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Kevin Smith was 'terrified' about how the Clerks III trailer would be received

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Kevin Smith is, at this point, a film industry veteran whose many directing credits include 1994's Clerks, 1995's Mallrats, and 2019's Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. But when Smith dropped by EW's Comic-Con studio Thursday the filmmaker revealed that he felt great trepidation before the recent premiere of the trailer for his upcoming comedy sequel, Clerks III.

"I was terrified the day we dropped the trailer," Smith tells Ew. "I thought Lionsgate did an amazing job with the trailer. Cutting a trailer is a fine art form that I have no experience of doing. I can make a movie, barely, you ask the critics, they'll tell you! But making a trailer of that movie? You've got to give it to somebody who's exceptional at that. They cut such an amazing trailer, and I loved it, and I watched it over and over again. It made me rewatch the movie that I'd written and made. So, as we prepared to drop it, I was terrified. Being I've spent years on the internet, [I know] that the thing you love is usually the thing that a lot of people will hate and come at you for. Right before we dropped the trailer, I spent two hours watching it back-to-back-to-back, because I was like, soon, they're going to rob you of this. Soon, some random stranger is going to be like, you suck, and this trailer's terrible, and you're going to roll a f---ing tear and then all this love that you fell for it is gone."

Clerks III
Clerks III

JOHN BAER/Lionsgate Trevor Fehrman, Brian O'Halloran, Rosario Dawson, and Jeff Anderson in 'Clerks III'

As it happened, Smith needn't have worried.

"I was so delighted," he said. "Short story is, the internet seemed to embrace the trailer. Long story was like, Lionsgate, when you work with an actual studio and shit, they can give you data. They did a data breakdown afterwards, and I was so delighted, because there's, like, three categories, right? There's like 'positive' and 'negative' and the middle one is 'indifferent.' And so all of our reactions were positive to indifferent. And I was like, ah, to be felt indifferent toward! Like, oh my god, if I'd had a little bit of that on Masters of the Universe (Smith's recent, mauled-by-the-internet animated reboot)? Ah, that would have been nice. So it was a delightful day for me."

In Clerks III, Smith returns to the Quick Stop convenience store for a sequel inspired by the near-death experience he suffered in 2018.

"I wanted to tell my heart attack story with my characters," Smith recently told EW. "So Randal, the video-store guy [played by Jeff Anderson], has a massive heart attack. While he recovers, he laments that he's wasted his life watching movies and never thought about making one himself. Randal and Dante [Brian O'Halloran] essentially make their own version of Clerks, a black-and-white movie called Inconvenience. It's incredibly meta. The snake really eats its own tail, swallows itself, and s---s itself out, and that is Clerks III. You can put that on the poster! [Laughs]"

Lionsgate will be releasing Clerks III exclusively in theaters on Sept. 13 and 15 via Fathom Events.

Watch that trailer for Clerks III below, and our exclusive video with Smith above.

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