Bizarre Gumtree walrus lodger advert inspires Kevin Smith to make $3m Hammer Horror film
Filming of Tusk is intended to start in Los Angeles in September
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Wednesday 31 July 2013
A highly unusual request for a lodger in Brighton has taken on a life of its own, going viral and is now set to be made into a film by cult director Kevin Smith.
A homeowner last month posted an advert on Gumtree seeking a lodger who would not have to pay any rent. There was one condition: the successful applicant would have to dress as a walrus.
The extraordinary advert found its way to Smith, director of Clerks, Mallrats and Chasing Amy, who talks about amusing articles on his weekly podcast with producer Scott Mosier.
The director called the story “one of the most peculiar we would ever tackle on the show”. While he was confident it would fill an hour of his June 25 SModcast “little did I know it’d fill much more’n that,” he said on his blog.
He now plans to shoot the movie Tusk after putting together a script in the style of a 1970s Hammer Horror movie, “in which a mad scientist intends to sew some hapless lodger into counterfeit blubber”.
Production in Los Angeles will start in September and Smith said the aim was for it to be programmed at the Sundance festival next year. “That would mean, six months after the first conversation about a walrus flick, Tusk would exist as a movie.”
It all stemmed from the anonymous Brighton poster who said on Gumtree he or she had lived a “long and interesting life” and had chosen Brighton for their retirement.
The most “intense and fascinating years of my life,” the advertiser said, were the three years spent alone on St Lawrence Island, off the west coast of Alaska, with just a walrus for companionship.
“Never have I had such a fulfilling friendship with anyone, human or otherwise, and upon leaving the island I was heartbroken for months,” the post said, adding they had named the walrus Gregory.
The advertiser said they had been building a “realistic” walrus costume that would fit a person, and the successful applicant would have to wear it for “approximately two hours a day”.
While wearing the costume “there must be no speaking in a human voice, and any communication must entail making utterances in the voice of a walrus”.
Other duties included eating the fish and crabs that the homeowner throws to them. In return, the lodger will have a spacious double room and “run of the house”.
Shortly after the advertiser revealed a lodger had been found, adding “I was not expecting such an overwhelming response”.
Smith finished the first draft of the script for Tusk in 20 days, moving the setting from the UK to Canada, with actor Michael Parks in mind, the star of Smith’s Red State. The budget will be about $3 million.
Smith said the moral of the story was: “Chase every dopey dream you ever have, so long as it doesn’t involve hurting or killing anybody”.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food