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Zeitgeist: Kevin Smith's 'Clerks 3' to be based on New Jersey Devils coaching ensemble

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New film to feature Smith's characters and every other resident in New Jersey coaching the Devils.

Director Smith (center) with Devils coaches and the poster for Clerks 3
Director Smith (center) with Devils coaches and the poster for Clerks 3

Director Kevin Smith is finally set to begin filming the final installment of his signature series and the hockey movie he has wanted to make for years. And he can thank his favorite NHL team for the inspiration for both.

On his latest SModcast podcast, Smith announced his intention to direct Clerks 3 based on the New Jersey Devils and their unusual multi-headed coaching staff.

The Devils recently fired head coach Peter DeBoer and replaced him with a committee behind the bench, led temporarily by general manager Lou Lamoriello, and including former Capitals coach Adam Oates and longtime New Jersey assistant Scott Stevens. Coach Tommy Albelin and goalie coach Chris Terreri also remain on staff.

According to Smith, the Devils' family of coaches helped him make the connection between the workaday lives of his Clerks protagonists and the hockey culture he had been trying to build a film around for almost a decade.

"I don't know if they were smoking the same [expletive] I was at the time, but Lou [Lamoriello] was like, [expletive] yeah, sign us the [expletive] up."  -Director Kevin Smith on Clerks 3, starring the New Jersey Devils coaching staff

"Like, what if the Devs hired Randall and Dante, too, man," Smith said to his podcast co-host and producing partner Scott Mosier, explaining his thought process and referencing the main characters from the previous two Clerks movies. "And everyone's behind the bench and, like, giving the players tips and [expletive]. And what if they went on to win the [expletive] Stanley Cup?! That'd be [expletive] dope, dude, holy [expletive].

"Then, I thought, oh, [expletive]. What if, like, the whole state of New Jersey was made coach of the Devils? Then every mother[expletive] in Jersey would get a day with the [expletive] Cup. So I thought, 'I gotta write this [expletive] down.'"

Smith said Devils management was surprisingly game for the idea, a wild departure from the normally staid, buttoned-up public image of the team.

"I don't know if they were smoking the same [expletive] I was at the time, but Lou was like, [expletive] yeah, sign us the [expletive] up," Smith said.

Clerks, Smith's first feature, was a surprise hit in 1994 and helped spawn the decade's independent film movement. He has directed 11 films, many set in and featuring recurring characters from his "ViewAskewniverse," which takes its name from his production house. Since announcing his retirement from film-making in 2010, Smith has directed three movies.

Smith had been trying to make a hockey movie called Hit Somebody for years and recently spoke of it becoming a miniseries. But setting Clerks 3 around the Devils kills two birds with one puck, according to Smith.

Filming will begin in next fall, once financing has been finalized and he has cast the rest of the movie. In addition to returning Clerks stars Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson, Smith said preliminary talks have already begun with actors Rosario Dawson, Michael Parks, Seth Rogan, Justin Long, John Goodman, Haley Joel Osment, Jason Mewes and Johnny Depp, who Smith hopes will play the 72-year old Lamoriello.

"Johnny's a [expletive] chameleon, man. He would kill it," Smith said of Depp. "But I gotta ask all nice and [expletive] first because you never know what that cat's gonna do."

Smith did confirm that his Silent Bob character, which he has played in multiple movies, would return for Clerks 3.

"He'll be the Devils play-by-play man. Silent Bob. That'd be [expletive] funny as [expletive], dude."

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This is not real. It is fake. But if Kevin Smith actually makes this movie, Dom and I should get producer credit. The "plot" was his idea.