Kevin Smith's new plans for Clerks III

News Simon Brew 19 Feb 2013 - 06:31
Kevin Smith

Clerks III is still on the way. But Kevin Smith is taking it in a slightly different direction...

It's been a couple of years now since the release of Kevin Smith's ninth feature that he's directed, Red State, and plans for his tenth and final film behind the camera continue to evolve.

Originally, Smith had announced that he was to make ice hockey film Hit Somebody his last movie. But as the project evolved, it's migrated into a television miniseries that he's now developing and working on. That opened up a slot for his final movie, which Smith announced earlier this year would go to Clerks III.

Smith's frustration with the modern day system of movie distribution has been well recorded, of course, but whether you like the man or not, he was making some valid points about it when he decided to take Red State on the road. Citing the exhaustive cost of releasing a film, far in excess of the budget in this instance, he decided to do it himself. Or: he put his money where his mouth was, albeit rubbing many up the wrong way as he did so.

Thus, while Red State may not have set the box office alight, it turned out to be a profitable film, one that made it into the black partly through sheer elbow grease on Smith's part. And as a result of that, his plan to help other films achieve an audience in the same way, on the proviso that they've been turned down by all the traditional outlets first, is an important one. In the midst of all the Internet bile that tends to get thrown in his direction, it's things like this that have sadly been lost.

You do wonder if, because of his criticism of film critics and criticism over the past few years if it's permanently damaged, in some quarters at least, the way his work is reported. Personally, I disagreed a lot with what he was saying about film critics. But more importantly, I liked Red State, and liked it more on a second viewing.

It shouldn't, then, come as much of a surprise that Clerks III is going to take a different path to the big screen. The traditional way would be to write the script, film it and distribute it. But given what Smith's tried in the past few years, that was always going to be unlikely.

Instead, Smith has now revealed that he's going to kick off the Clerks III project in book form. A book that's going to be distributed in episodic form. In an appearance on What's Trending, he talked about trying "to make it interesting to me", and thus he's going to tell the stories of Clerks in more depth this way. So, he revealed, we might get the year one story of both Randal and Dante. And he also said that the audience is going to influence the project. What he didn't say was that the audience was going to write it, but Smith acknowledges that feedback to each episode is likely to have some influence over how the project evolves.

So is the Clerks III film dead? No. He just wants to do it this way first, having investigated and eventually rejected the idea of doing Clerks III as a Broadway show first.

This may all work out, or it may all go horribly wrong. We're going to approach this the old fashioned way though: we're going to wait to see until Clerks III, in whatever forms we get it, before calling it. Because for all the kafuffle when Smith was launching Red State into the world, surely the most important part of it all, to us customers at least, was that the film itself was well worth a watch.

You can see Smith's interview in full here.

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I'd speculate that a bigger part of the change of plan would be to do with the ongoing problems with the Weinstein Company over Clerks II. As detailed on the Smodcast where Clerks III was announced, Jeff Anderson (Randall) has said that he can't even consider doing Clerks III until the unconscionable economics that went into II are untangled and everyone gets their due, and Smith isn't willing to go forward on a movie without all of the players involved.

I don't think Smith's ideas are sustainable but I do think self-promotion is a great way for indie films to make a profit. Of course the film had to be worth watching for the word of mouth to spread and have people turn up to his showings. If it was bad then that would have gotten round even faster.

Most indie filmmakers though will gladly hand over their end product to big distribution companies though because at the end of the day they don't have the same spirit and determination that are at the root of Kevin Smith's career and will be only to glad to have these things dealt with by someone else.

Smith does have the advantage of a dedicated fanbase to build on though and if he can use that to give other movies a chance then great, but Smith would still be fulfilling the role of a distributor instead of that filmmaker getting out there on their own.

He really needs to get out their and direct a big budget flic and have lots of big names tell him that he's a shitty director, so that he'll continue to have lots of interesting material for his Q&A. If that kind of thing dries up, then I don't know how he's going to make it as a comedian any longer.

The man seriously needs to knock the weed on the head, he's become totally unprofessional what with his constant whining and being incredibley indiscreet regarding people he's worked with. I get the feeling he's well and truly burned his bridges. Its a real shame as I used to enjoy his work and listening to him speak.

More Clerks. . .yawn! The first one was fun but the sequel was dire. The 'innovative' Kevin Smith falling back on familiar safe ground again.

If he wants to go in a different direction, how about he tries making a decent film for the first time this millennium? It's been 20 years now he's been riding the acclaim he garnered from Clerks and short of Shyamalan, no director has regressed more since having such a stellar debut.

the first one was also a big 'meh' fest. Couldn't see what the big fuss was all about

Do you just totally ignore Dogma?

Big names Like Affleck who loves him and who just won an oscar for best picture?

I think it's safe to say that anyone who thinks Clerks is a high water mark, probably wouldn't go for Dogma.

Dogma was ok but that was way back in 1999, so still nothing this millennium...

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