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Smith on Clerks II

Published July 19, 2006 in Movie Interviews
By Ryan Parsons | Image property of The Weinstein Company.
Clerks 2 Poster Clerks II
Every Kevin Smith movie is a family affair. He has all his friends do cameos, if not lead roles, and even puts his wife and daughter in the film. Originally, he posted on his message board that Clerks II would not include the cameos he was famous for, but even he couldn’t resist.

The Clerks II Family

“It was just something that kind of organically grew,” Smith said. “I knew that I didn't want it to be like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back where it felt like you were Adam West and Burt Ward going up the side of the building and it was like, 'Hey, it's Sammy Davis Jr.' That being said, the movie had some roles that were quick parts and it's like you can cast complete unknowns or you could cast some cats that you know.”

Ben Affleck and Jason Lee were obvious choices, having been with Smith since Mallrats. “We came close with Affleck. I called him up and asked him if he wanted to do it and he was like, 'You know what, dude, I'm trying to lay low right now. It hasn't been a good two years. I don't know if I want to be in a movie right now.’ I said, 'I get it. I totally understand. It's just weird that this will be the first movie in ten years that I've made that you're not involved with in some way.' He was like, 'Well, that is weird. Maybe I should do it.' He said, 'Alright. I'm going to come down, but I just want to be a guy in the restaurant eating. I want no lines, the camera can go past me. I should be there, but I don't want to say anything.' I said, 'You're telling me that you're going to come to the set of my movie and you don't want any dialogue.' He said, 'I'm telling you, dude, just put me on camera with a reaction shot or something, whatever, but I don't want to do dialogue.' I said, 'That's fine, but you know when you get here you're going to want to do dialogue.' 'No. I promise. Nothing.'”

Sure enough, after shooting two silent reaction shots, Affleck got restless. “He rushes over to the monitor and he said, 'I just feel like I should say something.' 'Alright, dude. Here's a line.' So that was just kind of like me needing someone in that shot and it might as well be Affleck wearing his cum catcher mustache that he had on. And Jason Lee, we got lucky because Jason was able to make time in his very busy Earl schedule for that scene and that was something that originally Matt [Damon] was going to do, but then Matt was off shooting a Robert DeNiro movie and so Jason stepped in and thankfully pulled it off.”

The original clerks, Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson, also needed some coaxing to return. “I needed to tell them before I even started writing it because it was a fifty/fifty proposition. I knew that Brian would kind of be onboard, but Jeff has kind of gone through, after twelve years I think that he finally had gotten used to the fact or settled with or come to peace with the fact that he is Randall. Jeff is not a dude who's like, 'I want to be an actor.' He was a dude that I knew in high school. Suddenly he's in this movie and the movie had a modicum of success, but for the next few years people were like, 'Dude, you were in Clerks, man. How come you don't act in movies?' The first year I guess it's easy for you to be like, 'Ah, that's just something that I did. It was fun to do, but I'm not really into acting.' After ten years of that question it's just like, 'F*ck Randall Graves! That's the worst thing that has ever happened to me!' So he had kind of got used to the idea, he had come to peace with being Randall.”

Still, Anderson had concerns simply as a friend of Smith’s. “All of a sudden I'm like, 'Dude, I want to do Clerks II.' He was like, 'You're out of your f*cking mind. Why would you want to do that?' He was the lone hold out and so I did want to talk to him before I started writing because if he was like, 'Never, never, never.' there wouldn't have been any point in writing it. So we went through it and he was like, 'People seemed to like that movie for whatever reason, but why would you want to f*ck with that? What if the movie sucks and then people retroactively go back and hate the original one?' I said, 'Well, let me write it first and base it on that. Read it and if you don't like it, if you really hate it we won't do it and I won't bring it up ever again.' So I wrote the script and I gave it to him and I waited for him to call me and he made me wait like a day. I was like, 'Oh, sh*t. This isn't good.' He called and I asked what he thought and he said, 'I have to tell you, man, I think it's funny. It's way funnier than I thought it was going to be. I thought that you were going to retell the old jokes.' I was like, 'Where's the vote of confidence, Jeff?' He said, 'But the nice thing is that there is some touching stuff in it. It's kind of heart warming in a weird way. I don't know what you're thinking of with that jail scene though. I can't act.' I was like, 'Dude, I think that you can do it. I think that you can really pull that off.'”

Smith casts his daughter as a preventative psychological vaccine. “She was in Jersey Girl and I tell her she's the reason that Jersey Girl flopped. I have to blame someone. I figure she's going to be on a therapists couch years from now anyway going, 'Silent Bob was my dad.' Then I put her in this and really I do it because it's nice to kind of chart the growth of the kid on camera and it's cheaper than taking her to a Sears portrait sitting.”

With Harley Quinn in the movie, Jennifer Schwalbach was a no brainer. “This is the line that got me so laid. I put the wife in the flick and someone launched at me online. 'I don't know he keeps casting his wife in the movie even though she's not an actress.' I was like, 'Well, first off, Brian and Jeff weren't necessarily actors either when I cast them. Jeff particularly. Brian was doing local theater. Jason Mewes wasn't an actor when I put him in the movie. So I've been known to do that. Plus, I put all of my friends in the movie. Why would I put my best friend?' She read that online and I got the biggest, sloppiest f*cking blow job that you've ever seen in your life. It was hot. It was hot.”

Clerks II opens to theatres on July 21st.

For the trailers, movie stills, early reviews, more interviews, synopsis and more movie info, go to the Clerks II Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Image property of The Weinstein Company.

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