After ''Jersey Girl'' bellyflopped, it's no wonder that filmmaker Kevin Smith would want to go back to a time when he was shooting logistically simple projects without big-name Hollywood stars whose on-set romance would overshadow the movie. According to the Hollywood Reporter, he's about to shoot a sequel to his 1994 debut feature, the micro-budgeted, no-stars hit ''Clerks,'' titled ''The Passion of the Clerks.'' The new film, which takes place 10 years after the original, will catch up with disgruntled convenience- and video-store clerks Dante and Randal, with Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson reprising their roles. Of course, parking-lot stoners Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Smith), who've appeared in nearly every Smith film, will pop up as well. Shooting begins in January.
The announcement comes just before the Sept. 7 release of ''Clerks X,'' the 10th-anniversary three-disc collector's edition of the movie. ''After working on the 'Clerks' 10th-anniversary DVD for the better part of the last year, I fell in love with the characters all over again,'' Smith said in a statement. ''The whole process reminded me why I got into the film business in the first place: to make talky, low-budget comedies.'' (Indeed, Smith famously spent less than $30,000 shooting ''Clerks.'') ''So I wrote this script about the older and not-so-wiser Dante and Randal, as they try to deal with a decade of further disillusionment, even less sex, and eroding pop culture.''