During the 80s (when he was still funny), Chevy Chase brought Fletch to life in the comedy/mystery movie Fletch and Fletch Lives. A quirky investigative reporter, Fletch found himself in some tight situations, dodging creditors and ex-wives. Now Hollywood wants to reboot this potential franchise, but questions (at least from me) abound. Who will play Fletch, after Chase so completely made that character his?
Warner Bros. has recently acquired the movie rights to Gregory McDonald’s series of mystery novels. McDonald’s novels are light on prose and heavy on witty, quick dialogue. His main character I.M. Fletcher is a libidinous, responsibility-shirking slob who is only out for number one. “Fletch” works as an investigative reporter to pay bills and to keep his ex-wives off his back. The series encompasses eleven novels and no doubt Warner Bros. is seeing dollar signs; hello Fletch franchise.
Apparently, due to the popularity of the novels (the first in the series came out in 1974), many a filmmaker has shown interest in converting them to film. The Hollywood Reporter notes that Harvey Weinstein (at the time of Miramax and then TWC) tried for years to launch a reboot of the Fletch series with McDonald’s 8th book “Fletch Won.” Kevin Smith was attached to the project as director, and some moderately big names were rumored interested in possibly playing Fletch.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, David List (manager of McDonald’s estate) will produce alongside Steve Golin and Michael Sugar (of Anonymous Content). Though no screenwriter or director has been attached to the project yet, producers hope that these new Fletch films will be “a re-imagining, not a remake.” They aim to make the new Fletch series broader in view than the original films. But the success of this endeavor really hinges on who plays Fletch. Will it be one of the funny-men of our day? Say Dane Cook or Jim Carrey? Carrey’s comedy is too over-the-top to suit the role of Fletch (in my opinion), but an excellent candidate would be Ryan Reynolds. Yes, he’s one of the Sexiest Men Alive (according to People Magazine), but he also has a great, subtle wit and impeccable comedic timing. I guess we’ll see, here’s hoping this is a great “reboot” and not another unnecessary “remake.”