David Mandel, a writer/producer on the long-running Seinfeld series, is the newest writer to try and bring mystery novelist Gregory McDonald’s wise-cracking investigative reporter Irwin M. Fletcher, aka “Fletch.”
In addition to his work on Seinfeld, Mandel also worked with Seinfeld co-creator Larry David to work on Curb Your Enthusiasm and with Kevin Smith on his short-lived Clerks animated series. He also co-wrote and co-directed the comedy EuroTrip with Alec Berg and Jeff Schaffer.
Warner Brothers picked up the right to the Fletch series of novels back in February with the intention of turning McDonald’s 11 book series into a franchise that would be “a reimagining, not a remake, and hope to make an smart action comedy that plays out on a bigger canvas than the previous movies.”
The previous movies being referenced, of course, are Fletch and Fletch Lives which starred Chevy Chase. And while Universal Studios had good luck at the box office with those two films, the character has been absent from cinema screens for over 20 years.
For most of the last decade, the rights were held by the Weinstein Company, who had first snatched them up as a potential project for writer/director Kevin Smith. Smith had often stated his admiration for MacDonald’s writing style, claiming that he learned writing dialogue from the Fletch novels. However, Smith and Weinstein head Harvey Weinstein were unable to come to terms on who would play the lead role. Bill Lawrence, creator of the television series Scrubs, also turned in a screenplay, loosely based on MacDonald’s 1985 novel Fletch Won. Hot Tub Time Machine director Steve Pink also took a stab at a script though that went nowhere as well.
Hopefully, Mandel will have better luck with getting Fletch back on to the big screen than Smith, Lawrence and Pink did. The book series has a wealth of great material and while the Chevy Chase films were fun, they were a little sillier than even the light-hearted tone of the novels, though the first film was incredibly faithful to the story of the first novel. If this new attempt follows the books, it shouldn’t have too much of a problem in being a good film. Hopefully, that is the track that Warners is looking to follow.
Via Hollywood Reporter.