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Trivia / Clerks

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  • Ability over Appearance: Willem Black was supposed to be a collegiate type, but the original actor for the role, Dan Hapstak, changed his mind and opted out of the role. Scott Mosier was then cast as the role, but since he didn't look collegiate, they reworked the character into an idiot man child.
  • Acting for Two
    • Smith's friend Walt Flanagan plays four minor characters, causing him to be known as "the Lon Chaney of Clerks."
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    • 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 characters talk to each other via a cut.
    • In the first cut of the movie, Smith himself: in addition to playing Silent Bob, he (sans beard) also plays a man who enters the store after the credits, sees nobody at the counter, steals a pack of cigarettes and runs away.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: 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 told him to do that instead.
  • Amateur Cast: Given the film's the low budget, the cast consists of unknowns.
    • Jeff Anderson had never acted before in his life before being cast as Randall. He was a friend of Kevin Smith.
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    • Ditto for Jason Mewes, who was so inexperienced that Smith had to talk him into playing Jay, who was literally based on him.
    • Smith cast Lisa Spoonauer after seeing her in an acting class at Brookdale Community College, NJ. Afterwards he approached her in the parking lot and asked her "Do you wanna be in a movie?" She replied, "Not if it's porn."
  • 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!"
  • Breakthrough Hit: For Kevin Smith.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • 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, losing 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.
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    • The role of Dante was written for Ernest O'Donnell, but Smith felt he wasn't quite right and also the fact that he did not learn his lines for the audition and cast him as Rick Derris instead.
  • 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.
  • Descended Creator: Kevin Smith as Silent Bob. As mentioned below, he wanted to have solid evidence that he'd made a movie if it ended up bankrupting him.
  • Doing It for the Art: Kevin Smith made this movie literally just because he wanted to make a movie. He paid for every cent of the production despite having no idea whether or not it'd be distributed or even if he'd make another one after this. 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 his "The Reason You Suck" Speech 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 litter 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.
  • Focus Group Ending: The original cut shown to film festival audiences included a scene at the end in which Dante is shot and killed by a robber. Audiences, including a couple of Kevin Smith's personal mentors whose opinion he greatly respected, found it too depressing, so it was cut. Smith has since come around and agrees that the film is better without it, although the original cut is available on the "Clerks X" special-edition DVD so that audiences can judge for themselves.
  • 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.
    • Smith himself said that this film was his attempt to follow Slacker. According to him, seeing it was his Eureka Moment that he didn't need the budget or scope of something like Star Wars or Jaws to make a compelling movie.
  • 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 about a clerk working the graveyard shift tending to various and increasingly bizarre patrons. 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 came 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 whose soundtrack cost more than the film itself.
  • No Export for You: The film was never dubbed into German, an extremely rare occurrence for German audiences. The DVD and Blu-ray release feature German subtitles, though.
  • Real-Life Relative: Kevin Smith's mother played the milk maid and his sister is the woman who masturbates animals for artificial insemination.
  • 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. Future Askewniverse films which feature interior shots of the Quick Stop just use flood lights.
  • Spared by the Cut: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Troubled Production: The film was a very on-the-cheap affair which naturally led to quite a few issues. Most notably, the film's financing was a real life Absurdly High-Stakes Game for Kevin Smith, with him cashing out his life savings and maxing all his credit cards, potentially leaving himself broke and hopelessly in debt if he couldn't actually finish the film and then get it released to any kind of profit. On top of that, filming was done in the real convenience store he worked in at the time, all done late at night, which is the reason for the whole bit with the gum in the locks preventing the window shutters from being raised. And he had to reach deep into his group of friends to populate the film, with Walt Flanagan in particular playing four roles over the course of the film (Smith calls him their Lon Chaney in the commentary). Luckily, it worked out very well and he's been able to move on to a successful career.
  • 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!
  • Wag the Director
    • Jeff Anderson refused to read the list of profane movie titles in front of the little girl and her mother, so he was filmed reading it in close-up while the mother's reactions were shot separately.
    • Jason Mewes was so struck with stage fright while shooting the "Violent Mood Swings" scene 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
    • The offended "jizz mopper" customer was originally a woman.
    • Silent Bob's line was originally meant to be delivered by Jay, but Jason Mewes had such trouble delivering it that Kevin Smith decided to say it himself.
    • Smith initially intended to play Randall himself, dryly noting in the commentary that you can tell he was giving himself all the best lines.
  • Working Title: Inconvenience, then Rude Clerks.
  • 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 Bryan Johnson, whom claimed was one of the funniest, most clever people he'd ever met, hence why he has all the best lines.
    • Jason Mewes is more or less playing himself, as Jay was Kevin Smith's interpretation of Mewes when he was a teenager, with a little of Smith's talkative mother thrown in. Silent Bob, in turn, was loosely based on Smith's late father, who only ever spoke up when he had something particularly witty to say.

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