Kevin Smith Justin Long

Clerks made Kevin Smith, but in order to make Clerks III, Smith will have to make something else. In a new interview, the writer/director/podcaster said his next film, Tusk, will be an “ivory bridge” to Clerks III. A way to make financing the sequel easier and also to work out some of the cobwebs from not having directed a film since 2011′s Red State.

Plus, Smith revealed that Justin Long has joined the cast of Tusk, opposite Michael Parks, as the man whom Parks hires to live in his house in a walrus suit. Production begins October 21. Read the quotes below.

Smith was speaking to Entertainment Weekly about The Dirties, an award-winning film he’s helping push to theaters and VOD on October 4. That’s where he revealed that Long would be in the film, and the connection between Tusk and Clerks III.

I think Tusk will be an ivory bridge, if you will, to Clerks III. I finished up the script [for Clerks] in May or June, but the timetable is pretty tough because the budget is larger. Tusk is a moveable feast at like $2 million and change, so it was way more nimble to put that together. Tusk was just something to do while waiting for news back on Clerks III. Suddenly, people were like, “Really? A human walrus? That sounds fucked up.” It suddenly took pole position. Then I started going, “Look, I do this, it’s going to make Clerks III even easier to do. I can warm up for Clerks III. It’s been a couple of years. Maybe I need some warmup pitches. But you definitely will see Tusk before you’ll see Clerks III. And if I have my way, you’ll see Tusk up in Sundance in January.

Getting Tusk into Sundance would be quite the feat considering the deadline to submit movies into the festival was earlier this week. But since the festival and filmmaker have such a symbiotic relationship, never say never.

Here’s what Smith said about asking Justin Long to play a role in Tusk (a role he originally wanted Quentin Tarantino for):

I wrote the script around [Michael Parks], so it’s nothing but Michael Parks dialogue porn. Justin Long is the guy in the walrus suit. I needed a guy who has expressive eyes because once you’re in that suit, you’re covered. I reached out to Justin and he wrote back and was like, “This is awfully scary but how can we not? Let’s fall down this hole.” So it’ll be Parks versus Long trying to answer the age-old question, “Is man indeed a walrus at heart?” It’s a f–ked up movie, dude.

Read more about Tusk here. Smith starts shooting his “monster movie” in October. Clerks III will, hopefully, start shooting next year.

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