Kevin Smith directing Tusk

Kevin Smith (cont:) Here’s my only regret, I wish that we had put the fucking suit in the trailer. That’s it. And in the TV…well there was no TV spots really. But just to have an awareness of, it. In retrospect I was like “Wow, how stupid of us to not show the fucking walrus.” But the whole philosophy was if we show it, people might not go. Then this movie’s not gonna appeal to everybody anyway, so chances are a lot of people aren’t gonna go so, maybe the idea in the future –  like we’re making two more rubber movies. There’s Yoga Hosers and there’s rubber monsters in that. And then Moose Jaws and there’s a big rubber monster in that. You can guarantee in the trailer, man, you’re gonna see every piece of the monster ’cause that’s the hook. Now there are a bunch of people online going “Holy crap, that’s just weird, I wish I’d known.” That was irresponsible. We should have put the walrus in the trailer. So I’ll fucking do that from now on. Even if the walrus isn’t in the movie I made, I will put the walrus in the trailer.

All right, understood. Now you mentioned Yoga Hosers you’re just about done with that. Then you’re gonna do Clerks III.

Yeah, let me see what’s today, the 21st or 22nd?

The 22nd [of December, 2014].

We go back in and we shoot on the 28th, the 29th and the 30th. Then we wrap for the holiday a little bit for 31st and the 1st. Then we pick up again on January 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. And then we have a greenscreen day a week later and then we’re done. So it’s been a really cool spread out schedule. We this we learned to work this way on Tusk, because we shot 15 days of the movie in North Carolina and then three four months later, we picked up the last two days which is all the Guy Lapointe stuff in California. Just kind of at the mercy of the schedule a little bit. So this time around, same thing. We were like “Look, we need to shoot a bunch of the movie, everything that doesn’t involve Guy Lapointe and then when Johnny [Depp]’s free, we can jump back and shoot the rest.

Yoga Hosers Johnny Depp

So we got a call a couple weeks back right at the end of November about like “Hey, man, there’s a window in December.” And we were all thinking it was gonna be like February, March and stuff. But they were like “There’s a window in December, you wanna go?” And we were like “Oh Lord yes.” So we’ve been running and gunning pretty fast.

The good news is that we mounted the entire production in less than four weeks last time. Let me see, from the moment I finished the draft, which was on April 20th, we were on a set three months and 29 days later. So we started like we had less than four months. When you go that fast, I didn’t do multiple drafts of the script. You don’t have the luxury of doing multiple drafts of the script because you’re like “Oh my Lord, we’re catching a wave, let’s go, let’s go.” So again, getting the movie in front of cameras, most important thing. And make sure you actually shoot the movie, not holding on to a script you love for 10 years and waiting and waiting and waiting. So, you know, the moment you go that fast, you don’t get the luxury of like “Oh this is a better version of the script.” So with the way we shot the movie in terms of shooting a bunch and then shutting down and waiting to shoot the rest, I’m able to go back, I’m able to re-edit, I’m able to move scenes around, I’m able to rewrite a script for scenes that we haven’t shot yet.

I’d always heard in my career that Woody Allen always had a percentage of his budgets put aside to do reshoots or something. To go back in like a month or two after he puts the movie together so he can make a better version of the movie. And he keeps a percentage of the budget for that very purpose. And we’ve kind of run into a default version of that by virtue of the fact that we shoot the movies broken up. So I’m given so much time to live with the footage, with the material, where I could just be like “Oh we could do this, we could do this, I could set this up better in the third act.” So same way here, we wrapped in what was it? September, second week of September or something. Then we were down until October 27th. We went and did greenscreen day. That’s when I shaved my beard and put up that picture and whatnot, ’cause I was doing a rubber effect. And now we’re going back so that was, let me see, October, so November, December. So you know, about two months later we’re going back and now finishing it. So it’s a leisurely way to shoot the movie, that’s for sure. But the movie’s low budget, so you’re also have that kind of maneuverability. It was nice to be able to shutdown, save a bunch of money and then open up production again months later when you’re ready to go. ‘Cause the budget of this is under five million. Gotta keep this shit cheap, man. That’s the only way they’ll let me make these movies, make them cheap and cool. That’s the only way I know how to do it.

***

The interview then concluded with me asking about Hit Somebody, which you can read about here.

Thanks to Kevin Smith for being so generous with his time. Tusk is now on Blu-ray. Yoga Hosers hits theaters in 2015.

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