The Production Story Thus Far...
Filmmaker Kevin Smith has an incredibly loyal following of absolutely crazy hardcore fans. Yet outside of those View Askew chronics, I don't think enough people know that Kevin is indeed doing an official sequel to his 1994 breakout film Clerks. And while many consider the four films in the The View Askewniverse world to be sequels to "Clerks," and it's true that those movies interlocked with recurring characters, locations, and themes as well as the numerous references to each other (aka the mentions of Julie Dwyer dying in the YMCA pool and even the non-Askewniverse flick Jersey Girl which had a couple references) this is the first real "sequel" made to any of the films.
Well yes, originally the fifth View Askewniverse film was supposed to be based on a script Kevin wrote called "Clerks 2: Hardly Clerkin'" (see the end credits of Dogma for confirmation of that fact) that idea died yet helped inspire the premise for the final flick in the series, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Although Kevin and the rest of the world was pretty positive we had seen the last of Jay & Silent Bob, they'll be back for "Clerks 2." Kevin was inspired to make the sequel after realizing how much he loved the characters in "Clerks" from putting together the 10th Anniversary Edition DVD of the original "Clerks" and having to follow through on a promise to Jason Mewes that if managed to stay off drugs he would make another Jay & Bob movie.
As for the film itself, Kevin has already released the following facts:
* The only returning characters are going to be Dante Hicks, Randal Graves, Jay and Silent Bob. Like the first "Clerks" Jay & Bob will definitely be secondary characters to Dante & Randal. While Kevin originally claimed it wouldn't be a "star studded affair," Rosario Dawson has been cast as the female lead of the film. Reprising their roles from the previous film are Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes and Smith himself. Other new cast members include Trevor Fehrman and Kevin's wife Jennifer Schwalbach. Kevin also had claimed this wouldn't be a "cameo-heavy" film, yet cameos that are already confirmed include Nathaniel Stroman (aka "Earthquake"), Wanda Skyes, Kevin Weisman as well as Smith regulars Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee, Walt Flanagan and Ben Affleck.
* While the film takes place ten years later after the first one, it will hardly refer to the first film.
* The film is being shot on a relatively small budget for Hollywood standards at $5 million dollars. It will be both in black & white and color.
* The announced title was first "The Passion of the Clerks," yet due not only to the South Park special "The Passion of the Jew" and the fact that...well...it's a lousy title, the title is now just "Clerks 2."
* Returning crew mates from the original film include longtime producer/editor and Willam the Idiot Manchild (aka "the snowball guy") Scott Mosier and original DP and the man who played five roles in the original film David Klein .
As for Kevin's input on the film, he called it "The funniest thing I've ever written." He also claimed the film wasn't a "grab at the green" stating that he wanted to do the movie to actually help "strip away the trappings of success we've been enjoying for the last few years, in an effort to get to the raw and pure." Also claiming that "None of us are making our usual salaries on this flick; we're all doing it favored-nations style, with deferments. If the flick does well, we'll get paid our full-freight on the back-end. If not, we did it for the love."
And immediately after announcing the film, in an effort to kill speculation that he was going back to the Jay & Bob flicks after his only non-Jay & Bob film was a rather mixed bag, Kevin claimed that "Jersey Girl" wasn't the reason he was doing the movie. He called it more of a reaction that he had not only been entrusted to write and direct (although he'll only be writing) a big-budget comic book adaptation of The Green Hornet, but also as a reaction to the trajectory his budgets have been taking lately.
He's also stated that he feels happy he didn't make the movie four years ago as he originally was supposed to and stated that at this point in his life making this movie "makes fucking sense."
Unfortunately due to the ongoing nagging between Miramax and Walt Disney, the films start date was delayed from January '05 to April '05. As of October 2005, they are shooting in Los Angeles and shooting for a February/March 2006 release.
Most recently, Kevin revealed a photo which he describes as a "massive spoiler." Said photo shows the main cast of the film working not at the famed Quick Stop store, but instead at a Mooby's fast food resturant. The same chain featured in Smith's other films Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. When asked if Quick Stop was still in the movie, Smith answered "Of course." While many are treating this as a big spoiler, it's probably something the world would've known by the time the first trailer for the film was released.
Me? I can't wait to spend even more time with Dante & Randal at that now famous block of stores in Leonardo...even if they aren't there the whole flick...
Tentative release date is August 2006.