‘The Fly’ Remake: ‘Sleight’ Director J.D. Dillard In Talks to Direct and Co-Write

     March 14, 2017

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I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over, and the insect is awake.

The Brundlefly is awakening once more at 20th Century Fox. Deadline reports that the studio is in talks with Sleight helmer J.D. Dillard to direct and co-write a remake of the classic horror The Fly. Dillard, who is coming off the Sundance success of his directorial debut, would also co-write the script with his writing partner Alex Theurer.

Fox has been developing a remake of David Cronenberg‘s 1986 horror/sci-fi classic for years now, but the waters have been still in recent years, but it seems the studio is finally firing up the telepods again for what must be a rather valuable IP.I t’s worth noting that Fox is currently riding a wave of extreme anticipation for Alien: Covenant, so if that film performs at the box office, we might see them turning to their catalogue of R-rated horror a bit more. Back in 2009, the studio was in talks with Cronenberg himself to reboot The Fly, but the director later revealed the project fell apart over budgetary disagreements with the studio. Cronenberg later took his love of the property to the stage with his opera adaptation.

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Image via 20th Century Fox

The 1986 film was a remake itself, bringing the 1958 B-movie classic of the same name into the modern age with extraordinary creature effects and Cronenberg’s signature philosophically-inclined horror slant. Jeff Goldblum and Gina Davis starred in the tale of an ambitious scientist designing a teleportation machine who mutates into a grotesque insect after an experiment gone wrong.

The film would be an enormous career step for Dillard and Theurer, who earned a lot of festival buzz with their street magician thriller Sleight. Blumhouse acquired the film after it premiered in Sundance’s NEXT session, and also lined up the duo’s next project, the horror-thriller Sweetheart starring Dope‘s Kiersy Clemons. Sleight will hit theaters on April 7th.

As someone who grew up adoring the 1980s versions of The Fly and The Thing, I’ve never understood the anti-remake sentiment. I’ll give pretty much anything a shot, and given how often Hollywood projects fall apart, I’m trying not to let the fact that this film only exists because Cronenberg didn’t get to make his follow-up cloud my judgment. That said, this is a high bar for any filmmaker to clear but it’s also a huge opportunity to play with some rich material. If a remake is going to be successful, they’re going to need to do what Cronenberg did with his reboot — have something new and relevant to say about technology (and deliver some gnarly creature effects, preferably.)

What do you guys think? Any interest in a remake? Did you catch Sleight in its festival run? If so, is Dillard a good fit? Sound off in the comments.

 

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