Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith on coming back to play their famous alter egos
In 1994, the world was exposed to Jay and Silent Bob, the two slackers who hung outside the Quik Stop in the movie, Clerks. Well, their back in the sequel to that popular film, properly titled, Clerks II.
Of course, their real names are Kevin Smith (Silent Bob) and Jason Mewes (Jay); and as you know, Kevin is also the writer, director, producer, editor, sometimes sound man, and basically anything else he needs to for all of his films as well.
Throughout the last 12 years, Jay and Silent Bob have popped up in nearly all of Kevin's movies, but in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Kevin wrote in the credits that we may not see the pair again. Then a few years ago, Jason entered rehab for drugs and alcohol, and it really looked like we would never see them on the big screen again.
Jason got out and so we asked Kevin why he decided to bring back the pair for this film. "I wanted to tell a story about what it felt like to be in my thirties and I tried to do that with Jersey Girl and to some extent succeeded, but at the same time I look at that movie and I'm like, 'It's kind of a manipulative movie.' It tends to be a little mawkish in places and what-not, and I love that movie to death, but at the same time it is sort of a conventional mainstream affair. So I wanted to tell that story about what it felt like to be in my thirties and do it down and dirty and do it kind of closer to the edge of reality which is weird. So I was just wanting to really put that up there onscreen and so I was thinking about new characters and new situations and how I was going to get that thought across and then I was like, 'Well, wait a second. Clerks was a story about what I thought it was like to be in my twenties. I can use Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) again as my proxy, as my stand-ins, as a way into that story.' Suddenly it all just kind of clicked."
Jeff Anderson was a little hesitant to come back, however, Jason jumped at the chance to come back. "I didn't really think about it; I was excited about doing another movie with Kevin and it had been a while, so I didn't really think about that. I was more concerned that if it didn't do well, Kevin would have been upset about it. But I was worried about 'what if people didn't like it' and stuff. I don't really think about it for me, more so it would hurt Kevin's - people start bashing it and stuff."
Kevin's known for putting some famous cameos in all his films, including Ben Affleck and Jason Lee. With their busy schedules, Kevin wasn't sure if he was even going to add them in. But getting Ben was a little more difficult than he thought. "Of the seven movies I've made they've been in six and so it's kind of weird to do something without them at this point although we came close with Affleck. I called him up and asked him if he wanted to do it and he was like, 'You know what, dude, I'm trying to lay low right now, it hasn't been a good two years; I don't know if I want to be in a movie right now.' He's like, 'I'm preparing to direct a movie and I'm going to concentrate on that.' I said, 'I get it, I totally understand; it's just weird that this will be the first movie in ten years that I've made that you're not involved with in some way.' He was like, 'Well, that is weird, maybe I should do it. Alright, I'm going to come down, but I just want to be a guy in the restaurant eating; I want no lines, the camera can go past me. I should be there, but I don't want to say anything.' I said, 'You're telling me that you're going to come to the set of my movie and you don't want any dialogue.' He said, 'I'm telling you, dude, just put me on camera with a reaction shot or something, whatever, but I don't want to do dialogue.' I said, 'That's fine, but you know when you get here you're going to want to do dialogue.' 'No. I promise, nothing.' So we get there and we shoot his two reaction shots, and I'm like, 'That's it, I got it; lets just check the gate.' And he rushes over to the monitor and he said, 'I just feel like I should say something.' 'Alright, dude. Here's a line.' So that was just kind of like me needing someone in that shot and it might as well be Affleck wearing his cum catcher mustache that he had on."
Jason Lee was a little easier to wrangle up. "We got lucky because Jason was able to make time in his very busy Earl schedule for that scene and that was something that originally Matt (Damon) was going to do, but then Matt was off shooting a Robert DeNiro movie (The Good Shepherd) and so Jason stepped in and thankfully pulled it off." There are also cameos from another My Name is Earl star, Ethan Suplee, and Wanda Sykes and Earthquake.
Jason Mewes shows off a little more in a small nude scene in Clerks II. However, he's still a little shy about his backside. "I was fine with it as long as I didn't have to show my ass; that was my first thing. I was like, 'Am I going to be covered up? Am I going to have a robe on?' Cause I had no problem tucking and showing the front, but I didn't want to have my pasty, white ass shown; I'm not too comfortable with my ass. So I didn't want to show my ass."
Jason does however moon us through a window; he says that's a little different. "Like right now, seeing my ass in the dark with a window - or me standing up here and pulling my pants down and all you guys looking at my ass, that was the difference. But against the window, I don't mind doing that. I'm like the guy who after sex, puts on my boxers right away - unless I've been with the girl for a long time, it doesn't matter. I guess you all needed to know that with me putting the boxers on - I'm sure a couple of you guys do it too."
The movie is called Clerks II, so you can't have a movie without the stars, Brian and Jeff. Kevin talked to both of them before he started writing the movie, just to make sure they were into the idea of coming back. "I knew that Brian would kind of be onboard, but Jeff has kind of gone through - after twelve years I think that he finally had gotten used to the fact or settled with or come to peace with the fact that he is Randal because Jeff is not a dude who's like, 'I want to be an actor.' He was a dude that I knew in high school. He was the lone hold out and so I did want to talk to him before I started writing because if he was like, 'Never, never, never.' there wouldn't have been any point in writing it.
Jason and Kevin have always remained the best of friends, and Kevin was one of Jason's biggest supporters when he was going through the tough times. He even offered up a room in his house when Jason got out of rehab; Jason moved out, but he still misses being there. "Yeah, I miss being around the house, I miss being around people, I miss being around family. I consider his wife, his daughter (Harley), his mother-in-law, father-in-law - Jen's parents - and they're all amazing. The home-cooked meals are great, waking up going swimming with Harley, just stuff like that, I miss all that. And Kevin doesn't like to leave the house much, so it's like if come over, he won't leave his room. But if I come over, he'll go out and hang out on the deck. And if he's going out, I'm right there, so if he's like, 'Do you want to take a ride to the video store?' - we'd hang out, so we got to hang out more with me living there."
And speaking of the family, Kevin also included Harley and his wife, Jennifer in Clerks II. Harley just has a small cameo, her third part in Kevin's movies. "I put her in this and really I do it because it's nice to kind of chart the growth of the kid on camera and it's cheaper than taking her to a Sears portrait sitting. So it's just like 'put her in the flick and then years from now I can watch her kind of age and whatnot.' But I like to include everyone I know in the movie."
Jennifer plays Dante's fiancé in the film; Kevin got flack from some fans about giving her such a big role, but he had better reasons for the decision. "Once I had the kid that became a no brainer [for] Jen as well. This is the line that got me so laid; I put her in the flick, put the wife in the flick and someone launched at me online. 'Don't know he keeps casting his wife in the movie even though she's not an actress.' I was like, 'Well, first off, Brian and Jeff weren't necessarily actors either when I cast them.' Jeff particularly, Brian was doing local theater. Jason Mewes wasn't an actor when I put him in the movie, so I've been known to do that. I said, 'Plus, I put all of my friends in the movie, why wouldn't I put my best friend?' She read that online and I got the biggest, sloppiest f*cking bl*w job that you've ever seen in your life - it was hot, it was hot."
What is hot is Clerks II, especially with newcomer to the franchise, Rosario Dawson. The film opens in theaters July 21st; it's rated R.