From Vancouver Film School to Clerks III, it’s been a long, strange journey for Kevin Smith

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I’m a middle aged stoner, 52 as of last month, so everything gets to me. There are a lot of feelings in this movie. —Kevin Smith

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Jeff Anderson as Randal, Brian O’Halloran as Dante, Kevin Smith as Silent Bob, Austin Zajur as Blockchain Coltrane, and Trevor Febrman as Elias in Clerks III. Photo by Lionsgate /Courtesy of Lionsgate

Clerk III: the guided tour

When: Sept. 18 at 12:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. (full) & 7 p.m. at 7 p.m.

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Where: Rio Theatre, 1660 E. Broadway, Vancouver

Tickets: $52.50 at riotheatre.ca

Kevin Smith is only half joking when he says that what brought him to Vancouver nearly three decades ago was “bad geography”.

“‘Tiger is so far away,'” Smith, born and raised in New Jersey, recalled his mother saying when he announced his plans to attend film school here.

“I said, ‘No, it’s not. He goes to New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Vancouver. My mom says “Vermont”. “What do you mean, Vermont?” “Vermont is above Maine. You mix up your Vs. And I said, ‘Oh. Well, what state is Vancouver in? “It’s not, it’s in Canada.”

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“And she showed me the globe, which had sat on my desk since childhood, turned it to North America, and pointed out where we were and where I had applied to film school. . But I was engaged at the time.

Out of this confusion has arisen, directly or indirectly, one of the weirdest careers in pop culture. Inspired by Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking 1990 DIY film Slacker, Smith directed Clerks, a 1994 low-budget independent project that became a calling card, if not a smash hit.

Since then, he’s written and directed movies set in his own View Askewniverse, made near-mainstream genre pictures, directed TV episodes, and written comics. He also owns Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, a New Jersey comic book store he immortalized in the AMC reality series Comic Book Men, which Smith produced, co-hosts the Fatman Beyond podcast with the scribe comic book artist Marc Bernardin, and has established himself as the most talkative question-and-answer man in show business.

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His latest film is Clerks III, a meta callback to the film that gave Smith his debut. Dante and Randall and the rest of the cast and characters return, but Randall decides to make a movie based on events that happened at the Quick Stop, including events from the first two Clerks movies.

“Basically, the snake isn’t just eating its story, it’s sucking itself,” Smith said. “We are so far down the rabbit hole. That being said, it’s fun and funny, like a greatest hits album in a weird way. And then there is this emotionally overwhelming third act. I’m a middle aged stoner, 52 as of last month, so everything gets to me. There are a lot of feelings in this film.

In the first film, Dante was Smith’s replacement. But Smith couldn’t see his live avatar seizing the day, so he asked Randall to make the decision to become a filmmaker, following a life-threatening heart attack. Smith himself suffered a heart attack in early 2018, after a show in California.

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“When I was writing Clerks III I was like, ‘I don’t know, I just don’t believe Dante would ever make a movie.’ It’s so weird because my path in the Clerks movies has always been Dante. I was the convenience store guy. Bryan Johnston, my friend, was the guy from the video store next door. That’s who Randall was based on. I had written the role of Randall to play myself, which is why he has all the best jokes. But the closer we got to filming Clerks, the more I realized I wasn’t an actor. Now, with Clerks III, I’ve become Randall a bit. For me, the Clerks films are about growth.

Smith is touring Clerks III with screenings and Q&As. A born gabber, Smith is at home on stage, whether in a movie theater, mid-size theater, comedy club, or Comic-Con venue.

“I wish I could be David Fincher,” he said. “He makes a film, broadcasts it and lets it speak for itself. I’m the filmmaker who makes the movie, casts it, then runs out right after it’s over and says, ‘Whoah, let me tell you what happened with me and Bruce Willis and why the movie didn’t worked.’ It has become my bread and butter. I make more money standing on a stage talking about making movies than making movies. Isn’t that fucking crazy? »

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