Rosario Dawson Talks Her Surprising Role In Clerks 3 And The Emotional Weight That Came With It [Exclusive Interview]

This interview contains a major spoiler for "Clerks III," so don't read on if you haven't seen the movie.

Kevin Smith's return to the "Clerks" franchise gets more heartbreaking than any of the filmmaker's previous comedic efforts. All of his movies have had some semblance of heart, especially "Chasing Amy," but when it comes to "Clerks III," there are two different layers of emotional weight at play here. First, the film draws inspiration from Smith's own life by having Quick Stop co-owner Randal Graves suffer a near-fatal heart attack that inspires him to do something with his life, which means making his own "Clerks" movie about the convenience store shenanigans he's experienced with his partner-in-convenience, Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran). But Randal isn't the only one struggling with his place in life.

Early on in "Clerks III," we're given the shocking revelation that Dante's "Clerks II" love interest Becky, played enchantingly by Rosario Dawson, tragically died not long after the events of the sequel where they fell in love and seemed destined to have a happily ever after. This is made all the more tragic by the fact that, if you don't remember, Becky was already pregnant with Dante's child, meaning he lost almost everything that was meant to fulfill the rest of his life. So "Clerks III" finds Dante dealing with some powerful emotions, especially when Becky appears to him in a dream while he's visiting her grave.

Ahead of the release of "Clerks III," which is playing in theaters for a limited time and touring the country with Kevin Smith himself, we spoke to Rosario Dawson about her surprisingly emotional role in the film. But it's not all pulling at heartstrings, because we also talk about how the film didn't have the budget to make her a true Force ghost, as well as her hopes of returning for "Daredevil: Born Again" at Marvel Studios.

'It's pretty devastating and also just super real'

All right, so how did Kevin Smith pitch you the return of Becky? Did he come right out and say, "I want you to come back, but you're a Force ghost." Or was there more to it than that.

[laughs] He did actually. Well, it was actually, I think, even in the script, it was implied or something, we definitely spoke about it to the point where when I showed up there and we were filming, and I was asking how he was going to do the special effect to make me look like a Force ghost. Are we going to do takes where I'm there and I'm not there? He was like, "Oh, we don't have the budget for that. No, you're just going to be there. It'll be fine." 

So yeah, it's kind of hilarious. Obviously, he's got the Force ghost sort of thing... He's always had "Star Wars" be such a big part of all of this. He really loved being able to bring Becky back in that way. But no, he didn't tell me. I had to read the script to find out what happened. I was really surprised because I saw it at the premiere, it was the first time I'd seen it and I hadn't seen the cut or anything, so I didn't know that they had brought in the photo [revealing Becky's obituary] so early on and kind of break the news really quickly in the film.

It's shocking.

Yeah, it's really shocking. I love Becky. I really fell in love with Becky, and I think certain moments and aspects about her have really resonated with people over the years, so I was just like, this is really controversial.

Yeah, it is. I was wondering, was it a little bit disappointing because you didn't really get to live out that relationship with Dante after you guys had that happy ending in "Clerks II" all those years ago?

I know, and it's traumatizing, it's triggering. Some of those flashback moments, it's gruesome. It's pretty devastating and also just super real. We lose people that we love, when we think of them, we love them. That's how I feel about Becky, I love her. It's sad, but also it gave such a richness to these characters and the things that they've lived through. And you get it. You're really understanding those breakdowns that they have, and some of these conversations, like Brian's monologue of what he's going through, is just so powerful. He had to bear the brunt of the emotional weight of expressing the loss of Becky, you know what I mean? 

I got to just show up and tease him and just try to bring back that energy that she had. That was really fun to watch. I was super nervous about it, because it was only two days we shot. It was just jumping in and out, and it was just like, "Whoa." I was so excited to do it, but I remember when I was watching the film, just wondering like, "Oh my God, is it going to feel like her?" But I think it does.

You guys even fit another ass-to-mouth reference in there.

[laughs] I thought that was good. I really loved his filmmaking, like that moment where we're at movies and the sweater drops, and it looks like I'm going to go pick it up, and then it turns into a Randal shot. I love the [shift from] black and white to color. I really thought it was such a perfect amalgamation of the first and the second films.


To see her back, to see everyone back, to see the style of filmmaking back, just the journey that it's all been in every iteration. Including just independent film, where we're at now with that, it was just a really beautiful reflection.

'I'd love to explore that character again'

For sure. Now, before we go, I have to ask, since it's official now that Daredevil is coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Are you hoping for —

Not The Punisher! This is official.

[laughs] Yeah, Daredevil is official.

Daredevil is official.

Are you hoping for a return as Claire Temple?

Oh, oh my God, of course. I'd love that, I'd love to explore that character again. That was one character where that was the first time I'd ever gotten to be with a character for so long. I'd never experienced that across different showrunners on different shows. That was really interesting and really cool. I'd be really curious to know what they could possibly be thinking of for her.

Especially with all of those other characters for you to interact with, too.

Mm-hmm, yeah.

Thank you so much, Rosario. It was great seeing you in "Clerks III," and I can't wait for "Ahsoka."

Thank you, thank you!

"Clerks III" is playing for a limited time in theaters and will also be touring the country in a rolling roadshow.