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Genre: Comedy/Mystery.

Studio: Miramax.
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.

Premise: Unknown.

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 Lives.

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.

Rumors: Unknown.

Scoop Feedback:

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.'"


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