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Kevin Smith Unretires to Make a Walrus Monster Movie, Talks Ben Affleck as Batman

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | September 26, 2013 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | September 26, 2013 |

Not like anyone actually expected Kevin Smith to stay retired, but in addition to Clerks III, which is still on the backburner, Kevin Smith announced plans to make Tusk, a movie he wrote with Michael Parks (Red State) and Justin Long.

It sounds weird. Here’s Kevin Smith’s description, from EW:

It’s about a guy who turns another guy into a f-king human walrus. As weird as it is in my head when I talk about it, they finally sent me the costume designs by Robert Kurtzman, and I was like, “Holy sh-t, it’s a monster movie, I had no idea.” I thought I was making a kind of sister thriller to Red State. As soon as I saw the designs, I go, “Of course this is a monster movie and he’s Dr. Frankenstein.”

It was written for Michael Parks, who I loved in Red State. That was one of the best times I ever had my career, sitting on a set, rolling a camera on a true f-king genius, who is pretending to be somebody else and I forgot who the real guy is because his performance is so good. I wrote the script around him, so it’s nothing but Michael Parks dialogue porn. Justin Long is the guy in the walrus suit. I needed a guy who has expressive eyes because once you’re in that suit, you’re covered. I reached out to Justin and he wrote back and was like, “This is awfully scary but how can we not? Let’s fall down this hole.” So it’ll be Parks versus Long trying to answer the age-old question, “Is man indeed a walrus at heart?” It’s a f-ked up movie, dude.

Good for Smith, man. I’m glad he’s going to continue making movies, and I’m glad he’s making movies that are both f**ked up, and that he’s passionate about. He’s needed in the film world, goddamnit. He takes a lot of sh*t in the media (including from us), but you know what? In print, he can come off as an assbag, but every time I revisit one of his “An Evening with Kevin Smith” talks, I remember how f**king fantastic this guy is. Kevin Smith should never be reduced to print; it just doesn’t capture his tone, his personality, or what a good guy he is.

That said, I did love what he had to say, in print, about Ben Affleck’s reasons for taking on the Batman role. From EW:

It caught me off guard because I too thought he was on this different path. He fought his way back from wherever he was and is now at the top of the mountain. I never would’ve guessed this move. Why wouldn’t he just be like, “Argo f-k yourself,” to any superhero movie at this point. And then I realized why: If you ask an 8-year-old, “Hey, who’s Robert Downey Jr.?” they go “Iron Man!” If you ask an 8-year-old, “Hey, who’s Ben Affleck?” they look at you blankly. Now, at the end of the day, when he plays Batman, he’ll have career vitality. He’ll have bought himself another 10 years as an actor, not just as an director.

But more importantly, there are two personal reasons. One I know for a fact: the guys always wanted to play Batman. He loved Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, and one of the reasons he did Daredevil was because [he thought] they were never going to do another Batman after the disastrous Batman & Robin. So he was like, [Daredevil] is the closest I’ll ever get to Dark Knight Returns.

He’s always wanted to play Batman. I live in Affleck’s old house, and he built a panic room and the entrance was built to look like a Batcave entrance. It’s a bookcase that you click a button and the bookcase slides back. He’s the only guy I know that would go to do something like that. I asked him, “What did that cost to do?” He was like, “50 thousand bucks.” I was like, “Worth every f-king penny, man.” That’s amazing! If you’re going to have Pearl Harbor, Armageddon type money, build a f-king Batcave entrance in your house. So he’s always loved the character.

But the real reason, I suspect — and I haven’t spoke to him in probably a year and half, two years — but he’s got three kids, including a son. What father doesn’t want to bend down, lean down into their little boy’s ear after the movie’s done and whisper, “I’m Batman.” C’mon! That’s amazing! That’s an emotional enough reason there.

Ben Affleck had a panic room designed like the Bat Cave? Of course he did.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.