Lest anyone think Kevin Smith is just about comic books and sci-fi movies, Clerks II addresses real social issues. Turns out Randall may be an ignorant racist. Of course, he’s not aware that he’s saying horrible things. He’s shocked to find out that “porch monkey” is actual a racist term and decides to try to reclaim the slur from the annals of social vocabulary.
Racism in Clerks II
That didn’t make it any easier for Jeff Anderson to perform the scene. “The weird thing, it’s like you’re going through the script and you’re reading the script, and you’re trying to memorize your dialogue,” said Anderson. “It’s like when you’re in the moment you have to get into that scene, your brain is telling you the whole time, ‘No, no, no, no, you don’t say this,’ but it is what it is.”
With comedians Wanda Sykes and Earthquake in the “porch monkey” scene, everyone understood the satirical point of the conversation. “It was so over the top and its still based in reality,” said Rosario Dawson. “This is completely wrong and what are you thinking. What the hell was wrong with you? And then the other side of, ‘Oh, I can kind of see it from his side.’ It was actually really fascinating, the whole argument. [Smith] brings up really taboo subjects. He brings up sexuality. He brings up religion. He brings up racism. He brings up a lot of things most people would never touch in a movie let alone all of them at the same time. And it does it in a way that’s really smart. He’s not particularly choosing a side, one way or another. It’s just sort of showing the ignorance that’s out there, the perspectives that are out there. It allows you to have a choice.”
Still, Anderson has met some fans at early screenings who may not have totally gotten the point of the scene. “That one’s beginning to worry me a little,” he said. “There have been a few screenings, and I’ve been asked to sign certain things and people are always like, ‘Can you write…’ I’m not real comfortable writing that stuff on there.”
To Dawson, it is important to put the concepts out there. “Between friends there are no untouchable subjects and you can go there. And I think people they are also going to be in that experience but I also think they are going to step back and go, ‘Whoa.’ And it’s better than never touching on those subjects at all and always being sweet and perfect all the time, pretending that everything will be perfect in the world. Because you know what? Racism does exist. Religious fanatics are out there. And people who are atheists, people who are really good people, all of the different sides of it. And there is definitely is something in there for everyone to get offended by. I also think there is something in there for everyone to be entertained by and moved by, because it is a smart film. He’s not just saying things just for the sake of being controversial. He is exposing how we talk to each other and the duplicity that is out there.”
Clerks II opens to theatres on July 21st.
For the trailers, movie stills, early reviews, synopsis and more movie info, go to the Clerks II Movie Page.
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