It’s a collision of an ’80s cult classic and a ’90s cult director.
Kevin Smith has announced that he is teaming with MGM to develop a television version of the 1984 cult film, and favorite here at FilmBuffOnline, The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The Eight Dimension.
Speaking on his Hollywood Babble-On podcast, Smith stated that his recent directorial turn for an episode of The CW’s The Flash, has lead to a number of invitations to meetings around Hollywood. One of those meetings was with MGM, who pitched the idea of adapting the cult film into a television series.
Doin’ [The Flash] has opened up weird doors. MGM said, ‘Hey, we hear that you like Buckaroo Banzai.’… So they called my agent and they were like, ‘We think we’d like to talk to him about — y’know, we did — with Fargo, we took Fargo and turned it into a TV show and it’s won awards and shit.’ They were like, ‘We have another property that we wanna do that with, and we were wondering if he’s interested and has ever heard of Buckaroo Banzai.’
Smith presented the studio with the following idea on how to bring the film to the small screen –
Basically you just do the entire movie for season one, then season two you finally do the sequel we’ve all dreamed about, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League.
Smith also stated his intention to possibly bring back some of the original cast from the film, like Peter Weller or John Lithgow, but have them play new roles, most likely villains. He specifically name-checked Weller for perhaps playing Buckaroo’s arch enemy, Hanoi Xan, ho has only appeared in the films’ novelization and spinoff comics. The director is looking to “take it out and try to find a home for it” during the next month.
This is not the first time that there has been an attempt to turn Buckaroo Banzais’ adventures into weekly television fodder. In 1998, FOX was developing such a series with Buckaroo’s creator, screenwriter Earl Mac Rauch and the film’s director, W. D. Richter. The project never got beyond a pilot script and promotional video seen below. The screenplay did serve as the basis for one of the Buckaroo Banzai comic book miniseries from publisher Moonstone Comics a few years back.
Honestly, I am not sure quite how to feel about this.
Both Buckaroo Banzai and Kevin Smith were big influences in my life in their respective decades. Buckaroo Banzai showed a high school kid that he didn’t have to follow just one preordained path in life but he could live it, to quote the film’s opening scroll, “going in many directions at once.” A decade later, Smiths’ movies showed me that there were others out there who had the same geeky conversations that my friends and I had, who had the same stupid relationship problems that I did. Together they molded a good portion of who I am and what drives me today.
But I feel oddly… detached, I guess is the right word. While I do love both of these things, I am not sure that they resonate on frequencies that are harmonious with each other. The fact that Smith is willing to reach out to Rauch is, of course, a good sign. I am concerned that this might not make the Reese’s peanut butter cup of geekdom that everyone else seems to think it will be.
Of course we should realize that this is the vaguest of vaporware at this point. No script has been written. No network has even been met with yet. This might be the only time we ever hear of this project. Such is the nature of Hollywood. But we’ll be keeping out out to see what, if anything, develops. Believe it.