You could call Kevin Smith a lot of things — a blabbermouth, a gossip, a hack — but there are two things you could never truthfully say about Kevin Smith: That he has no sense of humor about himself, or that he’s an asshole.
It’s those two qualities, in fact, that have kept so many of us drawn to Smith over the years (decades): He talks a lot; he hasn’t made a good movie since Red State (Red State was good! And I will cut those who disagree); and he’s been teasing sequels to Clerks and Mallrats for years, but they stubbornly remain on the “announced” stage of production.
But he’s a good guy. Like, an honest to God good fucking dude. Never forget that.
It’s probably for that reason I’ll never stop giving the guy a chance. Being a stand-up dude, especially in this industry, will get you far with us, especially when every other week brings news that a favorite actor is secretly an asshole (HAMM?!)
The latest example of this? Early yesterday morning, The Hollywood Reporter ran a story about MGM suing the Buckaroo Banzai writer and director, Earl Mac Rauch and Walter Richter, over the right to make a new TV series based on the movie. Rauch and Richter have asserted in the past that they own the rights to the movie, and MGM is suing basically to settle the matter and establish that they are free and clear to purse the television series. My guess is that MGM will ultimately win that lawsuit.
That series, by the way, is to be helmed by Kevin Smith and aired on Amazon. Or it was going to be directed by Kevin Smith, until Smith got wind of this lawsuit — which is the first he’d ever heard about a legal issue over the rights — and decided to drop out of the project.
As Kevin Smith is wont to do, he made this announcement on Facebook, and when I clicked, I expected a brief statement offering his side of the story. Instead, there was a video, and of course, the video was 20 minutes long, and of course I clicked play, and of course I got sucked into the rambling, personable, self-deprecating statement that went on forever (COME ON, KEVIN. You know we have other stories to write, don’t you?).
The long and short of it is this: He didn’t want to make Buckaroo Banzai without the blessing of Earl Mac Rauch and Walter Richter. Hell, I don’t even know if Kevin Smith talked to MGM before he made the announcement, but he’s out. While no scripts had been ordered, it sounds like they had gone pretty far down the road on the project, and Smith is bummed as hell that he won’t finally get to make a television series.
“It’s wrong for me to be involved in anything that hurts the creators of something I love,” he said at the end of the video, summing up the 20 minutes of digressions about his Mom, Dolly Parton, Mad Men, and Buckaroo Banzai.
And that, folks, is hard not to respect.