Kevin Smith

Here’s a nice little surprise, if you’ve been hoping to see Kevin Smith‘s non-commerical, ‘bleak and dark’ Fred Phelps-inspired horror film Red State. According to the director’s own Twitter feed, the film has a green light and will shoot before the hockey film Hit Somebody, which he has been working on parallel to Red State.

We should’ve seen this coming, as on Feb 17 Smith said that he would be talking about Red State soon, and that “the only money it’ll require from [fans] will be at the box office.” The latter refers to the concept of funding the film via fan donations, which was an idea investigated by Smith for a brief time.

Then today, Smith said: “I talk about lots of stuff I wanna do that either happens years later or never happens at all. Happy to report RED STATE is not the latter.” He followed with “First draft was dated 9/5/07. Looks like we start shooting this July. Took nearly three years, but we’re finally gonna roll on RED.”

Further 140-character missives add some detail: “Writing HIT now; shooting HIT on heels of RED STATE. #DoingFlicksAssToAss” and in response to a question about doing the film as a studio or full indie feature, he says “(*Marches across big lawn, up front porch*) I’m home, Momma.”

That latter one is interesting, as it seems evident that this won’t be a studio film a la Cop Out. It also implies that the Weinsteins, who originally passed on the script in 2007, could be the backers. I’m not going to read too much into a following tweet about coming home, but some might.

So what is Red State? In 2007 Smith said he was writing a feature that involves a character inspired by infamous ‘preacher’ Fred Phelps. Smith said at the time,

The movie’s called ‘Red State’ and it’s very much about that subject matter, that point of view and that position taken to the absolute extreme. It’s certainly not Phelps himself but it’s very much inspired by a Phelps figure,” revealed Smith. “And to me, too, the notion of using a Phelps-like character as a villain, as horrifying and scary as that guy can be, there’s even something more insidious than him that lurks out there in as much as a public or a government that allows it and that’s the other thing that I’m trying to examine in a big, big way. It’s weird because for a few months I’ve been saying ‘horror movie’ and technically it is, but it’s also not a very traditional horror movie in the sense that people have been asking me, ‘Is it a slasher movie? Is it like the Japanese horror flicks?’ It’d be much easier to just show it to them when I’m done and be like, ‘This is what I meant.’ At which point I’m sure there’ll be people saying, ‘This ain’t a horror movie!’ But to me, it is.

Granted, it has been two and a half years since that first script draft, so we don’t know what has changed. But Smith has said over and over that the film is very dark, completely non-commerical and “so bleak that it makes The Dark Knight look like Strawberry Shortcake.”

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