It would seem Amazon Studios television adaptation of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension has landed in development hell. MGM recently filed a lawsuit against the original 1984 film’s director W.D. Richter and writer Earl Mac Rauch. Whether or not the project will come to fruition will remain uncertain until both parties can reach an agreement regarding the series. So far, neither has offered to comment on the legal battle. But on the heels of this misfortune, the series’ director Kevin Smith has emerged with his head held high above the drama as he took to Facebook Live to announce his exit from the project respectfully and with class.
Smith, who first made a name for himself with cult classics such as Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy, began directing television just last year with an episode of The CW superhero hit The Flash. This year Smith has not only directed another episode of The Flash, but an episode of Supergirl as well. The comic book superfan announced via his Fatman on Batman Smodcast just a few months ago that he would be in the director’s chair for a planned television reboot of Buckaroo Banzai. But with the drama now surrounding the project, Smith did what plenty of men should do but don’t and pulled out of the project:
“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?”
Regarding the legal dispute between Amazon and the original films writer and director Smith said:
“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.”
While it’s a bummer to have Smith remove himself from the project, it’s impossible to have nothing but respect for the man. Smith has always been brutally honest about his film’s to the point that it has been to his own detriment. He’s also not one for putting up with Hollywood bullshit unless Bruce Willis is attached.
Smith then offered some insight into what the actual dispute could be about:
“Let’s say one day that the people that own Miramax now [said], ‘Hey, we want to make Clerks,’ 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.”
As much as it is a loss for Smith, it’s an even bigger loss for Amazon. Smith is a respected voice in the community mainly because everyone knows he’s a fan and he brings a tremendous amount of passion to his craft. Having grown up a major fan of the original film, Smith would have been the perfect director for the television adaptation. Hopefully, if the project gets back on track, Smith will be brought back on board. But chances are the studio will replace Smith with some generic tool that has no affinity for the original film, therefore the director won’t be morally conflicted when MGM wins the legal battle to cut out Richter and Rauch from the project. Meanwhile, Smith will continue to lend his talents to the Arrowverse, crafting what are some of the best directed episodes in the history of all of The CW superhero dramas.