UPDATED: Did Kevin Smith land his Moby Dick for 'Tusk?'
Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 5:34 PM Central
Last updated Monday, December 2, 2013 at 5:23 PM Central
by John Couture
I admit it, I'm a huge Kevin Smith fan. If you've been around this site for any bit of time, this hardly comes as a shock to you, but I think I've even outdid myself on this one.
As you may know, Kev and company are currently on site in Charlotte, North Carolina prepping for the start of production on his next film Tusk. Yes, this is the film based on one of his podcasts that centered around an odd personals posting. Basically, it boils down to a story about a man who has an unnatural obsession with the walrus and goes to great lengths to recreate an experience he had with one when he was younger.
Yes, it's bizarre and yes, it's going to be a Hammer style horror film. And yes, we can't wait to see it. Michael Parks has been cast as the lodger/walrus enthusiast and Justin Long is the unsuspecting podcaster who makes the unwelcome transformation into the walrus. Heck, even Haley Joel Osment has snagged a role ("I see walrus people").
I could probably spend an entire article talking about Kev and Bruce Willis and how it all comes back full circle to The Sixth Sense, but that would be a tangent and I've already buried the lead enough as it is. In the latest update on the film that Kevin is writing for The Hollywood Reporter, he updates casting and the funding crisis that was saved at the last minute by the fine folks at Demarest (more on them in a minute). It's a really fine read and you should spend the time reading it if you haven't yet.
The cliffhanger of that article and the impetus for this article is the casting of his Javert type character who will be pursuing Parks' serial killer. You could say that the killer is this Mountie's (the film is set in Canada, eh) Moby Dick.
I know walrus and whales are sort of a mixed metaphor, but hey at least they're both water-dwelling mammals and not fish (more on that in a moment too). But back on target, Kevin offered the role of Guy Lapointe to Quentin Tarantino, but he turned it down saying that while the story was good, he just wasn't in to acting much right now.
So, who is Guy Lapointe?
On September 4, Kevin tweeted this:
HE'S IN!!! HE'S IN!!!!!! #WalrusYes (More info when I can share it. Just needed to mark the highlight of my career for future reference...)— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) September 4, 2013
In that Hollywood Reporter article, Kevin indicated that this tweet referred to the mystery man that has been cast as Guy Lapointe. Now, as someone who has followed (ok stalked) Kevin Smith since Clerks, I was curious because honestly who, at this point in his life, would elicit such a response from him.
I mean, this is the dude that got to work with the man he idolized growing up in Bruce Willis (unfortunately as it turns out), so who could reach this level of amazement by the guy who has pretty much seen it all at this point?
I've been pondering this for the last couple of weeks and I have to say that I was stumped. Thankfully, a bit of fortunate timing shed clear light on the answer. Thanks to this week's New Girl and the earlier news about movement on Beetlejuice 2, the answer was like a beacon from God herself ala Blues Brothers.
Again, this is just pure speculation at this point, but I do have some circumstantial evidence to back it up.
Tarantino passed on the role but he did work with Keaton in Jackie Brown, so he could have given Kevin the suggestion. On September 4, the same day that Kevin sent the tweet out above, Michael Keaton posted this cryptic picture on Instagram.
I know it says fish, but walruses eat fish and this picture is a vast departure from Keaton's normal routine of posting pictures about the Pittsburgh Pirates or Montana.
Finally though, I think I uncovered the smoking gun of circumstantial evidence with this post from last year. The post talks about Demarest (they being the firm that stepped up and saved Tusk) and how they worked on a film called "Penthouse North" that stars none other than Michael Keaton himself. So, they could have made the contact as well.
I know it's not foolproof, but I think I make a pretty convincing case. What do you think?
So, as I was falling asleep last night, a stray thought from long ago struck me. This wouldn't be the first time that Michael Keaton and Kevin Smith's paths could have crossed. I remembered way back to the original An Evening with Kevin Smith and the whole "Superman Lives" story.
It was only a throwaway line about how he passed on rewriting the then sequel to Beetlejuice called "Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian" in favor of "Superman Lives." If you haven't heard the story, you can check it out below. It's hilarious and the Beetlejuice comment comes at around 1:20 into it.
While I remain convinced in my head that it's going to be Keaton, I have to acknowledge that evidence isn't very strong and it's mostly pure speculation. Let's face it, Kevin Smith is prone to hyperbole, so his tweet about the "highlight" of his career could equally apply to casting Keaton or Pee Wee Herman, damn also directed by Burton.
Having time to reflect a bit, I could make speculative cases for these other actors as possibilities.
Harrison Ford - He's already worked with Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, so this would complete his personal Star Wars trifecta. If Quentin were age appropriate (50), then Harrison (71) might be a bit too old for the part.
Bill Murray - I could see this being a dark horse candidate for the role, but Murray has drastically cut back on his acting gigs these days and I don't know of connection to Smith that would convince him to sign on. But still, working with one of the Ghostbusters would be a career highlight for anyone.
Dan Aykroyd - Keeping with the Ghostbusters theme, this is another strong candidate for the role of Guy Lapointe. Being Canadian, he'd be swell as a Mountie and it would be nice to see him in a more dramatic role. Again, I don't know of any connection to Smith, but Dan has been open to many different roles over the years.
Johnny Depp - Don't laugh, this one is actually more plausible than you might think. There is a personal relationship between Depp and Smith that dates back to when their daughters went to school together and they co-hosted poetry events for charity. The age is right and Johnny Depp has the range to pull off just about any sort of character. And there's that Burton connection again, maybe it's Tim Burton as Guy Lapointe.
While all of these potential candidates could be the "Guy," or he could be some as yet unnamed actor, my money is on Michael Keaton. It just feels right. What do you think?
So, principal photography has wrapped on Tusk and nary a word about this mysterious actor playing the formidable Guy Lapointe. Save for this tweet from the man himself today.
Ran out of TUSK footage to edit. Flick's currently 1 hour, 20 mins but we still have 5 Guy Lapointe scenes to shoot here in L.A. next month.— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) December 2, 2013
I do know Michael Keaton is in L.A. as of a couple of weeks ago, but then again everyone is in L.A. I'm sticking by my guns though. What say you?