For as often as movie fans say they’d like to stop seeing so many reboots, reboots are here to stay. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The right story retold in the right way can be as great as the original movie – just look at, for example, A Star Is Born, which was originally released in 1937, then remade in 1954, in 1976, and most recently in 2018, with that version being nominated for an impressive eight Oscars, winning one.
The latest movie to get the reboot treatment is Fletch. Miramax has tapped Jon Hamm to play the lead, Irwin M. Fletcher, a.k.a. Fletch. It’s a role formerly held by Chevy Chase in the 1985 original and the 1989 sequel, Fletch Lives and one of Chase’s most memorable comedic roles in a career full of them.
The story of Fletch, based on the book series by Gregory McDonals, follows the adventures of newspaper reporter Irwin M. Fletcher on his wacky, twisting investigations. The reboot will reportedly be adapting the second novel in McDonals’ series, Confess Fletch. In that story, Fletch finds himself caught in a mysterious chain of murders when he ends up as the prime suspect. To prove his innocence, he has to find and recover his fiancée’s precious art collection, which she inherited from her father after he went missing and was presumed dead.
Unlike many modern reboots that adapt a more serious, gritty tone, the Fletch reboot clearly intends to maintain and lean into the humor of the original: Greg Mottola, best known for Superbad and Adventureland, will direct. Zev Borrow, the longtime story editor and writer for TV series Chuck, is penning the script. Hamm will produce alongside Connie Tavel and David List is set to executive produce.
Hamm has a natural comedic bent that he didn’t often get to use in his long years on Mad Men, but it’s been flashed more frequently in his movie projects and various SNL appearances. It will be nice to see him embrace that side of his talent and topline a straight comedy.
I’ve long argued that the best movies to reboot are ones exactly like this. It seems as though Hollywood most frequently wants to remake the classics and giant IPs, which creates a host of problems. It’s a challenge to figure out how to remain true to the spirit of the original so as not to alienate the preexisting fanbase while at the same time ensuring a remake is its own thing and unique. I’ve often wondered why Hollywood doesn’t remake more mid-range properties like this: Films that were successful and genuinely liked in their time, but aren’t such beloved classics that the thought of remaking them stokes outrage. Even better, take the bombs and the cult movies and remake them into something better. Case in point: I’ll argue any day that the 2011 remake of 1985’s Fright Night is one of the most underrated remakes out there. It’s a fun romp all on its own without stepping on the memory of the original.
Hopefully, Fletch will do the same. In any case, it’s always nice to see Jon Hamm on our screens.