A female-led reboot of Lord of the Flies is in development. It's not the first time the classic novel has been translated to screen, but it is an interesting spin. The original characters in William Golding's book were all young boys, but this time around, they'll be girls. The book, published in 1954, has become a cornerstone of high school lit classes. It's set in the midst of a wartime evacuation, and follows a group of young, elementary-aged students stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash. They establish a mini democracy and attempt to live off of the land, but as their time there continues on, they eventually revert to their most feral tendencies.
The story has been adapted several times in the intervening decades, most famously with Peter Brook's 1963 film, which is considered more faithful than Harry Hook's 1990 feature. It has also been produced for stage.
The new take, reported by Deadline, is being housed at Warner Bros. and written and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel. The two have a longstanding professional partnership, having worked on movies like neo noir flick Suture (1993), Tilda Swinton-led mystery The Deep End (2001), and 2008 indie thriller Uncertainty, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins. They last helmed 2012 drama What Maisie Knew, and are next slated to produce upcoming comedy Life of the Party, from Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy.
McGehee and Siegel told Deadline that they're fans of Brook's original film, but thought a new, contemporary version felt timely. McGehee said:
"[The subject matter] 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. It breaks away from some of the conventions, the ways we think of boys and aggression. People still talk about the movie and the book from the standpoint of pure storytelling. It is a great adventure story, real entertainment, but it has a lot of meaning embedded in it as well. We’ve gotten to think about this awhile as the rights were worked out, and we’re super eager to put pen to paper."
The concept is intriguing, and it's certainly on-trend. It joins recent gender-swapped remakes like Paul Feig's Ghostbusters, upcoming Ocean's Eight, and the recently announced Picture of Dorian Gray. But so early on, it's hard to judge what the finished product could look like. What Maisie Knew was generally well received, but McGehee and Siegel have a mixed track record, and Lord of the Flies is an iconic story. It could be a hit or it could be a flop, but either way, it's worth keeping an eye on.
A release date for Lord of the Flies has not yet been announced.