Despite announcing his retirement from filmmaking, Kevin Smith is in that special category of “retired” creative types who just go on creating. Though he’s since turned the planned hockey drama Hit Somebody into a potential miniseries, he’s been working on writing Clerks III as his swansong from the director’s chair. Now, however, Smith has another film set to roll before Dante and co return, with Justin Long and Red State star Michael Parks lined up for Tusk.
The horror film was born when Smith began talking about a real Craigslist-type posting from a walrus-obsessed weirdo asking for a roommate who would dress and act as the tusked sea mammal. Things spiralled until the Clerks creator began to seriously consider turning the story into a low-budget chiller film in the style of Hammer horror.
“It’s about a guy who turns another guy into a f**ing 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 s**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.’”
Smith reached out to Parks to collaborate once more. “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.’"
With Clerks III still awaiting financing, Smith is gearing up to shoot Tusk next month with a thrifty budget around the $2 million mark. For more on the film and his thoughts on the Batfleck situation, head to EW.