It has been approximately 12 years since we last heard from Randal Graves and Dante Hicks, the protagonists of Clerks and Clerks II. Since then, filmmaker Kevin Smith has not returned to what he calls the "View Askewniverse," which includes the films Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Clerks II. Amid a slew of failed attempts to revive the aforementioned cinematic universe, including a sequel to Dogma, a reboot of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and a Mallrats TV series titled Mallbrats, Clerks III was the prospective Smith project closest to materializing. After receiving a completed script, a green light, and an $8 million dollar budget, the director seemed deeply troubled to learn of actor Jeff Anderson's refusal to reprise one the film's lead roles, Randal Graves.
Comicbook.com provides excerpts of the writer-director's disappointment in the project's failure to launch during a recent Q&A in British Columbia.
"I want it so badly but I can't do it without him, it was written for him. But the Randal part is the whole movie, like it's Randal's flick. So unless he changes his mind — if and when he changes his mind, I doubt that'll happen — then we can kind of move forward. I could never recast it, he is Randal, Jeff Anderson."Kevin Smith, who suffered a massive heart attack earlier this year, seems to be having no luck with any of his attempts to revive his iconic characters Jay and Silent Bob, as the recent Weinstein sexual assault and rape case has caused the future of all of his old properties to come into question.
In 1994, Kevin Smith captured the spirit of the '90s with Clerks, making Jay and Silent Bob household names, much to the dismay of parents across the United States. Clerks II, while enjoying considerably less critical acclaim than its predecessor, did manage to turn a significantly larger profit at the box office. As of now, the future of Clerks III appears grim.
This isn't the first time actor Jeff Anderson has held up the production of a Clerks movie. Originally Anderson refused to reprise his role as Randal Graves for Clerks II as well, citing his frustration with being typecast. Kevin Smith was ultimately able to persuade the actor. This time around Smith appears to be having no such luck.
Although Smith seems to be having trouble with movies as of late, his television series Comic Book Men still appears to be going strong. Kevin Smith also hosts a popular podcast entitled SModcast, which has been airing weekly since 2007.