Prepping the upcoming "Clerks: 10th Anniversary Edition" DVD got Kevin Smith wondering what the characters would be doing 10 years later.
And, well, since he created them, the director sat down at his computer, started writing and found out. Now he's bringing loveable slackers Dante and Randal back to the big screen in a sequel, "The Passion of the Clerks."
"We're going to shoot it in January, a low-budget affair," Smith said recently. "It feels good. It's real good, real down, dirty, funny, kinda sweet but really, really funny and biting. I hate to be so cliché and be like, 'It's a return to the roots,' but it does remind me of our earlier stuff."
Before he decided to make the movie, Smith consulted with Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson, the actors behind convenience store clerk Dante and video store clerk Randal. Both were hesitant, but after reading the script, they've signed on. Jason Mewes, who launched his stoner Jay character in the original, will also return, most likely with "hetero life-mate" Silent Bob (Smith's character), although, "It's too soon to commit to that kind of reappearance," Smith joked.
Smith plans to make the movie for between $250,000 and $5 million, a miniscule amount by Hollywood standards. He made the original for $27,000, shooting in a store he worked at during nights, with the actors working their real jobs during the day.
The director was in the middle of writing "The Green Hornet" when he decided to put it aside for "The Passion of the Clerks." He still plans to finish the "Hornet" script in the coming months, although he's not sure of his involvement beyond that (see " 'Fletch Won' Loses To 'Green Hornet' On Kevin Smith's To-Do List").
"I'm not sure if I'm still going to direct it, 'cause it's a little too big and intimidating," he said. "As soon as I finish the script I may decide to stay on as director or else I may turn it over to someone else."
In the meantime, Smith is days away from opening Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash West, a Los Angeles companion to his New Jersey comic book store. The Stash's grand opening on Tuesday will also serve as the official release party and autograph signing for the special-edition "Clerks" DVD.
"It's really nice that the movie still has legs, 'cause I never thought about longevity when we made it," Smith said. "It feels like we may have made something that wasn't just a relic of a bygone slacker in the grunge era. Maybe it will still hold up even though flannel's gone and Kurt's dead."
The DVD set features three discs loaded with special features. "There's two different versions of the movie, the theatrical cut and the very first cut of the movie, which looks like hell," Smith said. "There's a 90-minute documentary called 'The Snowball Effect,' which kind of tells the story of how 'Clerks' came to be and got picked up and stuff. The documentary's good enough to have just been put out by itself."
Also included is an animated look at what is known to fans as "the lost scene," voiced by O'Halloran, Anderson and Joey Lauren Adams. Written in the script but never shot, the seven-minute scene reveals what happened when Dante and Randal went into the funeral parlor for Julie Dwyer's funeral.
O'Halloran, Anderson and Marilyn Ghigliotti's audition tapes are featured as well, plus a new commentary track, the original trailer and the script.
Smith's "Jersey Girl" DVD is also due Tuesday. Among its features are interviews between Smith and Affleck, as well as two commentary tracks — one with Smith and Affleck, and the other with Smith, producer Scott Mosier and Mewes.
"We brought Mewes on to play the voice of the audience, essentially, 'cause he wasn't in the movie," Smith said. "It's ... just kind of free-associating and riffing and we go on at great lengths about Mewes' drug addiction problems at one point. The best line in the commentary is when Mewes was like, 'Normally I don't like sh-- like this; I really like movies where people get superpowers.' "
Five of Smith's "Roadside Attractions" segments from "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," including a "Jersey Girl" set visit, are also included on the DVD, although Smith still considers it incomplete.
"Hopefully this one sells well, because I would really like to, a few years down the road, release the longer cut of the movie, which we couldn't get out on time because [Miramax] wanted to rush it to the marketplace to try and capitalize on the theatrical window and make their money back," Smith said. "There's a lot more Jennifer [Lopez] stuff."
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