Kevin Smith has recently signed Jeepers Creepers actor Justin Long for his walrus-themed horror thriller Tusk. Long, who last worked with Smith on Zack and Miri Make a Porno, will be co-starring with Smith’s Red State alumna Michael Parks. Long is best known for his roles in comedy films such as Dodgeball, Accepted and as the comic relief in Live Free or Die Hard, as well as playing an iOS in many Apple commercials opposite comedian John Hodgman. Kevin Smith is best known for his home grown New Jersey-centric films, such as Clerks and Mallrats although his last, and first, thriller, Red State (2011) was met with mixed reviews, garnering an overall rating of 58% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Tusk is loosely based off of a classified ad that Smith discovered where a man was offering free lodgings to anyone who would be willing to co-habitate with him while dressed as a walrus. After asking his fans on his popular podcast Smodcast to tweet #WalrusYes or #WalrusNo to weigh in on whether or not the movie will be made, the overwhelming response was in the positive, prompting Smith to pen the 80 pages script and set the film in motion. Robert Kurtzman, legendary special effects coordinator and the man responsible for From Dusk Till Dawn, will be doing the effects for this film. Quentin Tarantino, another man responsible for From Dusk Till Dawn, was the first actor considered for Long’s role, but apparently the director turned the role down.
It remains to be seen whether or not Smith can get out from underneath the heavy mantle of his own aesthetic by creating a sincerely chilling movie, as the film conceptually started as a joke and has been referred to by Smith as a “cuddlier Human Centipede.” Tusk will be shooting this October in order to aim for a Sundance 2014 premiere, coming before Smith’s supposed directorial swan-song Clerks 3, a throw back to his own original voice as a filmmaker, and presumably immediately before Smith’s television hockey comedy miniseries, Hit Somebody! Will the timing of these films prove to be a detriment, or will the invited comparisons fully showcase the talents of Jersey’s own auteur? Only time will tell.