As anyone who’s been following Kevin Smith’s Twitter feed, or his insanely hilarious Smodcast well knows, the man loves hockey. I mean really loves hockey. To a nearly unhealthy degree, some might even argue.
In fact, he adores my country’s favorite athletic past-time so much that a while back he announced his intentions to write and direct a sports flick named after, and based on, the beloved Warren Zevon hit “Hit Somebody! (The Hockey song),” telling the story of Buddy, a scrappy wannabe player with a talent for, well, hitting people. With his latest, “Cop Out,” currently circling overhead awaiting its Feb. 26 release date, Smith has been making the press rounds and talking up the project, which is set to be his next directorial gig (an announcement that may disappoint those eager to see his long-in-the-works “Red State” project).
While talking to NHL.com on Sunday about the Olympic match between Canada and America (the results of which drew many tears here in Vancouver), the geek-God auteur dropped a major scoop regarding casting for the film, stating that “Cop Out” co-star Seann William Scott is the man he desperately wants for the job:
“Seann, for me, was the key into the character, I had all the elements in place, and the one thing I was missing was the personality. Generally I like to write to a voice, but I didn’t know who that voice was or what that voice could be. And then after spending all the time with Seann on this movie, he’s pitch perfect. He is that guy.
“This dude has something in him that you can just see hangs so well on Buddy. He’s got some pain that’s going to work out well. More importantly he has so much love in his heart. Seann Scott is such an ebullient, happy person who’s just happy to be there. And (on “Cop Out”) you could see it. On our set the guy is just so delighted to be working, to be making people laugh. But he’s always dismissed as Stifler … This is his chance to shine.”
Although no deals are in place as of yet, Scott is a cool choice. Similar to the situation with Marlon Wayans being cast as Richard Pryor, Scott has never really had much of a chance to shine, outside of playing wise-cracking second-bananas in mediocre action-adventure flicks (in “The Rundown,” “Evolution” and “Bulletproof Monk”) or horny man-children in sex comedies (in the “American Pie” series, “Role Models” and “Old School”), so chances are that he’s desperate for a chance to break the type-casting curse. With a strong script and enough support, “Hit Somebody” could finally be his chance to connect with mainstream audiences in a way he hasn’t be able to successfully do yet.
However, while Scott’s possible addition to the project is intriguing, I’m actually far more curious about the scope of the film. I had assumed that it would be a relatively conventional sports flick — albeit one gussied up with Smith’s characteristic wit and verbal energy. It seems, though, that this theory may be dead wrong and the director has something far more ambitious in mind:
“It’s my chance to do something big, epic in scale. Stories I tell span one day … This spans 30 years. You’re talking a period. You’re trying to bring people to a time in your life that hasn’t existed in 30 years. The look of it, the feel of it, the sound of it — everything I have is going to be in that movie.”
Wow, color me beyond curious. Frankly, I’m thrilled to hear that Smith is finally willing to roll the dice on something big and, quite possibly, take his skills to the next level. As much as I’ve adored the majority his recent works — “Clerks 2” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” — as funny as they were, it felt a little bit like Smith was coasting, hesitant to step too far outside of his long-established comfort zone. Who knows? From the sounds of it, “Hit Somebody” could be something really special. I can’t wait to find out!
For the uninitiated, here’s Warren Zevon’s song in-full, set to the appropriate hockey images:
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Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.