Directed by Kevin Smith in 1994, Clerks has become a cult classic.
One of our favorite characters was “The Chewlies Gum Guy.”
Clerks tells the story of two convenience store clerks who work at a Quick Stop in New Jersey. Scott Schiaffo portrayed the Chewlies gum representative, who tried to frame Dante and Randal as “cancer merchants” in attempt to convince smokers to buy gum.
Scott was kind enough to do an interview with us.
1. Your acting debut in Clerks has been well received; can you tell us how you landed the part?
SS: I saw an ad in my local newspaper in the classifieds.
Back then aspiring actors would search a trade paper called Backstage and you would also look in the classifieds. It was rare that anything decent was in the local classifieds but this one sounded really interesting and was for a feature film to be shot in New Jersey.
Remember this was before digital when film makers actually shot on film! And there just weren’t many films being shot in NJ at the time, most of the gigs were in New York.
2. How long did it take for you to prepare for the role?
SS: There was a good chunk of time from being cast to filming, how much exactly I am not sure but certainly that info has been visited by now.
The character and the language was a challenge. It was a rapid fire assault of words! And it was shot more like theater, all long takes, and no cuts.
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3. Clerks, to me, symbolized Generation X. What do you think it will be best remembered for?
SS: I think it captured the disenfranchised youth of Generation X nicely (most of which were over educated and under employed).
And the indie brutally low budget quality that worked as an aesthetic and gave the film style, someone said it was the absence of style that became a style.
4. In the film ‘Vulgar’, you portrayed Travis Lee who got arrested by the police. Tell us about the role.
SS: Again I am a loud mouthed jerk, who is also a violent person. What character actor doesn’t want to have a standoff with the police onscreen?
5. Recently, you were featured on the AMC TV Show Comic Book Men; what are you working on now?
SS: I play “Don Smith” Kevin Smith’s father in the Kevin Smith Biopic “Shooting Clerks”.
That film is about to be released through a mini tour this fall and then it will be available on demand and I believe on DVD too at some point.
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