Clerks auteur Kevin Smith is planning a project that moviegoers can really sink their teeth into. The proposed film is called Tusk, and it's based on an elaborate (and thankfully bogus) roommate-wanted ad placed in June by prankster Chris Parkinson from Brighton, England. Parkinson wrote that he was pining away for his deceased walrus pal, Gregory, offering free rent to anyone willing to wear a walrus costume and make walrus noises for a couple of hours each day. (What, no complimentary bucket of chum for breakfast?)
Smith explains his creative vision in a Hollywood Reporter blog post: "I began reconstructing the whole thing as an old British Hammer horror film, in which a mad scientist intends to sew some hapless lodger into counterfeit blubber, creating a chimera in an effort to answer the ultimate riddle, 'Is man, indeed, a walrus at heart?'" It's a question we've all pondered at one time or another, that's for sure.
With ads forming the nexus of art and commerce, and many modern movies packed with product placements anyway, it's high time an ad served as the basis for a motion picture. That Parkinson's ad was both real and fake—placed as paid media, but still a work of "fiction"—makes the whole Tusk concept even more deliciously post-modern and ironic. And even if the movie never gets made, the story's generating plenty of publicity for Smith and everyone associated with the project.
Which bring us to Justin Long, who the director wants as the guy in the walrus suit. Such casting strengthens Tusk's adland ties, as Long famously portrayed the Mac in Apple's benchmark "Get a Mac" campaign.
Judging by Long's response to Smith's proposal, the actor's pretty stoked: "I don't know what to say … I'm nauseated, I'm terrified, I'm thoroughly confused in the most entertained way. I'm in. I'm definitely in. I didn't think Ed Gein and Boxing Helena would ever fuck and have a more deranged baby. You are a twisted imaginative talented motherfucker and I'd love to go on this trip with you.'"
Hmm, blubber, whiskers … you know, Smith could just play the walrus himself.
Or maybe John Hodgman's available. Goo goo g'joob!