Clerks III Story Is Inspired by Kevin Smith's Real-Life Heart Attack

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Kevin Smith reveals that the new Clerks III storyline was inspired by his real-life heart attack. In 1994, he released the original Clerks movie, a black and white indie that inspired numerous Generation X filmmakers. Smith nearly passed away from a 2018 heart attack, and has since lost over 50 pounds. 

Clerks marked Smith’s feature directorial debut, and represents the first installment of the View Askewniverse series. The day-in-the-life narrative about aloof 20-somethings features several now-iconic movie characters, including Jay and Silent Bob, portrayed by Jason Mewes and Smith himself. Produced for less than $30,000, Clerks became a breakout hit for Miramax Films and inspired Smith’s cigarette addiction, which ended in 2008 thanks to his experiences with pro-marijuana collaborator Seth Rogen, star of Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Smith released Clerks II in 2006, which outperformed its $5 million budget five times over at the box office. Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson reprised their roles as the titular characters.

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Related: 10 Crazy Behind-The-Scenes Stories From Kevin Smith's Clerks

Per The Wrap, the storyline for Clerks III will reference Smith’s near-fatal heart attack. In the film, Randal Graves (Anderson) nearly loses his life after a heart attack and experiences a “mid-life crisis,” according to Smith. Randal and best friend Dante Hicks (O'Halloran) then decide to make a film, which turns out to be none other than Clerks. Because the protagonists don’t have much money to spend, they decide to shoot the movie in black and white. Per Smith, Randal leads the charge to make an indie film because he spent most of his life watching other people make movies. 

Smith also noted, “I’m going to bring my boys right back to where they brought me. I’m writing it, it writes itself because I f-cking lived it 25 years ago.” In August, Smith revealed a different storyline for Clerks III during a live table-read, but the filmmaker reportedly changed his mind about plot details because, he said, “I owe those guys, those characters, Dante and Randal, a lot more than the kind of doom and gloom I was about to put them through.”

After releasing numerous mostly well-received features during the ‘90s and 2000s (excluding Jersey Girl), Smith's most recent productions haven’t fared so well, evidenced by reactions to films like Tusk and Yoga Hosers. But Smith now appears to view life differently, and has embraced his cinematic roots with new films like Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, set to release this month, and the upcoming Clerks III. Smith will also direct the horror anthology series Kilroy Was Here, a production inspired by soldier graffiti from World War II. 

The original Clerks resonated with many because of its original comedy and do-it-yourself aesthetic. Now, Smith loyalists, both young and old, will undoubtedly check out Clerks III - but it remains to be seen if the film’s premise and humor will connect with people unfamiliar with the backstory and real-life context. Whatever the case, Smith has clearly chosen to take the same authentic approach, fully cognizant that it couldn’t be any other way.

More: 10 Best Kevin Smith Movies, Ranked

Source: The Wrap

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