WINNIPEG – The setting in Bifrost, Man., is just one more strange thing about the movie Tusk.
North Carolina and Los Angeles double as a Manitoba Interlake community in the Kevin Smith horror flick, set to be released in September. Its trailer was released on the weekend.
Yes, that’s right – Hollywood is pretending somewhere else is Manitoba, not the other way around.
“That’s really unusual,” said Ginny Collins, communications and marketing director for Manitoba Film and Music, when asked if she knows of any other such films. “I can’t think of a case.”
The movie is unusual in many other ways, from its plot to its birth as a podcast.
The low-budget film – it cost $3 million to make, a pittance in Hollywood terms – is about an American podcaster who travels to the Interlake to talk to a former seafarer who tells wild stories. The old man, who lives in a creepy mansion in Bifrost, kidnaps the American and works to transform him into a walrus.
“I don’t want to die in Canada,” the podcaster says in the last line of the trailer.
The movie got its start with a tale made up by Smith during a podcast. The original concept was set in the U.K. — it was based on a British ad seeking someone to share a home on the condition that the person occasionally dress like a walrus.
After the podcast Smith asked his fans to tweet #WalrusYes or #WalrusNo to determine whether he’d make the movie — and #WalrusYes was the clear winner.
“I’ve always been a big Canadaphile,” Smith wrote in his blog, “so instead of setting the story in the U.K. as discussed in the podcast, I moved it to the backwoods of Canada: Bifrost, Man.” The setting also allowed him to incorporate “twisted tales of the True North” that he’d uncovered while researching a hockey-themed project called Hit Somebody, he said.
Johnny Depp is rumoured to make an appearance in the movie.
Online magazine Slate described the movie as I Am the Walrus meets cult horror film Saw meets Clerks, the latter being Smith’s breakout low-budget 1994 film about a couple of poorly paid clerks.
Smith’s other films include Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma and Zack and Miri Make a Porno.