Kevin Smith is infatuated with Canada. “We like Canada. We talk about Canada quite a bit,” Smith told his friend and SModcast co-host Scott Mosier on episode #365. Canadian news headlines have been a long-running theme on their podcast, but no news story has been so uniquely Canadian as was the maple syrup heist.
“It’s the [Canadian] news I wish I turned on instead of my American news,” said Smith.
Smith first gave us a taste of the maple syrup heist in December, 2012, on episode #237 of SModcast, titled “Guy LaPointe Hunts the Maple Syrup Gang.” On the podcast, Smith recounted to Mosier the story of the thieves who stole $18 million worth of maple syrup from the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve, maintained by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.
“Holy Fuck! If this ain’t a movie, if this didn’t get optioned that minute,” Smith reacted after reading a few paragraphs of the story, “This is so charming!”
A few months later, Sony Pictures announced that it had picked up a pitch for the story with Jason Segal (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) set to star and Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) to direct.
Perhaps what most piqued Smith and Mosier’s interest in the story, was Lt. Guy Lapointe of the Sûreté du Québec, the police force that led the investigation of the syrup theft.
“Lt. Guy Lapointe,” Smith said on the podcast, “that’s as French as it gets. You might as well call him Frency-French Frenchman or something.”
From this point on, Smith and Mosier fall down an improvisational rabbit hole of Guy Lapointe that resulted in a hilarious bit of comedy, and also the creation of a pivotal role in Smith’s new cinematic universe, The True North Trilogy.
Fast forward two years to the release of Tusk, when fans finally get to see the actualized version of Guy Lapointe, played by cinema heavy-weight Johnny Depp.
“I had written the role for Quinten Tarantino to play,” Smith told an audience at a Producers Guild of America conference in 2015. “Word came back that he said no. Turns out he thought it was the part of the guy getting his legs cut off, the guy being turned into the walrus.”
Following the why-not attitude that first sparked Smith’s interest in making Tusk, Smith reached out to Depp to play the role. Depp said yes. (Editor’s note: Look for a future SModCo News post about Depp’s role as Guy Lapointe – W.W.) And Guy Lapointe was born.
“Once I was finished with Tusk I fell in love with the girl’s (daughter Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp) performances and I thought, ‘Ooh, I want to make a movie about that, I am going to build a universe’,” Smith told SBS Australia in an interview about his follow up to Tusk, Yoga Hosers. “This movie is connected to Tusk. So Tusk happens first, then Yoga Hosers, then there is a movie called Moose Jaws, which is Jaws with a moose in Canada. That’s the True North Trilogy. And they are all tied together.”
And just like that, Kevin Smith was back in the business of universe-building.
But the tale of the syrup heist wasn’t over. In December, 2016, Smith recounted to Mosier the continued story of the heist on episode #365 of SModcast.
The CBC reported that a ringleader in the heist was found guilty, though he maintained that he was just a barrel roller whose participation was furthered out of fear for his life. With 26 individuals arrested, some have pleaded guilty, chargers were dropped against others, and more trials are pending, including an additional five to stand trial this month.
Having reported to Mosier the outcome for the heist ringleader, Smith went down yet another rabbit hole, this time reading the less-than-grave Canadian news headlines.
“Canadian news,” Smith laughingly contemplated, “I’m telling you dude, there’s nothing but good fucking news in Canada.”
So listen closely SModomites, you never know what headline might shape your next favorite film.