We’re not sure when Kevin Smith’s imminent retirement transformed into the most ambitious slate of indie films since the days of Golan-Globus, but here we are. This morning America’s favorite wake ‘n bake director–currently in post-production on the Johnny Depp-led Yoga Hosers–took to his Facebook for an announcement of epic snoogans proportions…
If we didn't know any better, that "I smell a rat" denouement might just be a hint that Smith will be going back to the mall that nearly ended his career before it began in 1995 with his first studio gig, Mallrats. Although there have been six theatrical films and an animated TV series set in the View Askew universe, Mallrats has the distinction of being the most poorly received, both critically and box office-wise. It was only after he rebounded with the micro-budget Chasing Amy in 1997 that Smith got things back on track. However, Mallrats has a large cult following among Smith aficionados, having helped launch the careers of Jason Lee and Ben Affleck and earning a special director's cut in 2005.
Besides that potential redemption story, Smith is still banging the drum for his hockey epic "Hit Somebody," which he's now calling a TV miniseries after originally developing it as a two-part feature film. The story is based on the song by Warren Zevon and co-written by Mitch Albom about a hockey player who loves to fight, and no network has yet been specified, making its reality somewhat doubtful despite the concrete filming dates.
Clerks III has been mooted for quite some time, at one point touted to be Smith's filmmaking swan song, and now looks to be his next project to go before cameras. Original studio Miramax is lined up to distribute, though Smith had to acquire the $6-million budget through other means. Released in 2006, Clerks II made $25-million on a $5-million dollar budget, which is profitable by any stretch of the imagination. That film's stars Rosario Dawson, Jeff Anderson and Brian O'Halloran, along with the inevitable Jay & Silent Bob, are all expected to return.
And then there's Anti-Claus, Smith's take on the Krampus legend which was announced a year ago to star Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez and Michael Parks. The problem here is that just yesterday Legendary announced the start of principal photography on their own Krampus horror comedy directed by Michael Dougherty of Trick ‘R Treat fame. Given Smith's lo- budget (and low-grossing) output of late, it's hard to imagine his take on the European folklore icon gaining the upper hand over its studio-backed rival, which will have been released before he even starts shooting.
Not mentioned in the Facebook missive is the horror anthology film Holidays, which was announced by XYZ Films in February, for which Smith is scheduled to direct a segment. If we had to speculate it might seem like Anti-Claus would make an appropriate entry for this project, but with Smith there's literally no telling what will happen next.