I may not be writing this column if Kevin Smith movies never told me being ME was cool.
So, when I attended the CAPE (Cornwall and Area Pop Event) this year, and I knew Brian O’Halloran and a few of the other cast members from the original Clerks movie were guests, well, I knew it was my chance to get to meet some folks that impacted my generation. And thankfully I caught Brian at a quiet moment and he had time to chat!
And I assure you...he was open!
FPB: First off, I’d like to say, I’m a HUGE fan. I’ve watched the Clerks and all the View Askewniverse movies so many times over the years. How have things been going with you lately?
Brian: Things have been going great, it’s been great to come and visit the CAPE con here. We’re looking to do Mallrats 2, probably by the fall of this year. Kevin has informed me that since we’ve postponed Clerks III to 2017, it looks like that will be our next move. As soon as he’s finished up the script, he’s already contacted everyone that was involved with the first Mallrats, so once that’s all set up fans should be seeing things by Spring of next year.
FPB: That’s awesome! Will we be seeing Dante and Randal in the new Mallrats movie?
Brian: I’m not sure what character I’ll be playing yet! I haven’t seen the script yet, but I, Brian O’Halloran, will definitely be back in Mallrats II.
FPB: Going back to the original Clerks film. What were some of your fondest memories of working on that shoot and were you guys aware of the magic that was going to become of this movie?
Brian: When we were working on the first one in ’93, it came out in theaters in ’94 and it grew in popularity over 1994-95 before we made Mallrats. Y’know, it spoke from a really unique perspective that I’ve never seen in a script before. It was a day in the life of these two guys that were at this convenience store and video store respectively and one guy gets called in on his day off. It was such a relatable comedy and Kevin used such weird topics of conversation to focus on in the film. And these were real conversations that he had with his friends while working at the actual convenience store, the Quick-Stop.
When we were making it, we never thought in a million years that a group of people would find the movie and more and more people would find it and then it would go on from there and win awards and stuff. It was really, really cool that it went on and it became a rollercoaster from there, then we went on to do Mallrats and Chasing Amy, Dogma and all the other films and then the Clerks cartoon, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back and then to shoot Clerks II which was an absolute blast.
FPB: With Clerks II, what was the difference in atmosphere from the first movie?
Brian: You have the age progression. Here we have these guys that were in their early twenties in the first one and then we get them in their early 30’s having different life responsibilities. The film shows that friendships can build in different ways, wives and girlfriends get into the mix and things can falter from time to time. And I found there was a great maturity on Kevin’s part. He matured these characters yet they are still stuck with the friendship they always had. People have these personality traits that they never outgrow or change, and it was great for him to put that in the mix.
And everyone did a great job. It was wonderful bringing in new characters like Trevor Fehrman playing Elias, and Rosario Dawson playing Becky. It was really cool mixing in new people. Then there was these crazy event like go-kart races and donkeys and all sorts of stuff.
FPB: I love Clerks II! Especially those last few scenes with you guys where it shows a real growth for the characters. It was actually emotional! When that Soul Asylum track begins playing...it was such a great feeling it gave the viewer.
Brian: Big props to Jeff Anderson (Randal) for pulling off that scene, the “jail scene” as people like to call it, and just bringing that raw emotion that is friendship. He really pulled it out and made it work. It really worked out phenomenally as a way of ending the film. Hopefully when we start to shoot Clerks III in 2017, that we can recapture that and then some for the final one.
FPB: I’ve always wondered, what’s it like getting a Kevin Smith script? What’s the feeling of reading one of his screenplays for the first time?
Brian: Well, if it’s something that has to do with the Dante & Randal characters or the Jay & Silent Bob characters, you know the universe these characters are living in. First of all, you get excited because you know it’s gonna be hilarious! There’s nothing funnier than reading a Kevin Smith comedy that features these characters from the View Askewniverse, you just know you’re in for some weird fun.
Having the Clerks III script in my possession for a few years now, it’s like buying someone a Christmas gift in February and having to wait the next 11 months to give it to them!!! It’s just like “COME ON ALREADY!!! LET’S START FILMING!!!”
I’m anxious now to read the script for Mallrats 2.
FPB: I believe the character of Dante is a mix of Kevin himself and his long-time friend Bryan Johnson. What have YOU brought to the character that makes him Dante?
Brian: I don’t know, I think there’s a humanity that I bring to him. I’m hoping there’s a lovable handsomeness, but you know...that’s for the ladies out there. But I guess he wrote him very whiny and complaining but I think it’s my tone to it that makes people go “Wow, this guy’s a whiny bitch!!” (laughs)
People have said that I have this way of portraying him really well, and it’s funny because, personality-wise I’m more of a Randal than I am a Dante. I’m more of a wise-cracking, go F-yourself kind of person.
FPB: I know you probably can’t tell us ANYTHING, but I’m gonna ask anyway, is there a little bit you could share with us about Clerks III?
Brian: Oh, I could tell you the entire script of Clerks III!
FPB: (BIG LAUGH)
Brian: If you wanna pay the 3 million dollar Do Not Disclose Agreement...
FPB: I love Kevin, so I wouldn’t leak that!!!
Brian: I mean, I can say it takes place not long after Clerks II, a couple of years maybe. And taking off after Clerks II, we have Jay, Bob, Dante and Randal all partnering in buying the Quick-Stop. We left with Rosario Dawson’s character pregnant with my love child. Who knows what could happen after that?!
I know that Kevin has tweeted and blogged and podcasted a few different things here and there. There’s a love interest for Randal finally, things like that. I can say that because Kevin’s put it out there.
FPB: One last question. I gotta know. What’s it like having Rosario Dawson as a love interest? (laughs)
Brian: Well, I’m always thinking “I’m getting PAID for doing this?!” She’s super awesome, we continue to be friends to this day. As a matter of fact she was just in Washington D.C. last week where she was protesting and got arrested! I texted her later that day from another convention asking “Hey is everything alright? You starting trouble?” and she was like “Yeah, but I’m out now.” We conversate all the time and she’s just a cool woman, but also an amazing human being that I’ve been very lucky and fortunate to get to know and work with. And she’s smoking hot, so it’s a win-win.
FPB: And she’s even a Marvel character now!
Brian: Exactly. It’s a nerdgasm in every sense of the word!
FPB: Thanks so much, it’s been an awesome honor to speak with you!
Brian: No problem!
I have to say, I’ve never had a better interview. Brian is a consummate pro and maybe one of the most cool, funniest and laid back guys I’ve ever interviewed and it was a total pleasure! This was one of my highlights in the 5+ years of writing Full Page Bleed and I thank him for it.
CAPE was a unique time as I not only got to meet and interview the star of Clerks, but I got to attend a wedding where I got to witness him sing Black Sabbath’s War Pigs! Yes, that happened. My mind was and still is eternally blown to little itty bitty bits.
Well, I hope everyone enjoyed this interview as much as I did conducting it, and look out for Mallrats 2 and Clerks III coming soon!! Bleed out!