Writer/director Kevin Smith has cast Justin Long in his upcoming film, Tusk. Long will play a young man who becomes the boarder of an older man, to be played by Michael Parks, on the condition that he wear a walrus costume for certain hours of the day.
Although the premise sounds like it could lead to some laughs, Smith suggested when he originally talked about the true-life story that inspired the project that the story could be “a 21st century Hammer horror film.” It was on his SmodCast podcast that Smith and producing partner Scott Mosier first discussed the story of a rather strange personal ad that appeared on a British website advertising a room for rent in Brighton, so long as the tenant wore a walrus costume around the home at specific times during the time. Smith riffed as to how such a situation could lead to some horrific consequences.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Smith explained how he is gearing up to start production on the film next month – a remarkable feat given that he was only writing the film in July – and how it will serve up as a warm up to him directing Clerks III, presumably next year.
I think Tusk will be an ivory bridge, if you will, to Clerks III. I finished up the script [for Clerks] in May or June, but the timetable is pretty tough because the budget is larger. Tusk is a moveable feast at like $2 million and change, so it was way more nimble to put that together. Tusk was just something to do while waiting for news back on Clerks III. Suddenly, people were like, “Really? A human walrus? That sounds fucked up.” It suddenly took pole position. Then I started going, “Look, I do this, it’s going to make Clerks III even easier to do. I can warm up for Clerks III. It’s been a couple of years. Maybe I need some warmup pitches. But you definitely will see Tusk before you’ll see Clerks III. And if I have my way, you’ll see Tusk up in Sundance in January.
Parks and Long certainly seem like an odd combination for the big screen, but it does have me intrigued. The last time that Smith stepped outside of his comedy comfort zone, we got Red State, which was quite a rousing change-of-pace. And as much as I like his Clerks films and am looking forward to the third installment, I have to see that I am equally interested to see how this film will come together.