Clerks III was going to be based on Hurricane Sandy.
You read that right. Kevin Smith‘s original idea for the Clerks threequel revolved and revolved and revolved around 2012’s Category 3 cyclone that devastated the eastern seaboard, especially Smith’s native New Jersey. In that state alone, Sandy left 40 people dead, 346,000 homes damaged or destroyed, and a $37 billion price tag, which the 52-year-old auteur thought would be a good foundation for a comedy film.
Smith realized it wasn’t his greatest creative flourish when describing the ill-fated plot to The Hollywood Reporter.
“It opened on the evening of Hurricane Sandy. Dante and Randal were locked in a jail because the original version of Clerks III was the opening of Jay and Silent Bob Reboot where the cops come in and bust Jay and Silent Bob. All of them were arrested and there’s an interrogation scene and somebody comes in and says, ‘We gotta get ‘em out and put them in cells because it’s coming.’ And [the guys] are like, ‘What’s coming?’ ‘They’re calling it Sandy.’ They were locked in a cell all night long and they get out in the morning to find that the Quick Stop was destroyed by a flood.”
Although comedy often comes from tragedy, Smith explained that his stormy idea was “far-flung” from the Clerks ethos, perhaps to such a degree that it would have made the View Askewniverse too askew.
“It was so far-flung from Clerks. Mercifully, we never made it. And then suddenly, I had the heart attack and was like, oh, that would be a good backbone for this movie.”
Yes, Smith replaced one tragedy with another. Clerks III was inspired by the heart attack that nearly took his life in 2018. After performing stand-up in Glendale, California, Smith suffered a full blockage of his left anterior descending artery, ominously nicknamed a “widowmaker.”
He was given a 20 percent chance of survival. Smith underwent emergency surgery and miraculously recovered to make the newest Clerks film, which sees Randal have a similarly serious heart attack. With a brand new perspective, Randal makes a movie about his life and the lives of his Quick Stop cohort.
This meta-Clerks is scheduled to be released in Red Bank, New Jersey, on Sep. 4, and by Lionsgate on Sep. 13 for non-NJ audiences. Check out the long-awaited installment to see whether Smith chose the right tragedy upon which to base the film.