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.”