With the trailer for his buddy cop movie starring Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis just having hit the Internet, director Kevin Smith railed in his signature, profanity-heavy style to Entertainment Weekly’s Hollywood Insider blog on just why he agreed to Cop Out on the flick’s original title, A Couple of Dicks.
It was already fairly well known that the big three TV networks balked at the original title because they wouldn’t be able to air commercials before 9 p.m. (yes, really), but hearing him describe the situation can still bring a smile to the face of anyone who loves their language more than a little salty. Here’s a taste of what he told EW:
Smith: Look, losing A Couple of Dicks was almost akin to losing my own dick. It was a perfect buddy-cop movie comedy title. Everyone knew it. You couldn’t say that title to somebody without a f-ing smile crossing their face. But what I had gone through with Zack and Miri Make a Porno – “porno” had become very problematic, it became tough for us to advertise [the film], blah blah blah. Warner Bros. decided, “Hey man, we’ll call the networks and see if we’re going to get any problems [with A Couple of Dicks as a title], months before the movie’s ever going to come out.” The top 3 networks – CBS, ABC, NBC – said we can’t run one of your spots before 9 o’clock.So my feeling was like, it’s an R-rated movie, so who the f- are we talking to anyway before 9 o’clock? Warner Bros’s feeling was like, “Hey man, the sports audience, dickhead. We have to advertise to the sports audience on Saturday and Sunday and all those sporting events usually take place before 9 p.m. in the evening.” At which point, I was like, “Oh wow, you guys are way smarter than me.”
Hit the jump for a lot more from Mr. Smith, on what could have been an even worse title and what could quite possibly be the perfect tagline.
When it comes to the title Cop Out, I find it hard to think of even a few people I know who would find that to be even an ounce of funny. Pile that on top of the rather banal trailer that just dropped (although it does feature an appearance from the insanely funny Susie Essman from Curb Your Enthusiasm, so it can’t be all bad), and the signs are piling up that Kevin Smith’s stint as a hired hand for Warner Bros. is only going to deliver the kind of generic “comedies” that seem to be released quickly and quietly each February.
But, rather amazingly, Smith went on to explain to EW how, with the promise of the trailer appearing before Sherlock Holmes, he and his crew almost settled with a title that could have been even worse.
Smith: So for months now, they’ve always had A Couple of Cops as kind of this fallback thing – a placeholder, essentially. And then all of a sudden, one of the producers of the movie was like, “Hey they’re locking the title, because the trailer is going to be put on Sherlock Holmes.” And I was like, “This is an abundance of wonderful and horrible information.” I want to be on Sherlock Holmes because everyone on the planet will probably go see it on Christmas, but I don’t want it to be A Couple of Cops. That just seems like we didn’t even try! We went from a really clever title to the least clever title of all time. I was like, “God that title is going to feel like such a f-ing cop out.” And [the producer] goes, “We should just call the movie that.”
OK, fair enough, but even knowing the back story doesn’t make the title they settled on much funnier. Even so, Smith almost always puts a funny spin on even the worst of situations, and he certainly did here, wrapping up his EW tirade with optimistic talk of sequels, and a fan-suggested tagline for Cop Out which would just be perfection, meaning it will probably never happen.
Smith: We were making up sequel titles in our heads, dude. Like, you know, Two Bigger Dicks. Or Dicks 2: It Just Got Harder. Somebody online said you could take Cop Out and vary it with like, “Rock out with your Cop Out!” Hopefully that will be a tagline on a poster or a trailer. And if it is, we owe that random dude on Twitter like at least a few free passes.
And just to make it clear, I’m certainly rooting for Mr. Smith to somehow emerge with a winner here, because he’s always been one of my favorite writers, and not a bad comedy director by any stretch either.