William Golding's popular 1954 novel Lord of the Flies, which explores the very worst of humanity as exhibited by young boys stranded alone on a remote island, "is a book about toxic masculinity and what happens when that is left unchecked," per the Hollywood Reporter. So if you're confused by a newly announced Warner Bros. film adaptation of the book that swaps boys for girls, well, you're not alone. More on the film, to be written and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel:
- A modern take: Siegel tells Deadline it will be "a very faithful but contemporized adaptation of the book," which he refers to as "a timeless story that is especially relevant today, with the interpersonal conflicts and bullying." Two previous film adaptations were released in 1963 and 1990.
- So why the change? A female cast "might help people see the story anew," McGehee says. At the same time, "it breaks away from some of the conventions, the ways we think of boys and aggression."
- Isn't that the point? This tweet from Roxane Gay sums up one view: "An all women remake of Lord of the Flies makes no sense because ... the plot of that book wouldn't happen with all women."
- Criticism of another kind: The New York Times reports part of the "immediate scrutiny on social media" has to do with the fact that the film will be written and directed by two men. CNN rounds up tweets following this line.
- Questioning motives: At the Daily Caller, Jena Greene speculates about what movie bosses were thinking: "that it would be fun to watch girls for an hour and a half in limited clothing on an island."
- Would Golding approve? Maybe not. In a 1993 interview cited by the Times, the late author had this to say about the story being written about boys: "If you land with a group of little boys, they are more like scaled-down society than a group of little girls would be. Don't ask me why, and this is a terrible thing to say, because I'm going to be chased from hell to breakfast by all the women who talk about equality. This has nothing to do with equality at all."
- Also in the works: The Hollywood Reporter notes that this remake isn't an anomaly and lists a number of others where the men will be replaced by women, including a Rocketeer movie, Ocean's Eleven spin-off Ocean's Eight, a Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake called Nasty Women, and a Splash redo where Jillian Bell will reprise the role played by Tom Hanks and Channing Tatum will play a merman. The latter two films feature female screenwriters.
- Alternative reading: At Slate, Noah Berlatsky writes that "there's already a 'female Lord of the Flies'": Joanna Russ' 1977 book, We Who Are About To.
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