Kevin Smith is Developing a ‘Buckaroo Banzai’ TV Series

By May 16, 2016

Director Kevin Smith’s recent films may not have received the same type of acclaim that was often heaped upon his earlier work, such as Clerks or Chasing Amy, but helming an emotionally-charged episode of The Flash that was praised by both critics and fans alike has seemingly put him back in the good graces of even his most staunch detractors. Smith is already set to for another trip behind the camera next season, but in the meantime, he has another project in development that could prove very interesting.

On this week’s episode of his Hollywood Babble-On podcast, Smith revealed that he was in the early stages of development for a television series based on the Buckaroo Banzai universe. Here’s the transcript of his characteristically long-winded reveal:

“It’s been a wonderful week for me. That episode of The Flash aired that I directed, and I’ve never done anything in my life that has more people going ‘holy shit, good job.’ Doing that has opened up weird doors, and since I came back from The Flash there are three projects that I’ve set up, and the one that I was going in on today is pretty fucking massive, and goes back to my childhood and shit like that. 

I was meeting with MGM… they’ve got a deep library, man, that’s not just the MGM movies but movies they’ve acquired over years and years. Does anyone know the movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension? One of my favorite movies in the world, and largely responsible for the weird shit that I make, because that movie was supposed to be one thing, but did it in another way – did it very off-center. I’ve loved it for years… and because I did the episode of The Flash, suddenly I had a foot in television… I kinda got pulled into the scripted world, and dove in headfirst, as well.

MGM said ‘hey, we hear that you like Buckaroo Banzai.’ They heard that because of a fucking podcast I did in New York, at Lincoln Center. We did an episode of Smoviola with Peter Weller and John Lithgow and watched Buckaroo Banzai, and I talked about how much I loved it and shit. So they called my agent and there were like ‘we think we’d like to talk to him… we took Fargo and turned it into a TV show, and it’s won awards.’ They were like ‘we have another property that we wanna do that with, and we’re wondering if he’s interested in Buckaroo Banzai.’ So my agent calls me up and he’s like ‘have you ever heard of a movie called Buckaroo Banzai?’ 

It was very dramatic. He was like ‘you know this?’ And I was like ‘dude, this was my childhood.’ This is one of the reasons I make fucked up movies, why I can’t be like J.J. [Abrams] and shit. A, I’m not talented and B, because Buckaroo Banzai was the shit that appealed to me. They didn’t do it straightforward, they did it very left of center – very funny movie, very weird. So because of the weird movies I’ve been doing lately – Tusk and Yoga Hosers – and because I dove into TV, suddenly people went like ‘two plus two equals five, let’s have him come in.’

So I went in and met with those cats, and we talked about like ‘what would you do to turn it into a series? That’s what we wanna turn it into.’ And I was like ‘oh my Lord, I’ve loved this movie forever. If you were gonna do that, basically you just do the entire movie for Season One, and then in Season Two you finally do the sequel we’ve all dreamed about: Buckaroo Banzai vs. The World Crime League.’

So we went back and forth, and before we knew it, we were in business together – we finished this deal to develop Buckaroo Banzai. In the next month, we take it out and try to find a home for it, but these cats are very good at finding homes for things. And there’s already some [interest] – people kinda heard early and have asked, so if all goes well, I think we’ll be going Buckaroo Banzai as a series.”

At first glance, this might sound like a strange combination – but as a lifelong fan of the original 1984 film, Smith has a tremendous affection for the material. In fact, it’s the same sort of affection that he often expressed for The Flash, and that translated into his most well-received work in years, so hopefully we can expect similar results if this project gets off the ground.

Smith also confirmed his desire to include roles for as many members of the original cast as possible – albeit not as the same characters, even hypothesizing that Peter Weller could appear as the villain of the series. The full discussion is definitely worth a listen, if for no other reason than to hear Smith’s overwhelming enthusiasm for the project. You can check out the episode at the official Hollywood Babble-On website (the Buckaroo Banzai stuff kicks in around the 11:05 mark), and we’ll keep you posted on this as it continues to develop.

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Brent Hankins

Brent Hankins

Contributing Writer at GeekNation
Brent Hankins is a member of the Phoenix Critics Circle and co-host of the Drinks and Discourse podcast. He's also the proud owner of an Italian Greyhound named Sullivan. He's adorable (the dog, not the author).
  • Alexander

    Laugh-a while you can, monkey boy!