Kevin Smith's new horror film, "Red State," is so bleak and despairing, he's beginning to jokingly tell reporters that it makes "The Dark Knight" look like "Strawberry Shortcake." Very much unlike his previous movies, this one has a body count and an unrelenting and terrifying villain.
But the story about four unsuspecting teenagers and the Fred Phelps-esque religious fundamentalist who stalks them, which Smith first detailed to MTV News in an interview last July, is terrifying the 38-year-old director for an entirely different reason these days: He may never get to make it.
"I don't know, dude," Smith casually replied when asked if he's still optimistic that the film will find financing. "Honestly, it's been tough finding financing, and that was before the economic collapse in the last two or three weeks. It's just not a very commercial flick, and I understand why people are like, 'Do you have another comedy? Because I'll do that.' So I don't know.
"[But] for some reason," he continued, his resolve growing, "that just makes me want to do it more. It makes me feel like I'm on the right track, if people are like, 'I don't know if I want to be involved in this.' It makes you feel like it's worth making."
Make no mistake about it, either: Smith is intent on finding financing for the flick and finding it soon, despite recent front-page news about a new space comedy he's written that's in the pipeline — news that wasn't all that, well, new, actually. (Indeed, Smith told us about the movie almost a full year ago, back when it was still going to be about "Ranger Danger.") But that made us wonder if he was shelving "Red State" in favor of the outer-space flick.
"Oh, I'm doing 'Red State' next," Smith insisted. "The space movie isn't quite ready yet and won't be ready for a little while, and then we haven't even thought about casting. If I put Seth [Rogen] in it, I have to wait until Seth's free, and Seth, as we all know, is a very busy actor right now."
Speaking of Rogen, "Red State" is even more imperative these days because of near-universal early acclaim for "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," his newest comedy starring Rogen and Elizabeth Banks. "Zack and Miri" is Smith's seventh film since breaking out with "Clerks" in 1994. Like "Clerks," each film has been both sentimental and scatological — but each, at heart, has been a comedy.
But they've also all been, simply, "movies," Smith said, insisting that he's eager to move outside his comfort zone with an entirely different genre.
"This, to me, is very much a film, 'Red State.' 'Zack and Miri' is a total movie, totally a fun movie, totally enjoyable, but 'Red State' has a lot on its mind," Smith explained. "And I want to get back to my filmmaker roots and make something that's got a lot on its mind.
" 'Red State' has something on its mind. It's like a polemic of sorts," he added. "I didn't get into the business to make comedies, even though I do make comedies and that's what I like. I got in the business to make film, like I'm a filmmaker, and films are full of ideas, and full of outlooks, and full of opinions, and done with artistry or whatnot. I've never been accused of being an artist, but that's chiefly what films are."
Don't miss the rest of our Halloween Week features! We have photos from the "Friday the 13th" reboot, Cam Gigandet on "The Unborn," Sam Raimi on "Drag Me to Hell" and a side-by-side comparison of the "Twilight" vampires vs. other bloodsuckers.
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.