A new 10th anniversary DVD of “Clerks” debuts Sept. 7, and Smith said working on that three-disc set inspired him to write about what became of those characters.
The sequel – titled “The Passion of the Clerks” – is set to begin shooting in January. Miramax Films, which turned the original into a cult-hit after buying it at the Sundance Film Festival, plans to distribute the follow-up.
“It’s funny, it’s very raw, insanely foul-mouthed. In many ways it’s the antithesis of ‘Jersey Girl,’” Smith said, referring to his recent PG-13 comedy with Ben Affleck as the widowed father of a little girl.
Smith is also writing the screenplay for a movie version of “The Green Hornet,” but no longer thinks he will direct it. The “Clerks” movie has moved to the top of his to-do list.
He said he called Jeff Anderson, who played the combative video-store worker Randal, and Brian O’Halloran, who was the besieged-by-strangeness convenience store employee Dante, to run the idea by them first.
“Jeff was actually very protective of ‘Clerks,’” Smith said. “Jeff was like, ‘Are you sure you want to do this? That movie means a lot to people and do you want to go back?’ I thought about it honestly, and it would seem chicken to not give it a shot just because I’m afraid of (messing) with the first film.”
So far, he said he has gotten only positive responses from the people who have read the script, so he decided to move forward with it. Both O’Halloran and Anderson are signed on, and Jason Mewes, will return as stoner Jay, the “hetero life-mate” of Smith’s stoic Silent Bob.
“I’m sure there will be naysayers who say, ‘Oh my God, it’s an opportunistic grab at a buck,’ but it’s not. We’re doing it for nothing,” Smith said. “We’re going to do it insanely inexpensively. The budget will be somewhere between 250 grand and $5 million.”
The original was shot pre-dawn, and most of the actors worked for free and then went straight to their day-jobs with little or no sleep.
“This time around we’ll afford ourselves the luxury of nice 12-hour days,” Smith said. “And people can get paid.”