Buckaroo Bonzai TV Series

In case you haven’t heard, Kevin Smith is working on a TV series adaptation of the MGM cult classic sci-fi adventure The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension from 1984. It was Smith’s work directing an episode of The CW series The Flash last year that turned some heads at MGM, and now he’s deep in development on the project with an eye on some filmmakers he hopes to recruit to direct some episodes.

Find out some of Smith’s ambitious picks to direct some of the Buckaroo Bonzai TV series after the jump.

For those who don’t know, Buckaroo Bonzai is first and foremost and sci-fi action adventure, but it’s also chock full of satirical comedy and romance. It’s just a mishmash of genres, which is appropriate since the titular character is a physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, and rock musician tasked with saving the world from a group of interdimensional aliens called Red Lectroids from Planet 10.

That sounds like something with enough crazy elements for a director like Kevin Smith to have fun with, and he’s already figuring out how the story of the movie will play out across 10 episodes of television. The director recently spoke with ComingSoon.net at Fantasia Fest, and here’s what he had to say about what fans can expect from the series

“With ‘Buckaroo Banzai’ we get to tell the whole movie in ten episodes, so you get to expand some things. We’re gonna take a lot of stuff from Earl Mac Rauch’s brilliant novelization book of ‘Buckaroo Banzai’ that included Hanoi Xan, his arch nemesis, who we want Peter Weller to play. We’ll layer that in, but also moments like… In ‘Buckaroo Banzai they’re all standing around talking about when the aliens came during the night of the ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast. It’s people trading information, saying it out loud. We’re gonna do a whole episode about that night and them approaching Orson Welles and all that. Moments where you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s a cool concept’ you get to expand and play with a little bit.”

Peter Weller played the title character in the original film, so bringing him back as the arch nemesis of Buckaroo Bonzai is an interest touch. Of course, as of now Smith is only saying that’s who they want to play the role, though there’s no guarantee that he’ll end up accepting the role. The rest of the cast from the original movie included John Lithgow, Clancy Brown, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Lloyd, so hopefully Smith has some names in mind to fill the big shoes once filled by those stars.

Bringing Peter Weller back isn’t the only talent Smith has his sights on as there’s a small handful of directors that he hopes to recruit. Smith will undoubtedly be writing the show and will directing some of the episodes. But as he told ComingSoon, he won’t direct every single episode:

“I wanna get the people who loved it as much as me, so people like Richard Kelly, Edgar Wright, I’m gonna reach out to Quentin Tarantino, see if they’ll direct an episode. ‘Here’s a chunk of change, a 50-page script, eight days… go make your section.’ That’d be fun. It also means I won’t take all the heat myself. ‘Quentin was here, he didn’t fuck it up!’”

Edgar Wright’s career started in television, and his style certainly lends itself to something as wacky as Buckaroo Bonzai, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up directing an episode. Quentin Tarantino has only directed a few episodes of television, and you might be surprised to learn they were for the shows ER and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (apparently Tarantino has a thing for titles that are abbreviations. But this is something that could be appealing enough to bring him back to the genre. Meanwhile, Richard Kelly has never directed an episode of TV, but his work on Southland Tales makes me think Buckaroo Bonzai would fit him well.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension was a box office bomb in 1984, though it was actually fairly well-received by critics at the time. In the years since its release, it’s become a cult favorite with plenty of respected filmmakers proclaiming their love for it. MGM is hoping that a revival will get even more viewers to pay attention, and Smith is just as hopeful, already thinking about where a second season for the show would go:

“Basically, you just do the entire movie for season one, and then season two you finally do the sequel we’ve all dreamed about,: Buckaroo Banzai Versus the World Crime League.”

Successful sci-fi comedies are hard to come by on TV, so hopefully Smith can turn this into something audiences will love. We know that MGM has already found a home for Buckaroo Bonzai, as indicated by Smith in his update about Mallrats 2 becoming a TV series instead, but we haven’t heard where that is yet. Stay tuned for more soon.

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