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Miramax was the independent studio of the 1990's, especially considering that it was the stomping grounds for both Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino at the beginning of their careers. With similar approaches to filmmaking and dialogue, the two writer/directors handed in Clerks and Reservoir Dogs, and the rest was history. Yet those similarities always just seemed like a really big coincidence.
At least, it seemed that way until today's Reddit AMA with Kevin Smith, where during the course of answering the questions of fans, it came out that Clerks owes its existence to one famous scene in Reservoir Dogs...
"...the discussion of LIKE A VIRGIN and Madonna at the start of RESERVOIR DOGS. That was life-changing for me. I was like "We're allowed to talk about other movies in movies now? I WANT IN!!! Because that was my whole world and lexicon then: movies. My friends and I didn't have real conversations as much as we quoted RAISING ARIZONA at one other. So when I saw Q's characters doing it, I felt empowered to do it with my characters as well. And that was CLERKS.
That's right: if it wasn't for Quentin Tarantino's monologue about how Like A Virgin is all about a woman remembering her younger years (to put it mildly), we'd have never gotten the story of Dante and Randall's adventures at the Quick Stop. Watch the referenced clip here...
It's easy to imagine that the first scene written for Clerks was probably a very similar, and just as famous scene of lead characters bantering about pop culture and its more logical ramifications. Scroll down, and you'll see the infamous "Death Star Contractors" scene from Clerks...
Of course, Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino would continue to pledge loyalty to Harvey Weinstein, even when Miramax went to Disney and The Weinstein Company became the awards and independent powerhouse that it is today. Still, it's nice to know that both directors can co-exist in the business without overlapping in style and subject matter. While both seem like carbon copies in their bare bones, Smith focuses more on flat out comedy (with experiments in genre filmmaking,) while Tarantino is all about crime thrillers, grindhouse exploitation, and Westerns. Their approaches may be similar, but the subject matter is all the difference in the world. At least until a Tarantino/Smith crossover picture occurs, which will more than likely star Michael Parks.
You can catch Kevin Smith's Tusk in theaters now, with Clerks III going in front of cameras by next June – if he holds true to his word. Quentin Tarantino, on the other hand, will be shooting The Hateful Eight as early as this December, for a 2015 release date.