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INT: Dante & Randal!

07.17.2006

Like Adam Sandler, Kevin Smith has shown an admirable penchant for hooking up his buddies with jobs after making it big. Lucky for us Smith isn’t pals with Rob Schneider or David Spade. For CLERKS II he brought back a whole host of familiar faces, including Brian O’Halloran (aka Dante) and Jeff Anderson (aka Randall), the loveable losers whose irreverent banter helped make the first film so memorable.

The duo stopped by the Four Seasons last week to talk about reuniting for CLERKS II. Here are some excerpts.

Jeff Anderson Brian O'Halloran

So what was it like to see everyone again?

O’Halloran: The reunion tour. It’s been fun. We’ve been fortunate enough to play these characters from time to time over the years, so it hasn’t been a brand-new, fresh, 13-year reunion. It’s great getting together with these guys from time to time and reliving these characters. We’re fans of the movies, first off, besides playing these characters, so we’re always wondering where Kevin is going to take these characters next.

Were you at all hesitant to come back to it? Does part of you want to move on?

Halloran: I’ll be real quick. I said yes as soon as Kevin mentioned it to me. We had just finished working on the 10-year anniversary DVD and he was like, “I’m thinking about doing a sequel.” “Great. What’s the idea?” He gave me a quick synopsis of what he had in mind, and I was like, “Sure.”

Anderson: I didn’t want to do the movie. Not so much because I was concerned about any acting career. It just didn’t make sense to me to go back and shoot a sequel to Clerks. It wasn’t exactly a movie that was screaming for a sequel. I always maintained that a lot of the success of the Clerks was due to the backstory. It was low-budget and came out at a time when independent film was sort of catching on, and it was sort of this weird black-and-white movie. How are you going to go back and replicate that? Shoot it in black-and-white and sit there in the store making fun of people, just a lot older? It didn’t appeal to me. But Kevin really wanted to do it and maintained that he had ideas on how to do it. I read the script and liked the script, but wasn’t wholly convinced. But Kevin’s enthusiasm about doing it was sort of what got me (into it).

Were there a lot of script changes?

Anderson: The script did change after that first one.

O’Halloran: Not by much.

Anderson: Not by much. We did the original draft and we got together for a reading after the original one and sat around for about an hour afterwards and just talked about it and gave some ideas about what changes we thought should happen. I think two scripts came after the first one.

O’Halloran: And then that was it; it was ready for shooting.

Aren’t we glad they didn’t use the original ending for Clerks?

O’Halloran: Well, I hated the original ending when I first read that stupid script. I was just like, “killing him, what?” And I remember jokingly saying to him back then, “What if we ever wanna do a sequel?” [laughs] And he was like, “Yeah. Real funny there, boy. Put the sweater on and get shot.” I was like, “All right.” He [points to Anderson] always had a problem with the ending, too.

Anderson: I was fine with the ending, but I always felt they should have pulled back to reveal Randall did it. Then Clerks II would be a whole different movie.

O’Halloran: Ten years later, you’ve obviously finished your ten-year sentence. Jersey only giving ten years for murder.

Anderson: That’s the way Clerks II opens, with me coming out of prison with the little box.

O’Halloran: And ripped. Tattooed.

Do you guys ever see each other outside of the Clerks world?

Anderson: The restraining order prevent us.

O’Halloran: Yeah, the court injunctions are kind of tough to get around. What’s funny is we do have a country in between us. He’s on the west coast, I’m on the east coast.

Anderson: A country?

O’Halloran: Yeah, it’s an entire country, I think they call it. So we pretty much only see each other for (Clerks). I mean, I come out here from time to time we’ll get together. I think that’s kind of a good thing in a way, to keep the chemistry appearing fresh, because we haven’t hung around for all these years. We haven’t worn it out or changed the dynamic.

Anderson: That’s what I keep telling him.

O’Halloran: That’s what the judge told me to say, sir.

We know that Kevin’s milked the first film for a lot of DVDs. How many Clerks II DVDs can we expect to see?

Anderson: We’re still filming new endings!

O’Halloran: There’s the director’s cut. There’s the donkey cut. There’s the ass-to-mouth cut. There’s the pillowpants cut.

Anderson: And that’s just in the first year. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes footage. They filmed everything. I think they were there at the original lunch when Kevin asked me to do it.

O’Halloran: Yeah.

Anderson: That film will look like the Blair Witch Project. A lot of shots of me running!

[laughs] Naah. He puts out good discs. You could say what you want, but the discs are good. The Clerks tenth anniversary disc was a good disc. They put a lot of stuff in it.

If you said no, would they have just re-cast you?

Anderson: Anthony Michael Hall. [laughs] They went straight to him and he was busy, so they came back to me.

Why do you think Kevin’s films strike such a chord with that certain group…

O’Halloran: The insane? [laughs] I think it’s because it speaks to them. It’s tough – these characters are stuck in a situation that they can’t seem to get out of. When we were in our twenties, a lot of young people felt the same way. We have this whole life ahead of us. What do we want to do? I don’t know what I want to do. Ten years go by and they’re stuck with this job that they were doing because it didn’t interfere with whatever the rest of their social life is or whatever their college life is.

Even after college a lot of people were like, “Well, now that I got this degree, I can’t get a job with the degree I have. What do I go into next?” Then they’ve gotta pay off like $150,000 in loans. I don’t know. It’s a weird kind of dynamic. And also, these guys are talking about subject matter and topics with an unfiltered mouth. There’s nothing going between the mouth and the brain. It’s like, “Hmmm…anal fissures. What do you think about that?” There was Kevin on Jay Leno last night talking about anal fissures. So it’s the type of thing where you get to see these guys talk about it.

What was your reaction when you first heard that Rosario Dawson would be cast?

O’Halloran: It was great, actually. We were kind of nervous in the beginning, because it’s like, “Really? Rosario Dawson?” Because the list of women that I think Harvey Weinstein had give to Kevin, he was like, “Look I need a woman.” Kevin wanted to do the film strictly with the four guys from the last film and then relative unknowns for the rest of the roles. And Harvey was like, “Absolutely not. You gotta give me the women at least. I gotta market this somehow.” And so he gave Kevin a list of women, of which some of the names were kind of weird, like Rachel Weisz…

Anderson:…Judy Dench

O’Halloran: Judy Dench. Ron Howard’s daughter, who – funny enough – was in Lady in the Water. And Rosario was on that list. I can imagine Rachel Weisz reading the material and going [mimics Rachel’s English accent] “Are you serious? A donkey show? Am I being punk’d? What is this?” But Rosario said yes. We did a reading and Rosario just got everything.

She’s from the east coast…

O’Halloran: Not only that, but she’s an avid comic-book fan. She’s a science fiction fan. She just has that regular guy type of humor that just made it kind of cool.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at thomasleupp@joblo.com.

Source: JoBlo.com

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