The classic 1954 William Golding novel and freshman English class staple “Lord of the Flies” is getting another reboot — this time with an all-female cast, from male screenwriter-directors, Scott McGehee and David Siegel. Since so many people are familiar with the story, the decision to make a female version quickly reverberated across the internet.
Fans of the book took to Twitter to express their anger over the Warner Bros. project, saying that the intention of the novel was to explore how the savagery, machismo, and competitive masculinity leads to the downfall of the young boys stranded on an island. According to the fans, telling the same story with all female survivors is implausible and misses the point.
The film “is aggressively suspenseful, and taking the opportunity to tell it in a way it hasn’t been told before, with girls rather than boys, is that it shifts things in a way that might help people see the story anew,” McGehee said in an interview with Deadline, which broke the news of the project. “It breaks away from some of the conventions, the ways we think of boys and aggression.”
“It is a timeless story that is especially relevant today, with the interpersonal conflicts and bullying, and the idea of children forming a society and replicating the behavior they saw in grownups before they were marooned,” Siegel said.
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Author Roxane Gay was among those expressing confusion.
Others joked that a female version is actually the plot of “Wonder Woman.”
“Lord of the Flies” has already been adapted for film twice. The first was a faithful take on the novel by Peter Brook in 1963. The 1990 version by Harry Hook received criticism for its more liberal take on the source material.
In the case of “Lord of the Flies,” the controversy seems more about the underlying theme of the original novel and the fact that male filmmakers are taking it on. The 2016 female-led “Ghostbusters” reboot also faced criticism, but more over the idea of tampering with a nostalgic pleasure. Similar films in production are all-female reboot of the “Ocean’s” franchise and “Splash” with Channing Tatum as the mermaid.
Siegel and McGehee previously directed indie films including “What Maisie Knew,” “Bee Season,” and “The Deep End.”