Yes, there’s a biopic about Kevin Smith. If we can have movies like My Week with Marilyn and Hitchcock and The Girl and Saving Mr. Banks and RKO 281 and Baadasssss! – which respectively dramatize the making of The Prince and the Showgirl, Psycho, The Birds, Mary Poppins, Citizen Kane and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song – then we can and should have Shooting Clerks, which dramatizes the making of Clerks. Never mind if you think Kevin Smith is as good a moviemaker as Laurence Olivier or Alfred Hitchcock or Orson Welles or even Melvin Van Peebles. Smith and his debut are still an important part of film history, particularly regarding the indie explosion of the 1990s.
Shooting Clerks is appropriately small and sort of amateurish looking. It raised less than a tenth of its goal on Indiegogo, even with Smith’s support and endorsement of the project (he also has a cameo, as do many of the people involved in the actual making of the 1994 classic). But they went ahead and made it anyway – hopefully by maxing out a bunch of credit cards, the way the Clerks budget famously came together. Writer/director Christopher Downie (who also plays Richard Linklater in the movie) has been a huge fan of Smith’s work for a long time and the influence is clearly there in the tone of this biopic as well as previous things Downie has done. Why wouldn’t he try to finance as his idol had?
This isn’t the first time Downie has depicted the life of Smith, who is always portrayed by actor Mark Frost. Check out the 2013 short The Twelve Steps of Jason Mewes: Get Greedo, which is about Jason Mewes (Chris Bain, who also plays him in Shooting Clerks) kicking his heroin addiction post-Chasing Amy and which Smith executive produced and distributed on his SModcast YouTube channel below.
There’s no release date set for Shooting Clerks, but I think it deserves at least a special screening at Sundance next year. It looks like a fun little homage to an important time for cinema. There’s even someone playing Quentin Tarantino.