When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was pull out my trusty Blockbuster Guide to the Movies and pick an actor or actress and consume all their movies. One year I picked Arnold Schwarzenegger, another year John Travolta, and one year, I picked Chevy Chase.
I knew Chevy Chase from Christmas Vacation and I had seen part of Funny Farm at my grandmother’s house. His dry humor made me laugh, so I decided to begin renting whatever films I could find. If I’m honest, I don’t remember many of them. They just didn’t leave an impact on me. But if I had to name a film that I fell in love with, it was Fletch.
Fletch had one of those cover boxes that just stood out. I could tell you what it looked like, that it starred Chevy Chase, and he had some sort of badge.
Still, I didn’t know anything else. So, after running across the novel Fletch, I decided to buy it and rent the film. I just wasn’t prepared for the insanity that was to come.
It’s strange. I remember watching Fletch and loving it. I began reading the book and loved it as well. Then I rented Fletch Lives and was a Fletch mega fan. Of course, this was the late 90’s, and Fletch was no longer an important part of pop culture. So, I watched the movies a couple more times and have really forgotten about Fletch for the most part ever since.
In June 2000, Kevin Smith was announced as working on a new Fletch movie with Miramax. This led to a disagreement with Chevy Chase and Kevin decided to adapt one of the books that focused on a younger Fletch and cast Jason Lee. The movie remained in limbo a couple of years and in 2003 it was finally set to begin filming. Then Harvey Weinstein took issue with Jason Lee’s casting and a fear that the movie would not be able to break the $30 million dollar ceilings that Kevin Smith films seem to have. So, Zach Braff was rumored, but Kevin Smith left the project in 2005 before filming anything.
Bill Lawrence, creator of Scrubs and Ted Lasso, was then announced to replace Kevin Smith. The deal was for two Fletch films with Zach Braff still rumored for the role. Ultimate Braff backed out in 2007, and Lawrence left the project as well. Steve Pink was then announced, director of Accepted and Hot Tub Time Machine. Nothing came of this either.
In 2011, the rights to Fletch were purchased by Warner Brothers, who rejected several screenplays. In 2013, David List stepped in with a draft which attracted Jason Sudeikis to the role. The studio signed off on the screenplay and began looking for a director. In 2015, the film moved from Warner Brother to Relativity Studios after Warner passed on the project. Relativity Media went bankrupt that year and again in 2018.
Finally, in 2020, Miramax announced that the reboot was back on with Jon Hamm starring and producing with Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland, Paul) to direct. The film decided to adapt the second book, Confess, Fletch and production began in June 2021.
Today, August 25th, 2022, a trailer was finally released. Fletch indeed lives!
I was thrilled to see this character in a new film, and I think John Hamm’s sense of humor will make for a fun and interesting film. It’s awesome to see him reunite with John Slattery from Mad Men and I think it’s awesome we are getting a mid-budget comedy film released in theaters.
A few months ago, I downloaded the first Fletch book and I’ve put the films on my to-watch list. I can’t wait to jump back in the world of Fletch and I really hope the film does well enough to rejuvenate the genre and the character that has been stuck in developmental hell for the past twenty years.