Indie director Kevin Smith says his war of words with Planet of the Apes helmer Tim Burton over the "stolen" twist ending of Burton's flick was "just a joke."
On the View Askew Web site, Smith writes, "Lest anyone think some sort of holy jihad is brewing betwixt me and the mighty Tim, I'd like to set the record straight here."
After saying he enjoys Burton's films "to varying degrees," he goes on to say, "No — I do not think the Planet of the Apes ending was stolen from [my comic book], nor am I thinking about taking anyone to court."
Smith attributes the brouhaha to his having made "a few jokey comments" to his "good friend Lou Lumenick over at the New York Post," and says the resulting press has "gotten way out of hand."
Smith, who admits to some bad blood with Burton over their fizzled collaboration on the now-shelved Superman, appeals to his fans to "drop the call to arms against the guy who gave us Beetlejuice just because he's not a fan of my stuff.
"Shit, if you're gonna go on the war-path against every motherfucker who doesn't care for my particular brand of whimsy, you'll never have enough energy left to get your asses to the theater on August 24th when Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back opens," concludes the promotion-savvy Smith.
The director of Chasing Amy and Clerks has had his share of controversy, having previously butted heads with Magnolia director Paul Thomas Anderson and having been targeted by religious groups over his satire Dogma.
Smith's new film has already been protested by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation for its many gay jokes, and the organization persuaded Smith to pony up a sizable donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation by way of apology, according to Entertainment Weekly.