Director Gore Verbinski has been picked by Universal to develop a new film based on the Hasbro murder mystery board game Clue. The game was previously turned into a film in 1985 with an ensemble cast featuring Tim Curry, Martin Mull, Christopher Lloyd and Madeline Khan. No screenwriter has been hired yet.
The original film version of Clue had the unenviable task of translating a board game into an entertaining movie. But director Jonathan Lynn, with some help from John Landis on the script, managed to do just that, turning the whodunit plotline of the game into a frenetic, screwball comedy. Preserving the concept that the game could have multiple resolutions to its mystery, the film was released with three different endings, which ending audiences saw depended on what theater they went to. I remember having to travel almost 45 minutes to see Clue at a different theater just to see one of the two endings that weren’t attached to the print screening locally. It wasn’t until the film was released on home video later that most people got to see all three endings. (There was also a fourth ending which was reportedly filmed, but has never been released.)
Clue’s manufacturer, Hasbro, has been farming out a lot of their toy and game properties for films lately. In addition to the Transformers and GI Joe toy lines that have been translated into big budget summer movies, they also have their Stretch Armstrong toy and the board games Candyland, Monopoly and Ouija currently in development.
Recently Hasbro revamped the game, updating many of the classic, Victorian-era elements to the 21st century. Now, Mr. Plum is a billionaire video game designer, Ms. White is a former child star and Col. Mustard is a washed-up football player. I imagine that this is the version they will probably go with for this new film. That’s fine with me. The further they distance themselves from the original, the less this new version will suffer in comparison.