“Tusk” writer-director Kevin Smith and stars Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment and Genesis Rodriguez took time out of their busy schedules to shoot TheWrap’s “Drinking With the Stars” from the Trump International at the Toronto International Film Festival, presented by SodaStream.
Having been in the business for 20 years, Smith wanted to write “Tusk” for himself as opposed to trying to write for other people, knowing by now that it’s impossible to please everyone. He also noted that he had the idea for a shared movie universe long before Marvel made it hip.
Smith combined his love of storytelling with his affinity for Canada to come up with Tusk, which co-stars Johnny Depp.
The two have known each other for years because their daughters are friends, but they’d never worked together before. While Depp is known for his blockbuster movies, he agreed to do Smith’s low-budget horror movie out of reverence for its villain, Michael Parks. While Depp said he was flattered to be asked to participate, Smith knows he was lucky to land the A-list actor, who spent two days shooting “Tusk” in Los Angeles.
Depp and Parks share one major scene, which Smith describes as “two actors at the top of their game chewing scenery like it’s sugar.” At one point, Smith was worried the scene ran too long, but in the end, he refused to cut it down out of respect for the actors.
Smith also explained the decision to sell the film to A24, who he fell in love with after seeing “The Bling Ring.” “If anyone will understand this walrus picture, it’s them,” said Smith, who also loved the company’s logo and its strong presence on social media.
He also credited A24 for showing financial restraint. “They’re not overspending on the movie. They’re budget conscious but not low budge. They remind me of Miramax [in the early ’90s],” said Smith, who sought out the edgy distributor.
Meanwhile, Long revealed that he spent four hours in makeup for his transformation and credited Robert Kurtzman and his team for the walrus design. “I had to perform like a walrus so I had to work out my upper body,” joked Long, who said the hardest part was not showing his tongue on camera.
Long looked so terrifying as the walrus that his own dog freaked out and didn’t want to go near him.
Watch the videos to learn much more about the making of “Tusk,” which A24 opens on Sept. 19.