Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson on Clerks II

I had the chance to chat with Brian O’ Halloran and Jeff Anderson about their film Clerks II. I want to thank the two of them for taking the time to give us an in depth look behind the magic and the mayhem.

Starting with my favorite scene in the film, the LOTR VS Classic Trilogy Debate. How much of it was your own views, and how much of it was written by Kevin?
Brian: I appreciate both but I am a big fan of the original Star Wars Trilogy.
Jeff: That was Kevin’s writing. While I am a Star Wars guy, I have no opinion either way on which is better.
How was it going back to the characters again, and what sort of thoughts did you have when you heard that there was going to be another movie?
Brian: As a working actor, I was all “Yeah, sure!” because I wanted more work and I had faith that Kevin had something that was going to be good.
Jeff: I did not want to do it. I thought it was an odd move. The original “Clerks” was such a special film that after “Jersey Girl” and the cartoon series it seemed like going to a different world.
How much did working on the 10th Anniversary DVD for “Clerks” get the ball rolling for the sequel?
Brian: When doing the DVD we had such a good time especially with the missing funeral scene, we were reminded of the great fun we had doing the original. Kevin got to work on it, an had a script in 30-40 days.
Jeff: Kevin really had to talk me off the ledge a few times, over many dinners. I had some cold feet especially during the push time when the film was held up in studio changes because it held up a project I was working on that should come out this year on DVD.
With the Miramax/Weinstein Split how did that affect the filming and scheduling of “Clerks II”?
Brian: It was delayed about a year and a half because we also had Kevin’s film “Catch and Release” to deal with. He had a part in that and we had to work around their schedule.

Jeff: During this time, I really started to have doubts but Kevin kept at it and kept me in the project even though I really started to rethink things.
With the cancellation of the “Clerks” television series and rumors of a “Clerks” sitcom there must really have been some odd things happening. Can you tell the readers some of the things that were going on?
Brian: They were looking at doing a series with Jim Brewer and without Kevin. Kevin flipped and did what he could since the studio had the rights to keep Jay and Silent Bob out of the series. Next thing I know, Kevin is supposed to be Executive Producer. I ran into him later at the studio and he said that he was not going to do it.
Jeff: They actually wanted me to audition for the role of Dante and do this TV segment where we come in to audition for the parts as part of the show. It was a very bad script and the finished product was like “Saved by the Bell”. They had Dante working in an Ice Cream shop.
Will fans see more of the animated versions of the characters?
Jeff: I think the live action is over but you never know what the future will hold. We had such a great time doing the DVD it was hard to believe we were getting paid for it as well.
Brian: A new DVD is in the works and I look forward to it. We had some great guests during the animated series , like Michael McKeon for example.
What are some of the differences in Kevin now as a director compared to how he was with the first film?
Jeff: More awake. He slept through the big fight scene in the first film only telling us to make sure to hit with the loaf of bread.
Brian: He was working in the store while shooting the film so he had to film between shifts. There were days where he was so exhausted that he went to nap in the video store.
When you have a budget of 5 million which is what they spend on catering for some films, it is nice to have the energy. We were able to have more time on the scenes and do read throughs, as well as Kevin being more open to suggestions.
You both really had the characters down as the mannerisms, walks and ticks are dead on from the first film. How was it slipping back into the characters again?
Brian: After the animated show and everything we really have a handle on them. We have a great bookend to the View Askew series. I would say that 85% of the final film was scripted and the other 15% improvised.
Jeff: It was very emotional stuff. That was the real key to the film. Yes there is the comedy and the day in the life stuff, but the real emotions of the film will catch people off guard.
There have been some rumblings that the film might get an NC-17 rating, how much editing was done to the film and what was cut?
Brian: The film did get an R Rating with no cuts required which was a surprise because Kevin said this was NC-17 stuff. The two early screeners in Burbank and New York had about 5-6 minutes cut between them, but it was almost karmic how it all worked out. They did trim the second half of the go cart scene.
Jeff: Which I hated because I had seven pages of dialogue in the scene that was cut. I know I am shilling for the DVD but that scene alone will be worth the price of it when it is released. Randal has this long series on his ideas on ways that Dante could impregnate his mom and all the bizarre theories behind it.
Brian: I am sure there will be an extended DVD because there was a segment with Wanda Sykes and Earthquake that was 11 minutes of riffing on them. Kevin had said just look busy in the background and then he turned the camera on us and got what we were coming up with.
How much are you like your screen characters?
Brian: I have the indecisive nature and the desire to be nice and please people like Dante.
Jeff: I am eye to eye with Randal.
What do you have coming up?
Brian: I have a screenplay that I am working on and if I get some good people around me, I would like to direct. I also have this film called “Groupies” that I hope comes out soon. It is about a Power Rangers like show that is cancelled after a cliff hanger and years later radical fans kidnap the cast to get them to resolve the cliffhanger.
Jeff: I have “Now You Know” coming which should be on DVD around the time “Clerks II” comes out. (Note Jeff wrote, directed, and stars in the film)
When a final question was asked on how many relatives does Dante have as they appear in all the films. Brian joked that there are tons as his last name is “Hicks” so there is likely some inbreeding. Jeff mentioned his character is named Graves which explains where the rest of his kin are.