Posted at 4:41 PM on June 20, 2006
by Euan Kerr
In an age when every movie seems to have a sequel, a prequel, or sometimes both, it's refreshing to hear how much angst the idea of "Clerks II" caused Kevin Smith and his friends.
Smith is touring in support of the film, which pulls out all the stops in its attempt to top the outrageous antics of the original "Clerks." If you missed it somehow, it's the tale of two friends Dante and Randal, who work in a convenience store in New Jersey, bemoaning their dead-end jobs, while doing nothing to change their lots.
While Smith says the film was "insanely over-praised," it was a huge success. He says though, there was never a thought then that there would be a sequel. He was one of the people who thought there was real danger to trying to add to what was a good package, risking the possibility of spoiling the original with a poor follow-up.
Smith says he finally came around to thinking that just as "Clerks" had been a way for him to write about life as a twenty-something, "Clerks II" (originally "The Passion of the Clerks") would be a good way for him to write about life for people in their thirties. He had to convince Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson, who played Dante and Randal.
Anderson was a particularly hard sell, who Smith says wasn't entirely convinced until the shooting was underway. Anderson apparently almost drove past the set on the second day because he still had doubts. It was only after Smith had stayed up all night after the third day of shooting to edit together some scenes that Anderson saw the movie could actually be quite good, and he really came on board.
"Clerks II" is rated R, which Smith says surprised him. He thought they'd get a NC-17 because of the language and adult themes and then have to appeal. But the MPAA came straight out with the R without any argument.
Smith says he can't wait to see what reasons get listed in the ratings box.
"Clerks II" opens in late July. We'll air the interview with Smith and South St Paul's very own Trevor Fehrman, (who plays the poor Lord-of-the-Rings-and-Transformers-loving-Christian-fundamentalist Elias who works with Dante and Randal) closer to that time.