So the “Red State” tour rolls on and over the weekend, it made its way north, hitting Montreal (with a kind of staggering price of $50 for a ticket) where Kevin Smith presented his horror film with the customary Q&A following the screening. And the filmmaker who keeps stressing he wants to retire from directing is set to make his final bow an ambitious outing. According to Hour Community (via /Film) who attended the event, Smith revealed that his hockey dramedy “Hit Somebody” is now going be a two-film saga with the first part about a player’s youth in Canada and the latter half about his journey into professional hockey.
To refresh your memory, the film is inspired by a Warren Zevon song, focusing on a rising hockey player named Buddy McCracken, and has a script Smith has been working on for a while. He’s already slotted (somewhat unofficially) much of his “Red State” cast for roles with Michael Parks to play a French Canadian coach, John Goodman as Buddy’s first coach Blue Jay Jennings, Melissa Leo in an unspecified part, and Nicholas Braun in the lead role of Buddy McCracken with Kyle Gallner also slated to make an appearance in the film as a Wayne Gretzky-like character. The scope of the project isn’t too much of a surprise with Smith revealing earlier this year that he was 110 pages into his script and only half done — the story spans three decades from 1950 to 1980 — and despite bitching about the studio system for most of last year, he was contemplating going that route to get financing.
So, will anybody step up to the plate to finance an extensive period hockey film, starring a roster of much smaller names in a genre that has been uneven at best at the multiplex? Yeah, that might be a very hard sell considering the very few hockey movies out there have only really come in a couple of flavors: biopics/inspirational stories or broad comedies. That said, there is one place a hockey drama could theoretically work: television. If Smith can keep the budget down and if the story is in that rags to riches vein, as a cable movie it would make the most sense. But even then, convincing execs that a movie saga about hockey is a worthwhile endeavor when the sport itself lags easily behind football and basketball in popularity is a difficult pitch, even for more adventurous indie or cable outlets. Our advice to Smith? Give CBC a ring (but just don’t expect Hollywood sized dollars from the Canadian national broadcaster).
It’s yet another twist in the development of “Hit Somebody” that was mooted to start filming around this time, though at this point, 2012 is looking more realistic. As for Smith, he’s remained surprisingly silent thus far though he did retweet the Hour story. But we’re sure he’ll have a very lengthy and wordy explanation posted soon enough.