Trivia / Clerks

  • Acting for Two
    • Smith's friend Walt Flanagan plays four minor characters, causing him to be known as "the Lon Chaney of Clerks."
    • Scott Mosier also plays Willem and the angry customer who challenges Dante during the hockey game, leading to the film's only "special effect" where the two character talk to each other via a cut.
    • In the first cut of the movie, Smith himself: in addition to playing Silent Bob, he also plays a man who enters the store after the credits, sees nobody at the counter, steals a pack of cigarettes and runs away.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Randal says "No time for love, Dr. Jones." to the man who forgot his keys. However, the actual line in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is "Hey Dr. Jones, no time for love!"
  • Creator Backlash: For a time, Jeff Anderson got so much unwanted attention from the film, due to how recognizable his face and voice were, that he hated it and even refused to speak to Kevin Smith for several years. It took some serious convincing to get him to reprise his role in later projects.
  • Dawson Casting: Marilyn Ghigliotti was 33 when she played Veronica, a student in her early 20s.
    • Downplayed with Dante. Actor Brian O'Halloran was 24 when shooting and 25 soon after release. Playing a 22 year old.
  • Doing It for the Art: The purest example. Kevin Smith paid every cent for this movie himself, without any certainty that it would get picked up by a major studio or even if he'd make any more movies afterwards. He was making a movie because he wanted to. To say nothing of the cast and crew who, like Smith, worked full time jobs during the film's production and lost copious amounts of sleep for a month just to see it get finished.
  • Enforced Method Acting
    • Jeff Anderson apparently screwed up the tongue-lashing monologue he delivers to Dante at the end multiple times, so that in the finalized scene when Randal snaps Anderson's rage is 100% real, fueled by how many times he had to do it over.
    • To a lesser extent, the cat. The crew would not let him go to the littler box for an hour for the gag in which Dante absentmindedly puts it down on the counter and the cat shits in front of a customer.
  • Follow the Leader: Many critics have compared Kevin Smith's success with that of the Sex Pistols, in that they inspired countless directors to get their friends and shoot their own scrappy indie movies.
  • He Also Did: Jeff Anderson narrated a couple of early Ed, Edd n Eddy promos.
  • Mid-Development Genre Shift: The first draft was a completely non-comedic surreal horror film in the same vein as David Lynch. Dante and Randal worked the graveyard shift and increasingly bizarre patrons would come in and out. This later showed up as a gag in the final episode of Clerks: The Animated Series.
  • Missing Episode:
    • The scene during the wake, which was later adapted as a comic and an animated short. It was the first scene removed from the script once Scott Mosier decided that it'd be too expensive to shoot.
    • While filming the scene in Big Choice Video, the film magazine cracked and the celluloid was mangled beyond use. Only the establishing shot of Randal dropping to his knees in wonder and an unused audio snipped of his conversation with a hypercompetent employee named Chet were salvaged.
  • No Budget: Made for $30,000, ever penny of which cameo out of Kevin Smith's pocket by maxing out his credit cards, selling priceless comic books, spending his unspent college fund and even using insurance money for when his car was destroyed in a flood.note  It's also the first (if not the only) film in history who's soundtrack cost more than the film itself.
  • Recycled: The Series: Two episodes of Clerks: The Animated Series were broadcast on ABC before it got cancelled. The entire series, including the unaired episodes, is available on DVD.
  • Romance on the Set : Jeff Anderson (Randal) and Lisa Spoonauer (Caitlin) dated and later became engaged. So Caitlin cheated on Dante with Randal too!
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: The Quick-Stop wouldn't let Smith shoot inside during the day, so he had to film the vast majority of the interior shots at night. To hide this, he came up with the idea of someone putting gum in the locks on the shutters, necessitating them staying closed all day.
  • Talking to Himself: During the hockey scene, Willem (Scott Mosier) returns to the store to ask if they're open before we cut to a shot of Dante and the guy challenging him to some one-on-one hockey (also Mosier, sans beard) yelling "No!" down to him. Kevin Smith jokes that that was the movie's only special effect.
  • Technology Marches On: Production-wise, a respectable-looking feature made by a group of novices getting materials and using equipment on $30,000 was an impressive feat in 1993, and part of the acclaim it received was for the consensus that it was as good as it was in spite of this. In a day and age where any reasonably talented person could make it for half that amount using a smartphone and a home computer (as was the case with Tangerine, produced only 21 years later), it seems like overkill.
  • Throw It In
    • While telling the story about his cousin Walter dying from a broken neck trying to give himself a blow job, Jeff Anderson paused for several seconds because he forgot his next line. Kevin Smith left it in because it made it seem like Randal was getting choked up thinking of his deceased cousin.
    • Silent Bob's sole line was originally spoken by Jay, but Jason Mewes was too drunk to get it right. Kevin Smith decided on the fly to say it himself, and it became a staple of the character for the rest of the time he played him.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Entirely grunge soundtrack? Check. Doc Martens and acid wash? Check. Video store stocked wall-to-wall with VHS? Check. It's the early '90s all right!
    • This is forgivable, though, considering that there was no possible way for Smith to cover up anything too contemporary with the budget and schedule he had. As he put it, "It could only take place in the time it was shot."
  • Wag the Director: Jay's dance to "Violent Mood Swings" was based on something Jason Mewes did to amuse Smith and his friends, but come shooting, he was so struck with stage fright that he asked that the rest of the crew go inside RST while he and Smith filmed the scene on their own.
  • What Could Have Been
    • Kevin Smith originally wrote the part of Randal for himself (which is why he has all the best lines), but was already juggling directorial duties and working a full-time day job, loosing a lot of sleep in the process, and realized that he couldn't hope to also play a lead character. He gave himself the role of Silent Bob just so he could be on-camera somewhere.
    • Randal was originally supposed to do a soft-shoe dance into the Quick Stop. Jeff Anderson spent two days perfecting the dance, but come shooting, Kevin Smith caught him doing the "Wrangler" walk from the Wrangler Jeans commercial and immediately said "Walk in like that instead!"
    • The first cut of the film ends with Dante getting shot by an armed robber right after closing up, supposedly because Kevin Smith had no idea how to properly wrap up the story. Everyone hated it and agreed that the scene prior of Dante and Randal saying goodbye to one another worked just fine.
  • Write What You Know: Aside from the obvious, Kevin Smith wrote the film partially out of his frustration that there weren't any movies about lower-middle class people who worked for a living.
  • Write Who You Know: Most, if not all, of the characters were based on Kevin Smith's friends, many of whom show up in the movie. Randal was based on his friend Brian Johnston, whom Smith idolized. Silent Bob was loosely inspired by Smith's father, who only ever spoke up when he had something particularly witty to say.
  • Working Title: Inconvenience, then Rude Clerks.

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