It was just a week ago that Kevin Smith confirmed Clerks 3 was officially happening and now he’s gifting us with even more information about the upcoming movie. It’s been a hot, hot minute since 2006, when we last saw our favorite, straight-outta-New-Jersey employees, Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) in Clerks II. Anderson and O’Halloran will be back for Clerks 3 in addition to Smith, who will return as Silent Bob, and Jason Mewes playing — who else? — Jay.
Clerks 3 will catch up with Dante and Randal now that they’re older but in doing so, Smith wants to actually bring some authenticity to their journey into middle age to ground the eventual hijinks they get into. While promoting his current film Jay and Silent Bob Reboot in an interview with The Wrap, Smith revealed that the Clerks 3 plot was largely inspired by his actual, life-changing heart attack back in February 2018.
Randal has a heart attack, decides that he came so close to death, and his life has meant nothing, there’s nobody to memoralize him, he has no family or anything like that,” Smith told The Wrap. “And in the recovery, while under fentanyl, he comes to the conclusion at mid-life, having almost died, having worked in a movie store his whole life and watched other people’s movies, he tells Dante, I think we need to make a movie. So Dante and Randal make ‘Clerks.’ That’s the story of Clerks 3.
Talk about a genius, meta move to bring the Clerks saga back to where it all began: a black-and-white movie about the shit-ass like of hard-working employees like Dante and Randal. What could be a better way to cap off a saga then taking the story in this direction? Answer: Nothing. Nothing could be better and that’s the point. As Smith put it:
“I’m going to bring my boys right back to where they brought me. I’m writing it, it writes itself because I fucking lived it 25 years ago. It’s just warm and fucking wonderful. They’re figuring it out the same way I figured it out, but I have the benefit of being able to cherry-pick all my favorite stories and moments of making ‘Clerks’ and putting it right back into their hands.”
Additionally, Smith opened up about just how much the script changed from its original form, where the director/writer/actor put much more of an emphasis on aging and dying, leading to a much more morose script as a result. The dark tone of the original script was apparently so pronounced during a recent live-reading it forced Smith to go back and overhaul.
That was a movie that was written by a guy who was obsessed with middle-aged and dying, and it was all about death. And that was before I almost died. Then I almost died, and now I don’t really want to talk about that shit. I’ve been too close. Now I just want to do life-affirming things. The tone is going to shift completely. I owe those guys, those characters, Dante and Randal, a lot more than the kind of doom and gloom I was about to put them through. I loved that script, and I loved reading it, but there wasn’t a dry eye in the house for the last 15 pages.
In his Instagram post confirming Clerks 3 was a go, Smith alluded to mending fences with Anderson, whose involvement in the third and final Clerks film was still unknown following a falling out between himself and Smith. But it wouldn’t be a Clerks film without Anderson, so it’s not only good to see he’s back but he’ll likely have even more of a lead role in the movie.
For more on what’s going on in the wild and wonderful world of Kevin Smith, check out Collider’s own John Rocha’s exclusive interview as he discusses Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which arrives in theaters October 15.