Kevin Smith has been talking up a “Clerk III” for nearly a decade. Finally, a sequel to his 1994 indie-defining cult classic and the 2006 (far less indie-defining) “Clerks II” is becoming a reality. Lionsgate has acquired worldwide rights to Smith’s third outing in the series, which is now in pre-production in New Jersey and is set to start shooting next month on location.
Smith wrote the screenplay and will direct the film, with all major actors reprising their original roles, including Jeff Anderson as Randal, Brian O’Halloran as Dante, Jay Mewes as Jay, Smith as Silent Bob, and Rosario Dawson as Becky. The film is set to be produced by Liz Destro and Jordan Monsanto.
The plot centers around Randal who, after suffering a massive heart attack, enlists the help of Dante, Elisa, Jay, and Silent Bob to make a movie about his life, set at the original convenience store that started it all in the first film.
“In the story this time, I give Randal the heart attack that almost killed me,” Smith said on Instagram, referring to his own health crisis that inspired the movie. “But rather than succumb to the reality of middle age, Randal rages against the dying light by telling the story of his life in an indie film he shoots with his fellow clerks at Quick Stop! 27 years ago, I made a movie about Dante and Randal that made my dreams come true and changed my life — so now I get to return the favor!”
“Clerks III” was close to going into production in 2017 until Anderson pulled out of the project, as Smith explained to IndieWire.
“Jeff was like, look, we’re not making any money to do this,” Smith said. “He was like, ‘I made two ‘Clerks’ movies and made a total of like $230,000 over the course of my entire life. I can’t do this one time for the hope it’ll work out.” Smith was furious. “I took that personally,” he said. “We were hiring a lot of crew in Philly. We were so close to shooting.” The two finally made amends in 2019 at a “Clerks” anniversary event.
A slacker buddy comedy shot in black and white and set in a video store, “Clerks” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994 to acclaim before attaining cult status. “Clerks” introduces many of the recurring characters in the Smith oeuvre, such as Jay and Silent Bob, who went on to appear in the follow-ups “Mallrats” (1995), “Chasing Amy” (1997), “Dogma” (1999), and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” (2001), all of which take place in the same story world as “Clerks.”
Most recently, Smith created the “Masters of the Universe: Revelation” animated series, debuting on Netflix July 23.
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