Following news that MGM has filed a lawsuit against the original writer and director of “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension,” Kevin Smith has announced that he is leaving Amazon’s TV series based on the film. Smith made the announcement online via a Facebook Live video that he’s “no longer involved” with Amazon’s adaptation.
The news follows the a lawsuit filed by MGM against writer Earl Mac Rauch and director Walter Richter — the pair of creators behind the 1984 “Buckaroo Banzai” film. MGM’s lawsuit says that Rauch and Richter have “asserted in multiple letters to Plaintiffs that they, not Plaintiffs, supposedly own the exclusive right to produce and distribute a Buckaroo Banzai television series.” This conflict escalated when the writer and director informed MGM of their plans to move forward with their own “Buckaroo Banzai” projects earlier this year.
In his Facebook Live video, Smith said that these legal troubles are “not what I signed up for. 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.” Smith also praised Rauch and Richter and said that it was his intention to have them involved in the show. “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.”
Smith said he understands where Rauch and Richter are coming from, and used one of his own films to explain his point of view. “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.”
Smith wanted to make it clear that while he is no longer involved in the project, he doesn’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?”
Additionally, Deadline reports that the project is now in limbo at Amazon until the lawsuit is settled.
“Buckaroo Banzai starred Peter Weller in the title role as a physicist/neurosurgeon/test pilot/rock star who tries to save the world by defeating a band of inter-dimensional aliens. The cast also included John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Lloyd. A sequel was mentioned in the credits, and would have been titled “Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League.” Nothing came of the sequel, nor any of the other TV series that have entered various stages of production over the last few decades — until the current one from MGM and Amazon.
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