And a Q&A with director James Merendino

By Oliver Gettell
Updated December 15, 2015 at 08:51 PM EST

Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2

  • Movie

Punk is dead, long live punk.

Seventeen years after James Merendino’s semi-autobiographical indie movie SLC Punk broke out as a cult favorite, the writer-director is back with another tale of rebellion and coming-of-age against the backdrop of Salt Lake City.

EW can exclusively reveal that Punk’s Dead: SLC Punk 2 will debut in its titular city Feb. 11, followed by select screenings across the country via Tugg. The sequel will be available for early download Feb. 16 and on home video March 8 from Cinedigm.

Merendino chatted with EW and passed along an exclusive clip from the new film, which features several returning characters — including Michael Goorjian as the late Heroin Bob, Devon Sawa as Sean the Beggar, and Sarah Clarke taking over as Trish — while also introducing a new generation of disaffected youths.

The newcomers are Ben Schnetzer as Ross, the goth love child of Bob and Trish, and Hannah Marks and Colson Baker (aka rapper Machine Gun Kelly) as punks Penny and Crash. Watch the clip (which features some mature language):

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you first decide you wanted to revisit the world of SLC Punk?

James Merendino: Almost right away. I’ve had many different permutations of various types of ideas. I even wanted to make an SLC Goth right away, or SLC Mod. So I’ve had the idea for a long time. Eventually it just seemed right because a whole new generation of outsiders in Salt Lake City were coming up … and I wanted to make another movie about being an outsider.

What can you tell us about the new characters?

Ross is a very goth, spooky kid. He’s very reserved — like, even goth kids are afraid of him. He’s sort of Oscar Wilde-y. And one day he’s hanging with out with these two punks — one’s a good friend, one he doesn’t really know that well — and they take him to a punk show, where he is sort of able to connect with himself.

Punk’s Dead was partially funded by fans. How did that go?

We reached out in an Indiegogo campaign and got a lot of people to give money — and these guys don’t have money. I mean they’re punks, and they’re young. They actually became sort of the backbone, the support of the movie. There’s no way I would have made the movie without these people. In fact, I changed the script a lot based on feedback from social media.

Can you give an example?

Well, originally I was thinking of making a movie about a punk-rock midlife crisis, and they were all like, “No one wants to see a punk-rock midlife crisis movie, dude!” [Laughs] In a way, they’re the people I answer to. That’s my studio, these fans. But I didn’t want to just make another SLC Punk, I didn’t want to regurgitate that. So instead I made more of a spinoff or anthology.

Is it too early to start thinking about No. 3?

I have a script for a third SLC Punk. It would take a lot of money. … It’s Stevo-centric, the character that was played in [the first film] by Matthew Lillard. That character, for me, went everywhere. He left Salt Lake and experienced the whole world. I’ve got him all over the place.

Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2

  • Movie
  • James Merendino