He Is the Walrus

Justin Long's take on Tusk

Kevin Smith (l) and Justin Long
Kevin Smith (l) and Justin Long (Photo by John Anderson)

"The prospect of doing it was scary, you know, just in terms of how it could affect my career. My agents were very reticent about it but I knew I had to do it because, if nothing else, it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

That's actor Justin Long explaining why he chose to take the lead role in Kevin Smith's new horror comedy Tusk. Formerly known as the Mac to John Hodgman's stodgy PC in the celebrated Apple ad campaign, Justin Long plays Wallace, an initially unsympathetic podcaster who's hit the big time by disparaging the humiliations of sadly epic YouTube fails. He gets his comeuppance at the hands of a deranged Michael Parks, who kidnaps Long's character and slowly stitches him into a walrus pelt.

"In his initial email to me, Kevin described it as a two-hander, a character piece," said Long. "He didn't mention anything about a walrus. After reading halfway through the script, I was thrown, to put it mildly. It was so out there, so bizarre. I thought, if you're going to fail, what a fun way to fail. I knew it would be something memorable regardless of its Rotten Tomatoes score."

Tusk's none-too-subtle goring of douchey podcasters and the relatively new concept of cyberbullying makes the film a morality tale worthy of EC Comics.

"I could not agree more," said Long. "Originally, [Wallace] wasn't written as this guy who makes fun of people, he was just going to Canada in search of an orgy. I thought there was an opportunity to [make the film] a little bit more than a stoner horror movie. I met with Kevin the night after I read the script and told him my ideas. I didn't think he'd remember any of it because he was about two-and-a-half blunts deep at the time, but within days he had incorporated those ideas into the script. And so, you know, for a walrus-man movie, that second draft had a real poignancy to it."


Tusk opened in Austin theatres last Friday. See our review here.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Justin Long
After a Fashion
After a Fashion
More star sightings at ACL and Stephen dishes with Fox

Stephen MacMillan Moser, Sept. 28, 2007

More by Marc Savlov
Cold Pursuit
Liam Neeson is Mr. Plow ... with a vengeance

Feb. 15, 2019

2019 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Documentary
Tales of love and hate dominate these Oscar hopefuls

Feb. 8, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Fantastic Fest 2014, Justin Long, Tusk, Kevin Smith, Michael Parks

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle