It’s impossible to talk to Kevin Smith without also talking about New Jersey. As Collider‘s resident Garden State-ist, I sat down recently with the filmmaker and director Malcolm Ingram, who is debuting Clerk—a documentary retrospective on Smith‘s entire career—at SXSW 2021. Naturally, while looking back on the peaks and valleys of Smith’s filmography, we needed to look forward to both Mallrats 2 and Clerks 3, both in various stages of writing and pre-production. Mainly, I needed to confirm the secondhand 2019 report that Gerard Way, frontman for emo icons/fellow Jersey boys My Chemical Romance, is providing the score for the third Clerks film.
A full score is still TBD depending on Way‘s schedule, Smith says, but the musician has guaranteed at least one recognizable tune.
“I don’t know if he’ll be able to score it, that’s based on a time question. I told him that I want him to do the whole score, and he was like “Oh my God, I’m flattered.” He’s a fan, he’s a Jersey guy as well. I did tell him, “look, if you can’t do the whole movie I at least need ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ as my opening track. And he’s like, ‘You have it. Done and done.'”
As much as I didn’t live through [MCR’s peak] as you did, my kid lived through it and I lived with my kid as she was going through it. I love that song, I love that the boys are from New Jersey. But it also has nostalgic and emotional resonance for me, because my kid…that’s how she started developing her own personality. That’s when she stopped being my kid and was this person with her own interests. And it helped make me more relevant, by her being like “here’s a band that people listen to today, dad, as opposed to Run DMC.” So she helped, as well, drag me into the future in little bits.”
Smith hasn’t been shy about returning to his interconnected View Askewniverse—Jay and Silent Bob Reboot debuted last year—in the wake of the 2018 heart attack that brought him to the brink of death. Talking to Smith now, it sounds like Mallrats 2 and Clerks 3 are a direct result of getting a little more time to do what he wants.
“Pre-heart attack, it was too dangerous, because you’re always supposed to be moving forward in your career. Post-heart attack, as far as I’m concerned, I was dead. I died on that table. It was the luck of the Irish, or the skill of Dr. Ladenheim, that pulled me out of a widowmaker 80% of people get killed by. So at that point, I feel like—and my wife hates when I say it, but it’s true—I honestly feel like I’m living on borrowed time…from that point forward, you’re playing on house money. I’m going to lean into stuff that I deeply care about. I was always doing my own thing, but there were definitely governing factors. I didn’t do as many View Askew movies as I wanted to because I remember reading on the internet, people being like “ugh, he’s doing another one of those interconnected movies.” Eventually, I was shamed out of it. Now I don’t care. If I can get away with Clerks 19, I will.”
Be on the look-out for our full interview with Kevin Smith and Malcolm Ingram on the site soon. Clerk will make its virtual world-premiere on March 17.