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Looking Back at the Making of Clerks

While celebrating the eleven year anniversary of the critically acclaimed Mallrats this year, Dumb Baby recently sat down with the stars of Kevin Smith's first film, Clerks, as they reflected on making that classic low budget black and white movie about dick jokes.

Kevin Smith
director, Silent Bob
Jason Mewes
Brian O'Halloran
Jeff Anderson
Scott Mosier
Marilyn Ghigliotti

Kevin Smith: Truth is, the whole reason I made Clerks in the first place was to finally lose my virginity. I was thirty at the time and hadn't even kissed a girl since...1979. Or was it '76? It goes without saying that fat guys like me who spend all their time reading comic books and discussing Star Wars aren't that desirable to women. But I figured, hey, dudes who make movies get laid all the time. So I sold some of my Fantastic Four and silver age Iron Man issues to get money for a video camera. That camera only filmed in black and white. I would have liked to buy a color video camera, but I didn't want to part with issues of Wonder Woman. Those are the comics that kept me company on many a Saturday night. And I didn't think anyone would want to buy them when a lot of the pages were stuck together. So, anyway, that's why the movie is in black and white.

Jason Mewes: Yeah, like, I heard from my man Jamal that this fat fuck had bought a video camera from him. Jamal jacked some video equipment from a K-mart truck. He was gonna use it to make home-made pornos but Kevin was all like, "Hey man I want to make a movie." Jamal knew the cops was on his trail too, so he knew it was better to sell the stuff and Kevin, he had the cash.

I thought it would be tits to be in a movie 'cause then I could get the fine ass bitches, so I tracked down this Kevin guy and asked to be in his movie. He said no because I was a dirty drug dealer and probably couldn't read. I was telling him I could act and shit and I wasn't into drugs that was bullshit. But he said no. I did remember he did keep starting into my eyes and shit. Or maybe I just thought he did cause I smoked a bag of the blunt before I talked to him. So then I told my Aunt Tilly about this and she went to Kevin and lied and told him I had cancer so Kevin felt sad and let me be in his movie. He was nice to me even though he was pretty pissed when he found out the truth when I didn't die.

Kevin Smith: The thing that attracted me to Jason in the beginning was how much he looked like a woman, with that long blonde hair and baby face. I was really, I don't know, I was really drawn to that for some reason.

Jason Mewes: While we was making the movie, I missed a court date for selling weed at the elementary school so I had a warrant out for me. That meant I couldn't go back to the Y and get my stuff because the cops were all there looking for me. So after filming Kevin let me move in with him so I could lay low for awhile. And I've been by Kevin's side and living at his house and sometimes sleeping in his bed ever since then.

Brian O'Halloran: I was working in the Quik Stop one night when Kevin and Jay came in with a video camera. Back then I only knew them as that fat guy and that stoner who was always shoplifting. They said they wanted to make a movie in here and wanted me to be in it. They said they didn't have any money to shoot a good movie, so they just wanted to make one about us working in the store. I said I had to work all night and might get in trouble if I did this. But then Kevin said being a movie would guarantee that I would have sex with a woman, so I signed on right there. I couldn't wait until we were done filming and this was in theaters.

Jeff Anderson: Those other dingelberries were excited to do this movie thing because they thought it would get them laid. As if. Once you're a thirty year old virgin, the chances of you ever touching a naked girl approaches absolute zero. It's all a scientific formula. I'm sure they have charts and graphs on this in Harvard. I wanted to be in this little movie too. Not because I needed to lose my virginity. Please. I was nailing two chicks at once right before I came over to do this interview. Yeah...that's right. I have no problem getting chicks. I'm Sexy Jeff, the Pharaoh Wizard.

I was just in the movie 'cause I thought it'd be a good way to blow off work at the video store. Screw that job.

Scott Mosier: I met Kevin when we were both in film school. I always wanted to be a director and producer and I had big dreams. I wanted to make series of films of every play Shakespeare had ever written. But I wanted to make them updated for the 20th century and set them in modern times. I'd also have the actors speak the native language of where ever the play was set. So, Hamlet, for instance would be spoken in Danish.

That...uh...that never got off the ground...budget and stuff. It's been kind of hard to produce a lot of the ideas I wanted to and one thing led to another and I've pretty much been solely working on Kevin's movies--Mallrats and Jay and Silent Bob and Jersey Girl for the entirety of my career. It's's been alright. Sigh.

Jason Mewes: Would you like to smoke some pot, Berserker? / My love for you is ticking clock, Berserker / Would you like to suck my cock, Berserker? / Would you like some making fuck, Berserker?

Kevin Smith: I always thought that if I made a movie I would want Ben Affleck in it. It was something I dreamed about a lot. But I didn't know how to contact him and I wasn't in the movie business at that point. Back then the closest I was to Ben Affleck were the magazine cut outs taped to my bedroom wall. So instead of hiring actors, the plan Scott and I had with Clerks was to just grab customers who came in and ask them to read some lines. That worked out great and when Clerks was sold to Miramax, it earned a bunch of factory workers and grad students SAG cards.

Anyway, back to my friendship with Ben. I got to know him after some time spent at the Miramax studio. I decided to pick up Mallrats because I was told Ben had agreed to be in it. And I've made sure to make him a crucial part of all of my movies ever since. My rolodex is pretty slim. But Ben and I have been great friends for years. The only time we've ever had an argument is after he and Jennifer Lopez broke up and he blamed me for it partly. He said J-Lo had accused me of stealing her panties. I have to plead the Fifth on that.

Brian O'Halloran: So, yeah, before Clerks I actually really did work in the Quik Stop. In fact, I still do work in the Quik Stop, the acting career didn't go as far as I thought it would. I auditioned for a few roles in movies, Bruce Wayne in Batman Forever, Sam Rothstein in Casino, T-Saint in Tank Girl, Swayze's part in To Wong Foo...Powder, Outbreak, The Craft, Jerry Maguire, Space Jam, The Stupids, the list goes on, but I never got that breakout role. When I got the one role in Vulgar I worked really hard to get into character, which meant I had to practice sodomy A LOT. Occasionally Kevin will offer me a small part in one of his movies and I'll take it as long as I can get the time off first.

Marilyn Ghigliotti: I didn't know any of these guys, Kevin or Brian or the others before Clerks. I just walked into the store one night to get some smokes for my boyfriend, and these four guys, who were huddled around the counter with a camera, kept staring at me. None of them said anything for the longest time, it was like none of them had ever interacted with a woman before. Finally the blonde one asked if I wanted to play the girl in this movie they were shooting, and he kept stuttering when he asked me. I thought, hey why not? It could be fun and I don't have anywhere to be for a few hours. And it was fun doing the movie. The only problem I had in the beginning was that they were always staring at my breasts. I had to tell them if they didn't stop that I was going to tell my boyfriend and he would kick their asses. It was great after that.