Kevin Smith to Direct a Movie Not Written by Kevin Smith

There’s a large divide out there nowadays between those who think Kevin Smith is a talented filmmaker, and those who think he’s a talentless goon that just happened to get lucky. Personally I think he has both strengths and weaknesses, but there’s no denying that he opened a lot of doors for independent filmmakers. That said, I am growing a bit tired of his style of comedy and dying to see him at least try something new. Zack and Miri Make a Porno was a step in the right direction, but in the end it was still the same old foul-mouthed humour mixed in with some sappy relationship stuff.

Some may remember that Kevin Smith has been talking up a script that he wrote a while back called Red State, which he described as a horror movie. It was looking like that might be his next project, until it was discovered this week that Warner Bros. has signed Smith to direct a comedy called A Couple of Dicks. Oh boy… here we go again.

Now the difference here is that this is a script that Smith didn’t write himself. A Couple of Dicks is written by Robb and Marc Cullen and found its way onto the 2008 Black List of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays. The story is about two veteran LAPD detectives who are trying to find a stolen baseball card (which, I can only assume, is worth a lot of money). Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan are signed to play the two “dicks” as it were.

Robb Cullen also wrote the pilot for the Showtime series Manchild, which Smith starred in, so I’m guessing they already have a working relationship of sorts. I do think this could be a good change of pace for Smith, but on the other hand, doesn’t his talent lie in his writing rather than his directing? What do you think about Kevin Smith directing from someone else’s screenplay?

  • Rick

    This is like going to McDonalds for a salad.

  • I like the idea and I love Bruce Willis and think he is great in comedies.

    I think it is a plus that Smith haven’t written this himself as his writing is kind of dumb at times, the jokes really tiresome. Jay and Silent Bob especially suffered from his poor writting. But I guess that is a tastematter.

  • Bob The Slob

    So because somebody makes movies they have to grow and change and try different stuff?

    If you stay the same they hate you, if you change they tell you to go back to what your good at…you cant win.

  • I don’t dislike Kevin Smith because he’s stayed the same. I just don’t think his movies were even funny to begin with.

    However, I actually enjoyed Zach and Miri, maybe because Smith’s lame characters weren’t in it. I don’t doubt the guy can direct a decent comedy. If it weren’t for the Kevin Smith thing, I’d have high hopes for a comedy with Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis. We’ll see what happens …

  • They don’t have to. With Kevin Smith I definitely feel like he’s stagnating, but that’s just my opinion. Obviously there are plenty of people who would love him to keep doing what he’s doing indefinitely.

    At the very least, collaborating with different people adds some fresh elements to the mix. I think he’s picking up on that, which is a good thing.

  • Dennis

    Smith isn’t a talented screenwriter, director or actor – at his best (Clerks, Chasing Amy) he’s a very funny gag writer, nothing more. At his worst (everything else) he is everything that is wrong with movies, modern comedy and society as a whole.

    His blatant conservatism masked as lame-brained raunch is the comic equivalent of a Christian rock singer with a fauxhawk in its safely edgy falseness. Which would be acceptable if, like Judd Apatow, he knew anything about structuring a film, writing dialogue that doesn’t all sound like its coming out of his mouth, where to put the camera or how to get even halfway decent performances from talented actors. He doesn’t. And that is why his movies don’t make a lot of money, not some misguided marketing plans.

    Clerks is still pretty damn funny, though.

  • rus in chicago

    Here is the latest gossip I have on Kevin Smith and his nonperforming career. Vilmos Zsigmond, the old, oscar winning DP for such films as Close Encounters, The Ghost and the Darkness and Black Dahlia shit on Kevin in around-about-way here in Chicago three weeks ago. He is the DP for Jersey Girl. He was in town for a weekend of screenings and a lighting workshop, and during a questions and answer session about working with different types of directors he said something to the effect, “I can work with directors that are very precise and have a lot of ideas already like De Palma because it makes my job easier because I don’t have to spend the time coming up with good ideas because the director has thought of good ideas. Then you have directors like Kevin Smith whom don’t have any ideas.” Well, of course that got some people in the audience excited. He was prodded by me, and others, and went on to explain that the studio forced Smith to use an establish DP on Jersey Girl because they would not agree to that film’s budget if the image wasn’t in safe hands. Vilmos said Smith had no shots planned and is the type director to only want and shoot close-ups for a scene. The shoot had two cameras and Vilmos had to twist Smiths arm to get him to set one up to get a wider take on scenes. Vilmos then laughed and said Kevin Smith would rant to him during rushes that the performance was better in the close up! Except they had two cameras on set and the two shots were recording the same performance. Kevin went back to his shitty DP David Klein for Clerks 2.

    Basically, I feel Kevin is his worst enemy due to insulating himself in the the cocoon of his longtime distributors, producers and crew that give him efforts not up to his talent. He is scared of people outside his own circle and that is no way to live.

  • @Rus: That scenario on how Kevin Smith shoots a scene sounds accurate.

    “he’s a very funny gag writer”

    That’s the only reason I enjoy his films anymore because otherwise he doesn’t know about “writing dialogue that doesn’t all sound like its coming out of his mouth, where to put the camera or how to get even halfway decent performances from talented actors.” Yup.

  • I enjoy most of Kevin’s stuff, but I usually don’t LOVE it. The ones I loved are the ones people usually roll their eyes at, Mallrats and Dogma. I don’t mind what he does, but I also think that reaching out to do something different once in a while could be good, as I feel that it would inevitibly improve his comedies, as well.

    Here’s what I propose: He should do an every other, as Nolan and others do with their small/blockbuster movies. For every dialog based comedy, he does something new and different, taking turns, odds and evens.

  • Kevin did say he was going to be trying different things in a recent SModcast, but this isn’t what i was expecting, from listening to the show i’m pretty sure he’s having a mental breakdown, so i expected something a lot different. I’m looking forward more to the movie Scott Moiser says he’s writing and directing.

  • This is pretty hilarious timing to me, because I’m going through a couple old Smodcasts and he said on one of them ‘I don’t think you’ll see me directing someone else’s script any time soon’.

    Anyway, I hope it works out; I like Smith.