Kevin Smith’s next film has completely finished filming. The horror film by the cult filmmaker Kevin Smith entitled Tusk wrapped its principal photography last week in Los Angeles. The modern day monster movie was snapped up by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions at the Berlin Film Festival this past February for international distribution expected to come this fall while A24 Films will handle the domestic distribution. The deal done at Berlin was one of the biggest made by a Hollywood studio at the international film festival this year.
Tusk is the second horror film in a row for the cult filmmaker after 2011’s Red State. Tusk was written and directed by Kevin Smith with the idea being conceived during one of his extremely popular podcasts entitled SModcast which Smith does with his long-time friend and producer Scott Mosier. The film stars Justin Long as a podcast host and journalist named Wallace Bryton who goes missing in the backwoods of Manitoba, Canada while attempting to interview a mysterious seafarer with incredible stories and a curious penchant for walruses by the name of Mr. Howe played by Red State’s Michael Parks. After Bryton goes missing, his podcasting co-host Teddy Craft, played by The Sixth Sense’s Haley Joel Osment and Bryton’s girlfriend played by The Identity Thief’s Genesis Rodriguez go on the look for him. Filming took place predominately in North Carolina with a final two days scheduled in Los Angeles before Tusk was wrapped by Kevin Smith and crew.
The idea for Tusk came about during the recording of SModcast 259 entitled The Walrus And The Carpenter. In the podcast episode, Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier converse over an article featured on the Gumtree website about a homeowner offering room-and-board free of charge so long as the renter agrees to spend part of each day dressed in a realistic human-sized walrus costume. The conversation went on for nearly an hour reconstructing and imagining the hypothetical story based upon the ad. The cult filmmaker then turned to Twitter and asked his followers to tweet ‘#WalrusYes’ if they wanted to see the hypothetical film they had been discussing or ‘#WalrusNo’ if they didn’t. An overwhelming amount of followers tweeted back ‘#WalrusYes.’ Soon after Smith entered production, the post on Gumtree was revealed to by a prank by Brighton poet and big fan of Smith’s work, Chris Parkinson. Kevin Smith would go on to hire Parkinson to be a producer on Tusk.
Smith wrote the 80-page screenplay while waiting for Bob Weinstein’s approval of his Clerks III pitch package. Tusk was originally titled The Walrus & the Carpenter and is set in Bifrost, Manitoba. Tusk is being financed by Demarest Films after talks fell through with Blumhouse due to Smith’s expedited timeline. The cult filmmaker originally planned on premiering the film at the 2014 Sundance film festival but had to push the film’s premier back to allow for more time for the score to be completed.
Unlike the writer-director’s previous film Red State, Tusk will have a conventional theater release in the fall of 2014. With production on Kevin Smith’s latest horror film Tusk wrapped, the eclectic cult filmmaker turns his sights to his Krampus horror anthology film before closing out the saga he began his filmmaking career with, Clerks III.
By: Benjamin Murray