I Assure You, We’re Open: Interesting Facts About Clerks

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These facts about Kevin Smith’s Clerks, its cast, crew, and production are not even supposed to be here today.

Kevin Smith began his career back in 1992 when he sold his comics, maxed out his credit cards, and used a car insurance payment to fund Clerks, a black and white movie shot at a convenience store in Jersey. The cast and crew were comprised of 2 people with a film credit to their name, a smattering of names from community theatre, and a bunch of Smith’s family and friends, including his mom.

After a rocky start, the movie went on to achieve cult status, launching Smith’s filmmaking career, his View Askew production company, and what is known as the Askewniverse. Smith himself became iconic in his role as Silent Bob and to this day reprises the character, alongside his “hetero lifemate” Jason Mewes as Jay. The duo was most recently seen in Jay And Silent Bob Reboot but began life in Clerks. Here are some other facts about the cult classic that you may not know.

The Vancouver Film School Was Vital To The Making Of Clerks

It’s well known that Kevin Smith has no formal training but he did briefly attend the Vancouver Film School. While he quit before the program finished, his time there shaped the rest of his career. The biggest impact was the connections he made to long term collaborator and producer Scott Mosier and cinematographer Dave Klein, both of whom were involved with making Clerks.

Mosier made a pact with Smith that whoever finished a script first, the other would help them produce it. Smith cashed in on this when he finished Clerks and Mosier has been a vital part of the Askewniverse ever since. Klein also played a key role in the original Jersey Trilogy and has made return visits to the Askewniverse.

Jeff Anderson Wasn’t Meant To Be In The Movie

Smith’s original intention was to play Randal himself with his high school friend Earnest O’Donnell playing Dante. When O’Donnell wasn’t fully onboard Smith began to look to local community theatre for actors. Jeff Anderson was originally helping out Smith by reading alongside actors during casting.

After Brian O’Halloran and Marilyn Ghigliotti were cast as Dante and Veronica respectively, Smith decided to step down from the role of Randal to focus fully on directing. He cast himself as Silent Bob and offered Randal’s role to Anderson.

The Cast Worked Day Jobs And Filmed At Night

While Clerks was being made Smith worked at the Quick Stop he filmed at. He would work a full day then had permission to film overnight from the stores owner. After closing, the cast and crew would rearrange the store for shooting then put it all back again before the morning. Once this was done Smith would often briefly sleep in his car before resuming the process.

Jason Mewes Was Camera Shy

You wouldn’t believe it to look at him now but Mewes was terrified when he first began acting. Talking about the experience on the Jay and Silent Bob Get Old Podcast he says “When I got on camera, man, I just froze and needed everyone out of there.” The set used to be cleared for Mewes’s appearances and he acted with just Smith beside him.

While Mewes did take to the process by the time Mallrats came around, he had trouble delivering the lines in Clerks that convince Dante to salvage his relationship. Smith stepped in and delivered them instead, which led to the idea that Silent Bob only ever speaks up when he has something important to say.

The Film Premiered To An Almost Empty House

The movie’s premiere was at NYC’s Angelika Film Center at the Independence Feature Film Market. On the Clerks X DVD, Smith was said to be “crestfallen” when the audience was predominantly cast and crew. However, one other film attendee would prove to be invaluable to its success.