LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Filmmaker Kevin Smith is once again taking aim at religion on the silver screen.
The “Clerks” writer and director unveiled plans Monday for an upcoming film tentatively titled “Helena Handbag”, a script he described on Facebook as a movie about “Mankind teaming up with Hell to save existence from extinction at the hands of a Rapturing giant Jesus.”
Smith — whose most recent films include “Red State”, “Cop Out”, and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” — also announced he would begin production on “Clerks III” in May after wrapping up post-production work on his next film, “Tusk”, starring Genesis Rodriguez and Haley Joel Osment.
While he didn’t reveal significant plot details, Smith wrote in his Facebook post that due to the film’s content, he would likely have to utilize a low-budget model for “Handbag” similar to the one he used for “Tusk” “because NOBODY’S gonna wanna make that movie.”
After considering potential titles including “Christzilla” and “Holy Christ!”, Smith said on Facebook he reportedly settled on “Helena Handbag”, a title inspired in part by an unproduced screenplay from “Twin Peaks” creator David Lynch, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The 43-year-old filmmaker first stoked religious controversy with his 1999 film, “Dogma”, starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, which centered around an abortion clinic worker “called upon to save the existence of humanity from being negated by two renegade angels trying to exploit a loophole and re-enter Heaven,” according to IMDB.com.
The film sparked widespread protests from the Catholic League for a script the group alleged “drags Catholicism down to the gutter level.” The backlash eventually forced then-Miramax co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein to buy the film through a separate corporation and distribute it independently.
Despite no lack of controversy, Smith also acknowledged straying at times from his independent roots following the success of 1994’s “Clerks” to write, direct and produce more mainstream fare.
“I let my view askew get standardized for awhile there – so much so that I was happy to walk away from it all for three years and do other [projects],” he wrote.
Smith’s statement is a reference to View Askew Productions, the name of a film and television production company co-founded by Smith and writer Scott Mosier in 1994.