Production Company: Road Dog/View Askew.
Project Phase: Development Hell.
Who's In It: No one confirmed as yet but Mr. Smith wants Jason Lee to
play the new Irwin Fletcher.
Who's Making It: Kevin Smith (Screenwriter, Director); David List,
Scott Mosier (Producers); based upon the character from the Fletch
series of books by Gregory McDonald.
Release Date: Unknown.
Comments: After his series of Vacation films, Chase's Fletch
series ranks as his fans' next favorite - and not coincidentally, also some of
his highest-grossing films. Chase has suffered through a series of
poorly-received films in the past few years, and perhaps the thought is by
resurrecting his popular Fletch character so too will his box office appeal.
Many fans warmly remember his crime reporter with a flair for madcap disguises
that appeared in the first 1985 film and its subsequent 1989 sequel Fletch
Signing Smith on seems to have been a good omen for the project: the indie
director cut his writing chops on series of Fletch books, and he admits
to being a fan of the films. If good fortune smiles on Chevy, he may be taking
steps to swing back into his comedic prime.
October 2, 1997... Director/writer Kevin Smith (Chasing Amy,
the upcoming Dogma) has been tapped to write the second Fletch
sequel. It's a dream job for Smith, who admitted that he 'learned' how to write
comedy from the original Fletch series of books. Smith's screenplay with
not adapt any of McDonald's books but instead be a totally original story and
may be an homage to The Third Man. Many of our scoopers said positive
things about both Chase's return to pick up the character and Smith's
involvement with the project. [Scoops sent in by 'Clinton', Ernie T., 'grubenst',
'Josh the Sandman', 'wbandla', George, 'Don Ho', 'method', 'Mallrat82', Allan
Whatford and anonymously.]
May 15, 2000... We return to this page to bury it. Ain't It Cool
ran an extensive interview with Smith in which he said that he passed on this
project during work on Dogma due to an inability to fit it in his
schedule at the time. To hear Smith tell the tale, it was his interest in the Fletch
property that brought this film to a semblance of life, and with his involvement
at an end, we're marking it deceased until someone can tell us differently. [Originally
appeared in Ain't It Cool.]
May 16, 2000... From the other side of the production, more eulogies.
"I work for a web development company. Peter Douglas (son of Kirk)
produced the Fletch films, as well as Something Wicked This Way Comes,
Final Countdown, and a few TV flicks. He's now in the web business. He
was here for a meeting concerning a project our company was doing with his, and
I went up and asked him about Fletch 3. He said that there was interest,
that about the time Kevin showed interest, he'd been contacted. Everything
looked good, but several things delayed it (Kevin explains those delays in the
interview at AICN). He said the interest just fizzled out, and at this
point any chance of a Fletch revival is nil. Everyone involved has just
gone their own way. So, this confirms what Kevin said."
[Thanks to The KCMOSHER for his input.]
June 29, 2000... Kevin Smith had been hinting at something big
happening, and this is what we got. He's tapped to write and direct this film
over at Miramax now, and he's currently looking at the book Fletch Won to
adapt. And hey, if the thing makes money, there's plenty of room for more
sequels, seeing as how Miramax optioned all eleven books in the Fletch series.
Right now, Smith has Ben Affleck or Jason Lee in mind for the title role, and
he wants Chevy Chase to come along for the ride in some capacity as well. [Originally
appeared in Hollywood Reporter.]
July 9, 2000... Smith zapped some info on where this project stands
right now up onto the boards at View Askew.com. First, he reiterates how
this would be a "year one" Fletch movie, thus enabling you to have a
younger actor play the role. He did state that they could have the older Fletch
(played by Chase) relating his first big story and thus having a connection to
the previous two films.
He disputes the idea of calling the film Fletch 3 since it's not
really a sequel. We think that's semantics, but hey, he's driving this puppy
now, so we'll switch the title to Fletch Won.
Smith states that it would not be a "Askewniverse" film, as it
would come out after the fifth and last installment of his "Jersey"
series. No Jay. No Silent Bob. Because it's coming after the fifth Jersey film,
the earliest you could expect the new Fletch would be late 2001.
That's pretty much the state of the union according to Kevin Smith on this
flick, although he does add that the Fletch series is currently out of
print. We expect that if the film comes off, this will change in the very near
future. You can read his full commentary on the project here.
[Originally appeared at View Askew; scooped by Wertigo.]
A scooper who wants to be called "Dern" sent us some more
information on the book, Fletch Won. So here he is with his report:
"Some background on the plotline. This was the first time I ever
heard of the concept of a prequel, long before the Star Wars series did
it. What happened is that in the Gregory McDonald book version of Fletch, Fletch
ends up on a private plane heading to Rio with $3 million. McDonald couldn't
afford running off to Rio (at the time, Fletch was really his only
success), so he decided to back it up and start from the beginning, when Fletch
is a poor and cocky kid starting out in the newspaper business.
"He gets kicked around the paper, getting into trouble, until
finally he's given a lame arts story about some rich donor. He starts to head
out on the story, only to find the donor dead in the parking lot. Instead of
letting it go to the crime reporter, who hates Fletch, Irwin Marice Fletcher
decides to dig. The story's title is a play on words, it's Fletch's first win,
and it's chronologically the first of the nine Fletch books (as in Fletch 1).
Moviewise, it's the one that makes the most sense right now, as the ending of Fletch
ruined all the later books (he didn't go to Rio, he didn't get filthy rich), and
Fletch Lives was never a Fletch book.
"The only role that really fits Chevy now could be the editor of
the paper. Fletch in this take is young, mid-20s, blonde haired and a babe
magnet. I mean, Fletch in the books has a severe libido problem that makes James
Bond look saintly. Also, it's a buddy story: a character missing from the other Fletch
movies is Aaron Allstot, a lawyer. He's Fletch's only ally. Fletch's father
makes an appearance right at the end (Chevy?), and is crucial in the book Fletch
Too (as in second book, two Fletches)."
[Thanks to Dern for the novel review.]
November 3, 2000... Even though Kevin Smith has said in previous
instances he wants Jason Lee to play the part of the younger Fletch, something
new happened this week to further cement Smith's level of commitment for the
choice of Lee...
"Wow, I'm surprised no one's reported this yet. I was at Vulgarthon
2000 (the View Askew film festival) on Monday and two very interesting things
came to light.
"A member of the audience asked Jason Lee during the Q&A following Dogma
if he was looking at the next Irwin Fletcher. Kevin Smith snapped up the mike
and said, and I quote 'If he's not the next Irwin Fletcher then I'm not
directing the next Fletch.'"