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Montreal ComicCon 2015: Kevin Smith Part 2 – Tusk, feat. Johnny Depp

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Kevin Smith’s film, Tusk, is based on an apocryphal story about an advertisement for free room and board, with the condition that the applicant spend several hours a day living as a walrus. The story really got Kevin’s creative juices flowing. He set it in Canada, so that he could throw in a lot of the Canadiana that he loves, and made it a story about a serial killer. His first choice to play the French Canadian detective had been Quentin Tarantino. He’d cast Michael Parks as the crazy old man, and Quentin is “a massive Michael Parks buff”. Kevin had been so sure he would love the opportunity to act with his idol, he was devastated when, due to a misunderstanding, Mr. Tarantino turned him down. “So at that point […] we were Lapointe-less”. He nevertheless continued with the project, trying to see how far he could push whimsy. He eventually came to the point where he applied that whimsy to the casting of Guy Lapointe: He asked himself, if he could cast anyone, disregarding budget, logic and all common sense, who would he want as detective Guy Lapointe? The answer was easy: “F-ing Johnny Depp! Johnny Depp! Johnny Depp!”

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By a strange quirk of the universe, Kevin’s daughter had gone to school with Johnny Depp’s daughter, and they’d seen each other at school functions (“such a nice f-ing guy”). He threw caution to the wind, and sent the actor a text:“‘Hey man, its Kevin Smith, Harley’s dad’ – cause thats who I am in that world – ‘I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve got a part I think you’d be perfect for.’” He sent him a link to his blog post discussing the idea and held his breath. He figured that the worst that could happen would that Mr. Depp would say no, but that he was such a good actor he’d probably make it seem like it wasn’t Kevin’s fault. His heart stopped when the reply came back: ” ‘Fascinating. This sounds the sort of thing that I would care to swim around in. Consider me intrigued’” Kevin forwarded him the script he requested, and the reply came a month later: ” ‘I just finished the script. I love Guy Lapointe. I cannot wait. I’ve been waiting my whole life to do a Quebec accent!’ “ Kevin Smith apologized to the Quebec crowd, saying it was his fault the accent used in the film was so bad. He said Mr. Depp had approached him on the subject, saying: ” ‘Listen, I have an internal dimmer when it comes to these things. So I can dial it up as accurate as you want or dial it down as dumb as you want.’ And I was like: ‘Go dumb, go dumb!’ “

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They had a lot of fun making the film together. Johnny Depp got really into it, even wearing a prosthetic nose for the part. On the second day of shooting with Mr. Depp, Kevin Smith’s daughter Harley mentioned that Lily-Rose Depp would be dropping by the set, which gave Kevin the brilliant idea to have her act. Johnny Depp was thrilled at the opportunity to act with his daughter! Seeing their two daughters behind a convenience store counter was very powerful for Kevin: He ended up writing a second script just for the girls. When he left a message with Johnny Depp to propose he make another appearance as Guy Lapointe alongside his daughter it didn’t take long for Mr. Depp to call him back. To Kevin’s astonishment, Johnny Depp opened the phone conversation in French, delivering the monologue from Tusk. When Kevin commented on his memory, Mr. Depp replied: “You have no idea. I cannot stop doing the Guy Lapointe voice. Everybody hates me man!”

Thus, the second film in Kevin’s True North series was born. Yoga Hosers is due to be released later this year

    

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