Sometimes in Hollywood some of the best films started out simply as a joke. That was the case with Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Franchise. Those two films spawned out of a fake trailer that played during the Grind House films, Death Proof & Planet Terror. It turns out that it’s also the case with Kevin Smith’s new film Tusk, coming out later this year.
It has been a few years since Kevin Smith’s last film, Red State (2011). Since then he has been focusing most of his time on his Podcast; he has about four different shows a week. In fact the writer-director enjoys doing the Podcast so much he actually created his own Podcast network called Smodcast. He has explained that the reason for this transition into internet radio over film was due mostly to frustrations with the bureaucracy and red tape of Hollywood. But in the case of Tusk, that red tape is what made it all possible.
Smith had plans to make a final Clerks film sometime in 2014. The film has had a lot of snags. Miramax still owns the rights to Clerks due to the initial purchase of the original film in 1994. So for Kevin Smith to make Clerks 3, he would have to go through Miramax and the Weinstein’s to do it. Unfortunately sometimes Hollywood’s wheels turn rather slowly.
While trying to work out the details with Miramax, Kevin continued to be Kevin. During one of his Podcasts, Smodcast #259, the idea for the film Tusk was born. During the show there was a segment where Kevin read and ad for a man looking for a lodger. The ad offered a double sized room, full run of the house and all its amenities under the condition that for two hours a day you would wear a walrus outfit for him. He would also randomly throw you fish and crabs, which you are then expected to eat. This simple little ad, which in later Podcasts he mentioned turned out to be a joke, spawned a whole area of conversation that ended up being the skeleton for the plot of Tusk.
After the show the idea stuck with Smith. A few weeks later he had the script for Tusk. While waiting to work out the details for Clerks 3 Kevin halfheartedly put some feelers out there for Tusk. To his surprise and delight it started to become more of a reality than Clerks. A lot of people responded very well to the idea. It’s new, it’s unique, it’s all around screwed up, and best of all it can be filmed cheaply. In November of 2013 it became clear that Kevin Smith’s next film would be Tusk not clerks 3. Don’t get scared, Clerks 3 has not been canceled. It has been nearly pushed back while details are still worked out.
But there you have it. A simple idea and joke became a script. And now it will become a film in the fall of 2014. The video I’ve included below is an edited version of the Smodcast number #259. I’ve cut it down to just the film pitch, so to speak. It runs about 26 minutes and is hilarious. Now I doubt very much the film will play out just as he says verbatim. But he does lay out an entire story, so it is possible. So please listen and enjoy. Think of it like a snack before dinner. Hah?... I wonder what walrus taste like?