like I did, and then winds up, you know, deciding that he’s wasted his life,” Smith told Vanity Fair. “But before he dies he wants to memorialize himself. He wants to make a movie. So our boys essentially wind up making Clerks.”
The first look photo reveals just how life has changed for the characters of Dante and Randal (played by Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson). They’ve gone from spending their twenties at the Quick Stop, made a brief detour to the fast food joint Mooby’s – where they met the also pictured Becky and Elias (played by Rosario Dawson and Trevor Ferhman) – after Quick Stop burned down, before finding themselves as the owners of the Quick Stop at the end of Clerks II.
“In the last movie we gave them autonomy,” Smith says. “Like, ‘Hey, man, we can buy the store and shit.’ We gave them a way to live so they didn’t have to work for somebody else. And now this time we give them their hearts’ deepest desires. We take Randal, a motherfucker who wears cynicism on his sleeve, and we turn him into a dreamer.”
Despite his love for the 2006 sequel, he does have issues with certain aspects these days. “I love it so much, but the problem with Clerks II is it’s pure artifice to a large degree,” Smith continues. “Clerks was based solely on reality. I woke up, I went to that store; crazy people came in; kids hung out outside and sold drugs; I had a friend who worked next door. All of it was very autobiographical. Clerks II is completely fabricated, right down to the fact that I never even worked in fast food.” He assures fans that Clerks III will be a “bizarre return to form.”
Given Kevin Smith’s last film, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot – which was basically the plot of 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back rebooted for 2019 audiences -, he seems to be taking the characters he’s spent 27 years creating and just having meta-fun with them now. The results are about as inside baseball as you can get. Hell, Reboot even introduced Kevin Smith himself into the View Askew universe. But for fans of the world Smith created, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that.