Fletch is a property that Hollywood has been trying to bring back to the screen for years. Gregory McDonald wrote the first of eleven mystery novels in 1974. Chevy Chase played the newspaper reporter in 1985’s Fletch (a movie that’s adored but not universally) and the 1989 sequel Fletch Lives. There were talks of another sequel in the 1990s, but nothing ever came of it. By the turn of the century, Kevin Smith was attached to adapt the prequel novel Fletch Won and threw out Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Jimmy Fallon, and Adam Sandler as possible stars — before he dropped out. Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence signed on to write and direct Fletch Won for Zach Braff before he was replaced by Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine) in 2007. And here we are, wherever this is.
I suppose Harvey Weinstein’s rights ownership (first via Miramax, then The Weinsten Company) have lapsed in that time, because Warner Bros. has picked up the movie rights for McDonald’s books. Hit the jump for more on the studio’s approach to adapting the property.
First of all, don’t call it a remake. There is no writer or director attached yet, but producers Steve Golin, Michael Sugar, and David List are hoping for more of a “re-imagining.” According to Heat Vision, the goal is a “smart action comedy that plays out on a bigger canvas than the previous movies.”
I’m fond of the 1985 film, and I’ve heard the books are great. I’m similarly fond of Lawrence’s work, and really wish that version could’ve worked out. Since there’s no talent attached yet, and all we have so far are vague descriptors (“a bigger canvas” – what?), I have no idea what Warner Bros. has planned. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one fade away quietly.
In the meantime, here’s the product description for McDonald’s first book, which I really need to put on my Kindle:
He’s an investigative reporter whose methods are a little unorthodox. Currently he’s living on the beach with the strung-out trying to find to the source of the drugs they live for.
He’s taking more than a little flack from his editor. She doesn’t appreciate his style. Or the expense account items he’s racking up. Or his definition of the word deadline. Or the divorce lawyers who keep showing up at the office.
So when multimillionaire Alan Stanwyk offers Fletch the job of a lifetime, which could be worth a fortune, he’s intrigued and decides to do a little investigation. What he discovers is that the proposition is anything but what it seems. [Amazon]