More and more, Hollywood and independent film are becoming realms
The 90s were a decade of emerging new talent behind the camera. One of those new visionaries was Kevin Smith, and his 1994 micro-budget indie hit, Clerks, put his name and his brand on the map. What Smith has done with that is up for debate, but Smith had some fantastic success in the years following his small black and white comedy.
Here are 12 factual things about Clerks you may not have known…
1. Clerks is loosely based on “The Divine Comedy” by Dante, hence the name of the protagonist, Dante Hicks. Also, there are nine breaks in the movie to represent the nine rings of hell.
2. Silent Bob was born in this film, and he had only one line in the film. The 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. This turned into a tradition for the rest of the films featuring Jay and Silent Bob.
3. The film’s shoestring budget is part of the reason it was shot in black and white. A number of different types of lighting were used, and this would have required a lot of post production to resolve issues related to the varying color temperatures. With black and white, this isn’t a problem.
4. Kevin Smith actually worked in the store where they shot the film. They shot for 21 straight nights. He would clock on at 6am and finish at 11pm. They would then shoot till 4am, after which he would try to grab an hour or two’s sleep before getting ready to go back to work.
5. Kevin Smith financed this movie by maxing out credit cards, selling a majority of his comic book collection and borrowing money from family and friends.
6. The scene where Dante confronts Caitlin about her marriage to an Asian design major in the video store is done in one shot, which lasts for over five minutes. It was shot on the first night of filming.
7. Despite having almost no violence in the film, the film was originally given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA based solely on its graphic dialogue. The film’s distributor Miramax hired attorney Alan M. Dershowitz, a member of O.J. Simpson’s defense team, who successfully petitioned the MPAA to lower its rating to R without any cuts.
8. 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.
9. The “Dave’s Fruit Pies” sold at the mart are actually Hostess Fruit Pies with the word Hostess blocked out and “Dave’s” put in its place.
10. The anti-smoking sentiment in the film represented Kevin Smith’s own viewpoint when he wrote the screenplay. Silent Bob doesn’t inhale when he puffs on his cigarette because of this. After filming this movie, he became a two-pack-a-day smoker.
11. According to Kevin Smith in an interview in the book My First Movie, part of the movie’s financing came from an insurance settlement. The settlement was from a car that he and Jason Mewes both drove, that was destroyed in a flood. Jason Mewes had told him there would be a flood, and asked if he could move the car uphill, but Smith didn’t trust him.
12. The “smoker’s lung” that the Chewlie’s Gum rep slams on the counter is actually a calf’s liver thrown in dirt and burned with cigarettes.