It's the best birthday ever for Kevin Smith who just kicked off filming on the long-awaited sequel Clerks III. In 1994, Smith launched his movie career with the release of the original Clerks, his directorial debut based on his life as a convenience store clerk. Recently, it was announced that Lionsgate had officially picked up Clerks III with filming slated to start in August. On Aug. 2, which just so happens to be Smith's 51st birthday, filming officially began.
"Grateful Undead: Today is my last day of being a 50 year old," Kevin Smith said on Twitter the day before shooting started. "I turn 51 tomorrow as we start shooting Clerks III - a sequel to a movie I dreamed about making 30 years ago, when I saw Richard Linklater's masterpiece Slacker for the first time on the night on my 21st birthday."
Clerks III is written and directed by Smith, who also reprises the role of Silent Bob as one of many original characters to return. The sequel also stars Jeff Anderson as Randal Graves, Brian O'Halloran as Dante Hicks, Jay Mewes as Jay, Rosario Dawson as Becky, Marilyn Ghigliotti as Veronica, and Trevor Fehrman as Elias. Given Smith's penchant for Easter eggs, we're bound to see many other familiar faces as well.
The sequel has been years in the making as Anderson was not interested in reprising the role of Randal again after Clerks II was released in 2006. Smith has long maintained that there's no point in making a Clerks movie without Randal, so the project appeared to be toast after a certain point. Things changed when Smith was inspired to write an all-new story centering on Randal that was based on the filmmaker's own real-life heart attack.
Clerks III will pick up with Randal surviving a heart attack and developing a new outlook on life. Also inspired by reality, Randal and Dante make a movie in the Quick Stop about their lives as clerks, much in the way Smith had done himself in the early 1990s after watching Slacker. The idea of having Dante and Randal documenting their work at the Quick Stop was initially conceived as an animated continuation of Clerks: The Animated Series that never got made.
"There's a saying from the Tao that goes something like 'To be great is to go on. To go on is to go far. To go far is to return.' Thanks to Lionsgate, we get to return to where it all started with almost the whole cast that started it all!" Smith said in a press release. "And for the first time since the first time we ever made a movie in 1993, we're shooting the entire flick on location in New Jersey, as an ode to both the enduring allure of cinema and the resourcefulness and lunacy of its storytellers. Years ago, Dante and Randal made me a filmmaker - so now it's time I return the favor."
Lionsgate hasn't yet announced an official release date for Clerks III. Filming is now underway in New Jersey. This news comes to us from Kevin Smith on Twitter.