It's been a long time coming, but at last, Kevin Smith's Clerks III received a greenlight in July 2021 and cameras are now rolling.
The first image from the sequel reveals the returning cast in their customary position... propping up the counter.
The first look at ‘CLERKS III’ has been released.(Source: https://t.co/sOdRvesbO5) pic.twitter.com/hwLcMH7wekAugust 17, 2021
Smith discussed the sequel as part of Vanity Fair's exclusive first look at the movie, which features the return of Clerks stalwarts Brian O'Halloran as Dante and Jeff Anderson as Randal, who starred in the 1994 original and its sequel and Rosario Dawson's Becky and Trevor Fehrman's Elias, who debuted in 2006's Clerks II.
The first film is now 27 years old. Smith says he's made no deliberate effort to hide the aging cast (except for Dawson, who's got a Paul Rudd thing going on), because Clerks III for those who started the journey with Dante and Randal. “I know we’ve got fans who age with us… and it’s going to hit in a lot of personal places… All of us are in our late 40s, if not 50s… and you’ll see the progression. We don’t hide the age. We don’t Hollywood it up. We all look as old as we look."
As for the third chapter, Smith's own life – his heart attack which prompted the filmmaker to adopt new lifestyle changes – provided inspiration for the clerks, with the movie putting Randal at the center of the action.
“The film is predicated on the idea that Randal survives a heart attack, a massive heart attack, quite like I did, and then winds up, you know, deciding that he’s wasted his life. But before he dies he wants to memorialize himself. He wants to make a movie. So our boys essentially wind up making Clerks.”
This meta-touch is in keeping with Smith's style. Most of his movies tend to include pop culture banter to some degree. The original movie dabbles with a lengthy debate about Death Star construction, Mallrats boasts one of the earliest Stan Lee cameos, Chasing Amy's got a battle scar Jaws homage… the list goes on. But it sounds like Clerks III goes one step further, with the two leads making a movie about the events of the first film.
Like the original movie, Randal's film, Inconvenience, will be shot in black and white. This gives Smith the chance to refilm parts of Clerks decades later, something he's excited about, if purely for the subsequent fan mash-ups.
Smith promises Clerks III “is this bizarre return to form", not only because it's half filmed in color, half filmed in black-and-white, but because, after Clerks II's fast food departure, he's taking the characters back to the Quick Stop store. “These characters are so close to my heart, and finally letting them take the journey that they sent me on is a big deal for me. Without Dante and Randal, I’m not where I am.”
Of course, the big question is: will Smith's long-time friend Ben Affleck make a cameo?
Clerks III is currently shooting and as-yet has no release date. Until Smith's latest hits the big screen check out our rundown of the best upcoming movies of 2021 and beyond.