22 years ago, an independent film hit the art houses across the US and taught the less adventurous among the audiences a new meaning to the word “snowball”. While Clerks remains director Kevin Smith’s most celebrated film to many cinephiles out there, there are few, if any, that could have guessed that one film, a film that celebrates all things slacker, would go on to spawn a whole universe of films. Sure, audiences just can’t get enough of Jay and Silent Bob, but 22 years and 5 movies later, the fact that Smith still has some steam left in his Red Bank Saga, and that audiences are still ready to continue the journey alongside Jay and his hetero life mate, is damn near a miracle. While Smith fans (and Smith haters, for that matter) await any word on Clerks 3 that they can get, the director has decided to turn his focus on another project: the Mallrats sequel/tv show. In a recent interview with Creative Screenwriting, the mind behind the ViewAskewniverse has finally started dropping details on the upcoming series and where the tale is headed.
After being announced earlier this year, little has been revealed about the series that will continue the story that began with Smith’s least successful movie, 1995’s Mallrats. For those that may have missed it, the movie followed two best friends, each dumped by their respective girlfriends earlier in the day, as they peruse the local mall and try to make sense of love and life. The film starred Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Shannon Doherty, a very douchey Ben Affleck, Michael Rooker, Claire Forlani, and, of course, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, and while Mallrats remains one of Smith’s least successful projects, Smith has been doing his damnedest to get a sequel made. After being turned down by Universal, Smith wound up going a different direction, pitching the idea for a tv series, rather than a film, which seems to be going much more smoothly with the financiers that will have to foot the bill. Interestingly, enough, it turns out that if the Mallrats tv series is a success, Smith will have none other than Jason Mewes to thank for the move. According to Smith, while on the set of The Flash, of which Smith directed an episode last season, Mewes actually provided the inspiration for the turn of events:
He said, ‘What else are you working on? What about Mallrats? Could that be a TV show?’ And I said, ‘No, you fucking idiot, Mallrats could never be a TV show because …’ And then I couldn’t come up with a good fucking reason! I said, ‘Oh my God, dude, you’re right! I bet I could go into Universal Television and I bet you they’d be more interested because that’s where everybody’s watching things these days.’ Here I am trying to sequelize, theatrically, a twenty-one-year-old movie that flopped the first time. Naturally, no one gets hard when you talk about that in the studio system. But when you step into Universal TV and you’re like, ‘hey, what about Mallrats the Series?’ they got it right away. They said, ‘Are you kidding me? That’d be perfect.”
“Perfect” may a bit strong a word, considering there really is no reason for the sequel to really exist in the first place. With Clerks 2, the entire saga was completed, wrapped perfectly with a closing black and white scene that bookended the film where it all began, the original Clerks. Smith’s movies have always been very divisive and one viewer’s treasure is always another viewer’s trash bin. That being said, Smith does his own thing, regardless of critics (at this point, of course), and if he feels like bringing a project to life, whether it be about a man who is transformed into a walrus or having his daughter star in what essentially sounds like a Canadian, female led Clerks throwback, he is going to do it. As long as he has the money, of course, and it sounds like the move in format was the perfect bait to bring Universal to the table. Of course, Smith must have a great idea for the project if Universal is biting, right?
It’s a real sweet, family story. It’s a multi-generational tale. It’s my chance to do John Hughes and Degrassi Junior High, because much like the Degrassi formula we know our legacy cast – we know Brodie and Rene and T.S. and Jay and Silent Bob – and then we meet their kids. So we meet Brodie and Rene’s daughter Banner Bruce, and the story takes place in his world and her world. Nobody goes to the fucking mall anymore, so the kids are baffled by it, and Brody still believes in it in a big, bad way. The thing that I’m happiest about is that when I was doing it as a movie – I always saw the two inspirations for Mallrats as John Landis and John Hughes – and the Mallrats 2 script was very John Landis. Very antic, with guns everywhere, and lots of explosions and action, and less John Hughes … The chance to do Mallrats as a series allows me to do more John Hughes than John Landis and particularly the area of Hughes that I never got to tackle as much as I did in Yoga Hosers: high school.
What made Mallrats so entertaining is the absolute ridiculousness of the film and the utter vulgarity sprinkled throughout. No one that has ever seen the film will ever forget exactly what a “stinkpalm” is, nor will they forget Jay and Silent Bob using a Bat Grapple directly from Bob’s utility belt to escape the dreaded head of mall security, La Fours. In other words, the original direction of the film sounds as if it would have been much more in line with what fans of the first film would expect. Whether or not those same audiences, many of whom now have their own teen children, will follow Smith on his more Hughes-inspired path may or may not be seen, as the series has not received an official order, as of yet, but one thing is definitely guaranteed: Smith will push this project until it either rises to greatness or perishes in flames and all the while, he will likely wear a jersey.
What do you think about the direction of the series? Are you ready for another round with Brodie and the gang or is it time for Smith to move on from Red Bank, NJ?