Kevin Smith exits Buckaroo Banzai TV show over MGM lawsuit
Since this summer, filmmaker Kevin Smith (Yoga Hosers, Clerks) has been developing a television version of the cult classic MGM film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension for Amazon Studios. However, Deadline is now reporting that Smith has promptly exited the Buckaroo Banzai TV show after MGM filed a federal lawsuit in California against the property’s original creator/writer Earl Mac Rauch and the 1984 film’s director W.D. Richter over complicated rights issues. The cult filmmaker/podcaster stated that he would not want to be involved with the property without the involvement of Rauch or Richter.
“This is not what I signed up for,” Smith said in a Facebook video, which you can watch below in full. “I was caught off-guard [by the lawsuit]. I literally had no idea. It blows, man, because that’s the closest I’ve [come] to having my own show so far… This lawsuit comes from MGM legal — it doesn’t come from any of the people I met at MGM… I’m no longer involved. I don’t wish anybody harm; I wish all parties well. I hope these dudes come to an agreement, and if they do and they still want me involved down the road, I’ll be here. But why would they?”
Smith had previously spoken to ComingSoon.net exclusively about his ideas for the show, which involved potential guest directors like Richard Kelly, Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino.
“With ‘Buckaroo Banzai’ we get to tell the whole movie in ten episodes, so you get to expand some things” Smith told us. “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.”
The original film was released in 1984 and featured an all-star ensemble cast, including John Lithgow, Clancy Brown, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, and of course Peter Weller as the title character, who is described by one of the characters in the film as thinking “he’s Einstein, James Bond and Batman all rolled into one!” A box office bomb at the time of its release, the film has gone on to become a cult favorite with several spin-offs comics and sequel talk coming out over the years.
“(It’s) one of my favorite movies in the world and largely responsible for the weird s‑‑‑ that I make, because that movie was supposed to be one thing but it did it in another way. It just did it very off-center,” Smith said previously. “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.”
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