Kevin Smith’s upcoming meta sequel “Clerks III” is both a tribute to the struggles that Smith endured to make his first film and a celebration of the cinematic universe he built through his company, View Askew Productions. And it just wouldn’t be a View Askewniverse movie without Ben Affleck.
Though Affleck didn’t appear in the original “Clerks,” he has been a fixture in Smith’s films ever since. After famously playing the Asshole From Fashionable Male in “Mallrats” and Holden McNeil in “Chasing Amy,” he had memorable cameos in films like “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” “Clerks II,” and “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.”
So when the time came to shoot the long-delayed “Clerks III,” Smith knew he had to reach out to Affleck about a cameo. And his old friend was happy to oblige.
Speaking to Variety at the “Clerks III” premiere, Smith recounted the joyful experience of working with Affleck once again.
“He was like, ‘I’m there. It’ll be great,’” Smith said. “It was so blissful. He came in for an hour.”
Affleck plays an actor auditioning for the film that Dante and Randal make in “Clerks III,” and Smith went on to explain that the character is named after an old inside joke between the two friends. It all stems from the fact that Affleck used to mock Smith for how much time he spent engaging with fans on his company’s online message board.
“I had written a part for him that was predicated on this old message board that we had at Viewaskew.com,” Smith said. “He was always fascinated by how much time I spent on it, and he was like, ‘Who are these people? Why do you talk to them?’ I was like, ‘Because they’re my bosses; they actually buy the tickets. Never mind what a critic says. This is the person that paid to see the movie.’”
Affleck was particularly amused by Smith’s acrimonious relationship with a user known only by the pseudonym “Boston John.”
“[Boston John] goes, ‘Kev, the board sucks. It ain’t what it used to be. Shut it down,’” Smith said. “And Affleck found that hysterical. He was like, ‘This guy named Boston John is literally telling you what to do with your life!’”
Smith never forgot about that conversation. When the time came to name Affleck’s character, Smith knew exactly what to call him.
“So when we were coming out to do the audition scene, I handed him the pages and he looked [at his character’s name] and he was like ‘Boston John, the pimp!’” Smith said.