To my mind, one of the coolest trends in movies these days is the wacky collaborations that keep making the news. Michel Gondry, Seth Rogen and “The Green Hornet”? Kenneth Branagh and “Thor”? Add another unlikely, though definitely dynamic, duo to the group: Kevin Smith and Mitch Albom.
The “Clerks” director and the “Tuesdays with Morrie” author will be teaming up for a movie adaptation of the Warren Zevon song, “Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song).”
You heard that right. Nothing in the previous sentence is a typo. This mad scientist alliance is happening, as Smith exclusively revealed to MTV News, and he’s pumped up about it.
Zevon, for those not in the know, was a rock ‘n’ roll singer-songwriter whose hit 1978 album “Excitable Boy” went platinum. The track “Werewolves of London”? That be Zevon. He died of cancer in 2003. A year before his death, Zevon and Albom, who’s a longtime hockey buff and former sports writer for the Detroit Free Press, decided to write a song together. Albom composed the lyrics, Zevon took care of the music, and together they came up with “Hit Somebody,” an organ-driven story in song that’s reminiscent of work by Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie and Randy Newman.
The song, Smith explained, “is about a goon, a hockey goon. It’s this very wonderful, soaring, moving story that’s also bittersweet and very, very funny, about a hockey player who just wants to play hockey, who loves hockey so much, but just sucks at it. The only thing he can do to be on a team is just be the enforcer, just be the guy who goes out there and beats the s— out of people.”
“The song’s been one of my favorites since I heard it and I’ve always seen this whole movie behind,” Smith continued. “I got in touch with Mitch because Warren Zevon has passed on and we started talking about it and he was into it and into what I was kind of pitching.”
Smith is gunning to get the project going in 2010 or 2011, singling out the film from all his other projects as “the one I really want to do in a big, bad way.” It will be set in the late 1970s within the World Hockey Association, before those teams were absorbed into the National Hockey League. “It takes place during the last gasp of the goon era of hockey when it was all about fighting,” Smith said.
While there will certainly be humor in the script, he envisions the film as being more dramatic in nature, and possibly entering into awards season chatter down the road.
“I never once thought about winning awards or anything, but that movie I think can do it,” he said. “If I play my cards right and we get the right people in it, it could be an award-type movie.”
Do you think Smith has an Oscar in him? Who should he cast as the lead character?