So Kevin Smith has never once directed a film not based on his own script, but when you consider some of the films he’s been offered in the past and rejected—including two fantasy/comedy hybrids, Matthew McConaughey’s “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” and Eddie Murphy’s upcoming “Imagine That”—the I-only-direct-my-own-stuff stance was probably a wise decision on Mr. Smith’s part.
Yet with his Bruce Willis/Tracy Morgan buddy cop flick, “A Couple of Dicks,” Smith has finally taken the leap into someone else’s script. Why this film, and why now? His rationale is rooted in his formative movie-going experiences, when his dad would take him out of school to go to a matinee at the theater.
“I fell in love with [the script] because it reminded me of a movie that my father would have taken me to see,” the director told MTV News recently. “That’s the reason I was drawn to it. I was like, ‘My father would have loved this movie.’”
The project came together when Warner Bros. chief Jeff Robinov sent Smith the “Dicks” script, which was written by Robb and Marc Cullen and which follows two police officers tasked with tracking down a stolen baseball card. Smith assumed Robinov wanted him to rewrite the script or appear in a cameo.
“For years, I’d been like, ‘No, I only direct stuff I wrote,’” Smith said. “I would do interviews and be like, ‘If you ever see me directing a script I didn’t write, I’m clearly paying off a mortgage.’ Stuff like that, because I never thought I would.”
But Robinov, who’d been a big fan of Smith's “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” thought the director would be the perfect guy to helm “Dicks.” And based on the personal way in which the script resonated with Smith, he was only too happy to accept—even as he continued to be surprised that the directorial offer had ever been made.
“I’ve never even directed anything but a Kevin Smith movie, so why would you trust me with anything else?” he said. “That’s why this is amazing. I can’t believe that somebody would be like, ‘Here, try to breathe new life in the buddy cop franchise.’ But I guess it makes sense. All I do is buddy movies. In this one they have guns and there’s a plot. As opposed to them sitting around talking about ‘Star Wars’ and sex.”
Smith’s ultimate goal, he said with a laugh, is to make “Dicks” a TNT channel classic. “It’s a throwback to ‘48 Hrs.,’ ‘Beverly Hills Cop,’” Smith said. “It’s a buddy cop flick. It’s not like, ‘He’s a by-the-rules white guy and he is a jive-talking black guy, but together they’re gonna fight crime!’ They just happen to be black and white and they’re long-time friends.”
Those explosion-filled TNT flicks are Smith’s idea of the quintessential “dad movie,” and that’s exactly what he wants “Dicks” to be. “It is your dad’s movie,” he said. “We all have fathers and we all know what a dad movie is, but that definition is changing now. You ask my kid, ‘What’s your dad’s favorite movie?’ She might be like, ‘I don’t know, “Star Wars,” something like that.’ And that’s such a sissy dad movie. Dad movies used to be like ‘Bridge on the River Kwai,’ ‘Road House,’ ‘Die Hard.’ And now it’s like, ‘I like the new J.J. [Abrams] ‘Star Trek.’”
What’s your father’s favorite movie? What do you think is the best buddy cop movie ever?