The 1984 cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension featured RoboCop and Psych star Peter Weller in the title role, one of the iconic parts he played in the '80s and probably his most lauded performance. The idea of rebooting the franchise has been floated a few times, including once with filmmaker Kevin Smith at the helm -- and during a recent podcast, Smith revealed his dream casting for Buckaroo Banzai. As with so many roles these days, the choice was Bill and Ted Face the Music star Keanu Reeves who, with the success of John Wick and the return of The Matrix, is suddenly an actor with multiple active franchises.
Smith's brush with a reboot was fairly short-lived. MGM Television and Amazon Studios were interested in launching a Buckaroo Banzai TV series, and Smith was set to showrun. It fell apart when MGM filed a suit against the original film's creators, revealing to Smith a relationship between the studio and talent that had been rotting from the inside.
"If I was writing a Keanu Reeves vehicle, I'd put him in Buckaroo Banzai," Smith said in response to a fan on his Fatman Beyond podcast. "That's what I'd do. It's a good idea. Somebody should try that."
Given the reactions that Smith and co-host Marc Bernardin had to the question, it seems likely that Reeves was the name he had in mind when he was doing the Amazon series. At minimum, it's pretty clear that this is already a conversation the two have had. The pair didn't have time to get into it, though, as Bernardin's answer to the Reeves question -- The Highlander -- sparked a lengthy sidetrack.
The original film was written by Earl Mac Rauch and directed by W.D. Richter, who sued MGM shortly after news of the TV series became public. That came as a shock to Smith, who had been planning to involve the pair in the prospective series.
Per MGM's lawsuit, Rauch and Richter "[had] now asserted in multiple letters to Plaintiffs that they, not Plaintiffs, supposedly own the exclusive right to produce and distribute a Buckaroo Banzai television series," states MGM's lawsuit. "There is now a substantial controversy between the parties with great immediacy. MGM seeks to develop its new television series without Defendants' interference. Accordingly, Plaintiffs bring this action to seek a declaration of the rights and legal relations of the parties with regard to Buckaroo Banzai."
At the time of Smith's departure, MGM was said to be moving forward with the show, but there has been no more news since.