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Silent Bob speaks

McClatchy News Service

Jason Mewes, left, ad Kevin Smith reprise their roles at Jay and Silent Bo in Clerks ll.

By Amy Longsdorf

McClatchy News Service

With "Clerks," Kevin Smith gave "Star Wars"-loving, trash-talking slackers a good name. And now that the rest of the world has caught up to his no-hopers, Smith is back with another serving of freaks and geeks.

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Not unsurprisingly, life at the Leonardo, N.J., Quick Stop hasn't changed much since 1994. Dante and Randal (Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson ) are older but not exactly wiser. They're still working at the mini-mall, and still engaged in debates over such burning issues as George Lucas vs. Peter Jackson vs. Jesus.

When a fire destroys their little strip of heaven, the "Clerks II" pals are forced to get jobs at a burger joint called Mooby's. Dante announces that he's going to leave Jersey forever and marry Emma Bunting (Smith's wife Jennifer Schwalbach) even though he's smitten with Becky (Rosario Dawson), his Mooby's manager.

"Clerks" features appearances by Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) and a cameo from Smith's 7-year-old daughter Harley Quinn (yes, named after the Batman villainess) as a girl looking out a restaurant window, wearing the same red-ribboned pigtails that Silent Bob wears in one scene.

During an interview, Smith talked movies, music and the merits of Little Debbie pies.

Q: How much did the crash and burn of 'Jersey Girl' have to do with you going back to your roots?

A: It wasn't so much that "Jersey Girl" flopped but the movie was all about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. And that grated. You work on a movie for two years, and it all comes down to, "Did you see Jennifer's big diamond?"

Q: Have Dante and Randal changed?

A: They're in their 30s now. I wanted to make a movie about what it was like to be in your 30s. "Clerks" was a flick about how I felt in my 20s so it seemed like it would be a good idea to use Dante and Randal as my proxy once again. The underlying question the film asks is if you can you still be a cynical in your 30s or if you have to grow up, and how exactly do you do that while still being who you are.

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Q: On the DVD for "Jersey Girl," you say that you should be shot if you're 40, and you're still wearing the Silent Bob coat. Do you want to take back that comment?"

A: Well, I got five more years. But even if I'm not in the coat on film, I'll be wearing it in real life because it's the only piece of wardrobe that still fits me. I love that coat. It was my coat before it was Silent Bob's coat. If I was in that coat professionally when I was 40, it wouldn't bother me. It would be totally OK with it. But I don't foresee it happening.

Q: So, no "Clerks III"?

A: If there was a "Clerks III," it would only happen if I was in my 40s and I had something to say about being in my 40s. Let's say this movie made $500 million and the Weinstein Company said, "We need a sequel tomorrow," I couldn't do it. I could only come to "Clerks II" after 12 years. Without having something to say, there's no point in just showing these dudes just being wacky at work.

Q: What was it like directing your wife in "Clerks II"?

A: I loved it. It's the one time that I get to boss her around, and she can't fight back. Usually, it's vice-versa.

Q: What was it like for you before "Clerks" hit?

A: My life was a lot like it was for those guys in the first "Clerks." I was living with my folks in the house I grew up in. I'd get up in the morning and go hang out at the Quick Stop where I worked. Our boss was never around, though, so it never felt like work. We'd sit around all day, watching movies and gabbing.

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Q: Are you obsessed with any TV show or CD?

A: I watch "Entourage," "The Simpsons," "Desperate Housewives". And I'm a total "Battlestar Galactica" geek. It's so amazing. CD wise, I love "Never Mind The Bollocks" by the Sex Pistols. I met Johnny Lydon recently. The dude is chock-o-block with integrity. He never sold out. And, after all these years, the CD sounds better than just about anything else out there.

Q: What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

A: I have a long history of weird things I've eaten so it's hard to narrow it down to one example ... Oysters are pretty weird. I eat those Little Debbie pies all of the time. I love them. I've actually had clerks at the supermarket say to me, "Dude, those things cost 99 cents for a dozen. Why are you doing that to yourself, man?"

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