What information is there about Buckaroo Banzai TV show helmed by Kevin Smith?

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November 28th, 2016

On November 28th, 2016, the following information was posted on the Deadline Hollywood website:

Kevin Smith Says He's "No Longer Involved" In 'Buckaroo Banzai' TV Series

There hasn't been a single ruling in MGM's copyright lawsuit for a Buckaroo Banzai TV series, but there's already two clear casualties: Kevin Smith and the show itself, at least for now. After the studio filed legal paperwork November 23 against the 1984 movie's director W.D. Richter and writer Earl Mac Rauch, the Clerks creator went online today to declare "I'm no longer involved" with the proposed Amazon TV series version.

"This is not what I signed up for," Smith said of the legal issues while praising MGM in other respects (watch the video below). "I was caught off-guard [by the lawsuit]. I literally had no idea. It blows, man, because that's the closest I've [come] to having my own show so far."

Additionally, Deadline has learned that with this pronouncement by Smith and MGM's moves in the courts, the project is in limbo at Amazon until the legal matters are resolved. When contacted by Deadline, Amazon had no comment on the series or the lawsuit. As Deadline revealed during Comic-Con this summer, Amazon and MGM had locked a deal for a Smith run Buckaroo TV series intended to debut in 2017.

That's all just paper now, it seems.

In his 18-minute-plus assertion on Facebook Live from Florida this afternoon, Smith said he was floored by The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension pic when he saw it as a teenager and wanted Richter and Rauch to work on his series project. "Without those two dudes, I don't fall in love with that property," he said. "I don't want to make anything unless those two dudes are involved. They had the vision. Like, all we're doing is taking their amazing vision and making a TV show of it."

Later in the video, Smith says: "I'm no longer involved. I don't wish anybody harm; I wish all parties well. I hope these dudes come to an agreement, and if they do and they still want me involved down the road, I'll be here. But why would they?"

Noting that the legal action was "news to me," Smith said, "This lawsuit comes from MGM legal - it doesn't come from any of the people I met at MGM."

He compared the situation to having someone want to remake one of his old movies against his wishes.

"Let's say one day that the people that own Miramax now [said], 'Hey, we want to make Clerks,' " Smith says in the clip. "And I'm like, 'Well, I don't want you to make Clerks - not while I'm alive.' And then they sue me to make sure that they can make Clerks without me being involved. Well, what goes around comes around in life. I'm not saying anybody is wrong in this situation, but what I'm saying is — respectfully to all parties involved - I'm out."

You can see Kevin Smith discuss leaving the Buckaroo Banzai TV show here.

July 29th, 2016

On July 29th, Kevin discussed the proposed TV series with the SuperHeroHype website (http://www.superherohype.com/news/379443-kevin-smith-talks-his-buckaroo-banzai-series-director-wishlist#WO00lspBBMYjEKyX.01)

Kevin Smith Talks His Buckaroo Banzai Series Director Wishlist

In May, filmmaker Kevin Smith revealed that he's developing a television version of the cult classic MGM film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. ComingSoon.net had the chance to catch up with Smith at Fantasia Fest for the Canadian Premiere of Yoga Hosers to talk to him 1-on-1, and he revealed some of his ambitious plans for the Buckaroo Banzai series. Check back this week for our full Kevin Smith interview!

"With 'Buckaroo Banzai' we get to tell the whole movie in ten episodes, so you get to expand some things" Smith told us. "We're gonna take a lot of stuff from Earl Mac Rauch's brilliant novelization book of 'Buckaroo Banzai' that included Hanoi Xan, his arch nemesis, who we want Peter Weller to play. We'll layer that in, but also moments like... In 'Buckaroo Banzai they're all standing around talking about when the aliens came during the night of the 'War of the Worlds' broadcast. It's people trading information, saying it out loud. We're gonna do a whole episode about that night and them approaching Orson Welles and all that. Moments where you're like, 'Wow, that's a cool concept' you get to expand and play with a little bit."

Smith also revealed his wishlist of directors he wants to helm episodes of the Buckaroo Banzai series once it heads into production, a list that includes some genre heavyweights.

"The big fun for me is going to be collecting the team, 'cause I ain't gonna direct it all," Smith continued. "I wanna get the people who loved it as much as me, so people like Richard Kelly, Edgar Wright, I'm gonna reach out to Quentin Tarantino, see if they'll direct an episode. 'Here's a chunk of change, a 50-page script, eight days... go make your section. That'd be fun. It also means I won't take all the heat myself. (laughs) 'Quentin was here, he didn't f*ck it up!'"

The original film was released in 1984 and featured an all-star ensemble cast, including John Lithgow, Clancy Brown, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, and of course Peter Weller as the title character, who is described by one of the characters in the film as thinking "he's Einstein, James Bond and Batman all rolled into one!" A box office bomb at the time of its release, the film has gone on to become a cult favorite with several spin-offs comics and sequel talk coming out over the years.

"(It's) one of my favorite movies in the world and largely responsible for the weird s--- that I make, because that movie was supposed to be one thing but it did it in another way. It just did it very off-center," Smith said previously. "Basically, you just do the entire movie for season one, and then season two you finally do the sequel we've all dreamed about,: Buckaroo Banzai Versus the World Crime League."

June 21st, 2016

On June 21st, Kevin posted the following on his Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/p/BG7jOYqRy16/):

Kevin Smith Instagram June 21, 2016
"There can be only one!" At @edfilmfest, I ran into #ClancyBrown - The Kurgan from #Highlander, the best Lex Luthor we've ever had, and of course, Rawhide from #BuckarooBanzai. Clancy's word of warning regarding the Buckaroo series we're working on: "Don't fuck up our movie." I assured him I wouldn't and that he can see to that personally by being with us on the show. It was awesome to meet him because he's such a big part of the Buckaroo reboot. I've been thinking about the guy a ton as we break story and here he is in #Edinburgh celebrating 30 years of Highlander. If all goes well, in a few months, I'll see Clancy again on set! #KevinSmith #edinburghcastle #edinburghfilmfestival"

June 10th, 2016

On June 10th, Kevin posted the following on his twitter account (https://twitter.com/ThatKevinSmith/status/741323997242101761):

"MGMtv & I pitched #BuckarooBanzai yesterday The result? 3 serious suitors! So looks like WE'RE GONNA BE MAKING THE SHOW! AHHHH #TeamBanzai"

Kevin Smith Twitter June 10, 2016

Also on June 10th, the following information about Kevin Smith selling the Buckaroo Banzai TV series was posted:

Kevin Smith confirms Mallrats 2 will be a 10-episode TV series. He also reveals that MGM has found a home for the Buckaroo Banzai series.
BY MICHAEL ROFFMAN on June 10, 2016, 11:03AM

It’s been over a year since we’ve heard some legitimate news from Kevin Smith about Mallrats 2. Last May, the veteran filmmaker and certified nut bar confirmed that the long gestating sequel would be titled Mallbrats, that 18 familiar faces would return alongside six fresh, new characters, and that shooting would start later in 2015 for a 2016 release.

Instead, this happened: Yoga Hosers

But, there’s a reason for the delay. This morning, Smith stopped by 93.3 WMMR for an appearance on Preston & Steve, where he digressed on Mallbrats, explaining why the project’s been in limbo and how it’s going to finally come into fruition. Long story short, it’s experienced all sorts of legal mumbo jumbo with Universal, but here’s the long story straight from the moose’s jaw:

“I called my agency and I said, ‘Hey man, can I just make a Mallrats sequel? Universal owns it, but do I really need to make this with Universal? Can’t I just write a script and buy the title from them?’ And the agent told me, ‘Yeah, absolutely, they’ll let it go.’ And I said, ‘Are you positive? Because I don’t want to start this if that’s not the case.’ He says, ‘Oh yeah, there are three ways you can make this movie: You finance it yourself; you finance it with the studio, co-financed; or they finance it, but, you know, it’ll probably be, since it’s an old movie and it’s a small title, it’ll probably be you financing it yourself.’

“So, I was like, ‘Oh my god, alright, right on, that’s what I like to hear, nobody can stop me from self-expressing.’ So I wrote my script, put everything together, and then I told my agent, when I was done, ‘Alright, I’m ready to go, do we have to reach out to Universal for approval or something or let them pass or whatever?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, we have to submit the script.’ And I was like, ‘Why do we have to submit the script?’ ‘Because they own the property and it’s a formality … it’s going to be fine.’

“And so we submitted the script and my agent comes back to me and he goes, ‘Well, apparently Universal has never let a catalogue title go, any title they own, they’ve retained, they’ve never done something where they’re like, ‘Oh, you can take it back and go make a sequel. Never in the history of the studio.’ So, I was like, ‘Wait, but you told me that was one of my options.’ ‘Well, apparently I was wrong. So, right now there are two options: you make it fully studio financed or you co-finance it with the studio.’ So we entered a protracted negotiation with Universal trying to get it made in different pockets of the studio.”

After realizing he hadn’t told anybody about this, he confirmed, “It is happening. It’s taking us a longer time to build it, but what we did was reconfigured it. You know, Mallards is a 20 year old movie, and the idea of sexualizing a 20-year-old movie to some people is like,  ‘Why would you bother? It wasn’t successful the first time. What’d you guys make?’ We’re like, ‘Two million?’ ‘Alright, well, I don’t know if the world is screaming out for this.’ However, I went and directed an episode of The Flash, and when I went up there, it was kind of a weird game changer for my career. I felt at home in the medium.

And suddenly because I did the episode of The Flash, like MGM reached out about Buckaroo Banzai and suddenly that came together and we went out and pitched yesterday and found a home for it. I can’t say who it is because that deal is not final, but yesterday we sold Buckaroo Banzai as a TV series. So, while I’m in that world and space, a couple months ago, we started reconfiguring the idea of doing Mallrats not as a film but as a series, and Universal and I are just about to close our deal to do Mallrats the series. Then we take it out into the world and find a home for it. So, instead of doing a Mallrats movie, I’m going to do 10 episodes of a Mallrats series.”

After dropping those major bombshells, he further confirmed that he still plans to shoot the series in Exton, PA, specifically at the Exton Square Mall, as he previously announced last year. So, to recap: Both Mallrats and Buckaroo Banzai are coming to our small screen in the near, near future and we all have Kevin Smith to blame. Not too shabby.

Don’t forget, Yoga Hosers hits theaters on July 29th.

May 17th, 2016

On May 17th, Kevin posted the following on his twitter account (https://twitter.com/ThatKevinSmith/status/732481341376200704):

It is my intent to assemble a dream team of cult movie directors for the 10 episodes of the #BuckarooBanzai series:
Kevin Smith Buckaroo Banzai TV Show Twitter announcement

Also on May 17th, the following on Kevin's facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/YesThatKevinSmith):

Kevin Smith Buckaroo Banzai TV Show Facebook Announcement

I've been tapped to adapt BUCKAROO BANZAI into a series, which is something of a dream come true: I've loved the 1984 movie since I was a kid.

My well-read copy of the film's novelization by screenwriter Earl Mac Rauch is my Bible. But I'm not gonna be directing this alone: it is my intent to assemble a dream team of cult movie directors for the 10 episodes of this ‪#‎BuckarooBanzai‬ series - folks like ‪#‎DonnieDarko‬ director Richard Kelly, ‪#‎ShaunOfTheDead‬ director @edgar_wright and of course, the ‪#‎Banzai‬ director himself - WD Richter.

Same with the writing: I want to bring in the creator Rauch himself to write the flashback episode detailing the night the red Lectroids came to Earth (with the help of ‪#‎OrsonWelles‬ and his War of the Worlds broadcast.) The other scripts will be penned by other ‪#‎BlueBlazeIrregulars‬ who worship this flick like I do.

Cast-wise, I'm hoping to get the great Peter Weller to play Team Banzai's greatest enemy, Hanoi Xan! And any cast member from the original who wants to play is gonna be welcomed like returning conquering heroes. Long story short? Don't worry: I'm not gonna ‪#‎KevinSmith‬ this Banzai series at all. It's gonna be 100% true Buckaroo. Which means the watermelon will NEVER be explained. ‪#‎MGM‬ ‪#‎yoyodyne‬ #‎buckaroobanzaiagainsttheworldcrimeleague

This story was quickly picked up by other websites such as:

Kevin Smith is developing a Buckaroo Banzai TV series
The show would adapt the 1984 sci-fi film that starred Peter Weller

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
Posted May 16 2016 — 10:11 PM EDT

Kevin Smith is looking to bring the eighth dimension to the small screen.

EW can confirm that the Yoga Hosers and Clerks director is developing a TV series based on The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, the offbeat 1984 sci-fi film that starred Peter Weller as a genius scientist, experimental race car driver, and rock star who saves the world from reptilian aliens.

During the latest episode of his Hollywood Babble-On podcast, Smith said the project came about as a result of his recent gig directing an episode of The Flash, which has “has opened up weird doors” for him. One of those doors, he said, led to a potential Buckaroo Banzai series with MGM, which owns the rights to the property. (A spokesperson for the studio declined to comment.)

Smith is a longtime fan of Buckaroo Banzai, describing it as “one of my favorite movies in the world and largely responsible for the weird s‑‑‑ that I make, because that movie was supposed to be one thing but it did it in another way. It just did it very off-center.”

Written by Earl Mac Rauch and directed by W.D. Richter, the original film is indeed a genre-bending romp, lacing its sci-fi antics with campy comedy delivered in a deadpan tone. The cast also included John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, and Christopher Lloyd.

As for how he’d approach the adaptation, Smith said, “Basically, you just do the entire movie for season 1, and then season 2 you finally do the sequel we’ve all dreamed about, Buckaroo Banzai Versus the World Crime League.” The latter story was teased in the end credits of the original film but never realized.

Kevin Smith Is Reportedly Turning ‘The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai’ Into A TV Series

BY: JOSH KURP 05.16.16

On his Hollywood Babble-On podcast, Kevin Smith briefly stopped talking about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to discuss all the opportunities he’s received since directing an episode of CW’s The Flash. “I’ve never f*cking done anything in my life that had more people saying, holy sh*t, good job,” he said. “Like 22-year career, man. Not even in the beginning, when they liked me and sh*t.” That episode has opened up some “weird doors,” including a meeting with MGM about turning The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension into a television series. The 1984 Peter Weller-starring film, which defies any simple genre classification (it’s a science fiction comedy drama romance adventure thriller), is one of Smith’s favorites, and “one of the reasons why I make f*cked up movies and can’t be like J.J. [Abrams] and sh*t.”

MGM executives wanted to know if Smith had any ideas on how to turn Buckaroo into a TV show. Boy did he! “Basically you just do the entire movie for season one, then season two you finally do the sequel we’ve all dreamed about, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League.” (The credits mention the sequel, but it was never made.) Apparently, MGM liked what Smith pitched (I imagine hockey jerseys and Johnny Depp were involved) because next month, “we take it out and try to find a home for it.”

Our own Andrew Husband named Buckaroo Banzai, which also stars John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, and Christopher Lloyd (as John BigbootĂ©!), “hands-down the best B-movie ever created.” I’d go even further: I’d say it’s the best movie about a neurosurgeon who’s also a rock god and physicist ever.

Kevin Smith Wants To Bring BUCKAROO BANZAI To TV

May 16, 2016 Rich Drees

It’s a collision of an ’80s cult classic and a ’90s cult director.

Kevin Smith has announced that he is teaming with MGM to develop a television version of the 1984 cult film, and favorite here at FilmBuffOnline, The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The Eight Dimension.

Speaking on his Hollywood Babble-On podcast, Smith stated that his recent directorial turn for an episode of The CW’s The Flash, has lead to a number of invitations to meetings around Hollywood. One of those meetings was with MGM, who pitched the idea of adapting the cult film into a television series.

Doin’ [The Flash] has opened up weird doors. MGM said, ‘Hey, we hear that you like Buckaroo Banzai.’… So they called my agent and they were like, ‘We think we’d like to talk to him about — y’know, we did — with Fargo, we took Fargo and turned it into a TV show and it’s won awards and shit.’ They were like, ‘We have another property that we wanna do that with, and we were wondering if he’s interested and has ever heard of Buckaroo Banzai.’

Smith presented the studio with the following idea on how to bring the film to the small screen –

Basically you just do the entire movie for season one, then season two you finally do the sequel we’ve all dreamed about, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League.

Smith also stated his intention to possibly bring back some of the original cast from the film, like Peter Weller or John Lithgow, but have them play new roles, most likely villains. He specifically name-checked Weller for perhaps playing Buckaroo’s arch enemy, Hanoi Xan, ho has only appeared in the films’ novelization and spinoff comics. The director is looking to “take it out and try to find a home for it” during the next month.

This is not the first time that there has been an attempt to turn Buckaroo Banzais’ adventures into weekly television fodder. In 1998, FOX was developing such a series with Buckaroo’s creator, screenwriter Earl Mac Rauch and the film’s director, W. D. Richter. The project never got beyond a pilot script and promotional video seen below. The screenplay did serve as the basis for one of the Buckaroo Banzai comic book miniseries from publisher Moonstone Comics a few years back.

Honestly, I am not sure quite how to feel about this.

Both Buckaroo Banzai and Kevin Smith were big influences in my life in their respective decades. Buckaroo Banzai showed a high school kid that he didn’t have to follow just one preordained path in life but he could live it, to quote the film’s opening scroll, “going in many directions at once.” A decade later, Smiths’ movies showed me that there were others out there who had the same geeky conversations that my friends and I had, who had the same stupid relationship problems that I did. Together they molded a good portion of who I am and what drives me today.

But I feel oddly… detached, I guess is the right word. While I do love both of these things, I am not sure that they resonate on frequencies that are harmonious with each other. The fact that Smith is willing to reach out to Rauch is, of course, a good sign. I am concerned that this might not make the Reese’s peanut butter cup of geekdom that everyone else seems to think it will be.

Of course we should realize that this is the vaguest of vaporware at this point. No script has been written. No network has even been met with yet. This might be the only time we ever hear of this project. Such is the nature of Hollywood. But we’ll be keeping out out to see what, if anything, develops. Believe it.

May 16th, 2016

On May 16th, 2016, Kevin Smith announced on his Hollywood Babble On podcast (http://www.smodcast.com/channel/hollywoodbabbleon) that he'd made a deal with MGM to create a Buckaroo Banzai TV show. You can hear the podcast announcement here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H6Xw4qZrrA&feature=youtu.be

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