The classic William Golding novel Lord of the Flies, which has been adapted twice for the big screen, will be adapted yet again, only this time, with a huge twist. Warner Bros. has finalized a deal with filmmakers Scott McGehee and David Siegel (What Maisie Knew) to write and direct a new version of Lord of the Files, which will have an all-female cast. The filmmakers will reportedly be incredibly faithful to the original novel, while, at the same time, gender-swapping all of the character.
Deadline reports that it took some time to get the film rights intact, since the whole situation is rather complicated. The original novel, which was published in 1954, was adapted into the 1963 film Lord of the Files, which starred James Aubrey, Tom Chapin and Hugh Edwards, and was directed by Peter Brook. Then in 1990, Castle Rock released a new adaptation from director Harry Hook, which starred Balthazar Getty and James Badge Dale, in his feature film debut. Since Warner Bros. bought Castle Rock in the 1990s, they already had some of the rights, but the rest had to be worked out with the author's estate, but now the deal is finalized and the filmmakers are said to start writing immediately. Here's what David Siegel had to say in a statement about the project.
"We want to do a very faithful but contemporized adaptation of the book, but our idea was to do it with all girls rather than boys. It is a timeless story that is especially relevant today, with the interpersonal conflicts and bullying, and the idea of children forming a society and replicating the behavior they saw in grownups before they were marooned."
The original novel is set in the midst of a nuclear war, and during an aerial evacuation, a plane crashes onto a desert island. The only survivors are a group of young boys, who create their own new society without any adults, as they slowly begin to descend into madness. The novel was not originally a success after its initial publication, selling just 3,000 novels in the U.S. before going out of print in 1955, but it eventually became a best-seller. The mountain in the original novel, Castle Rock, both inspired the fictional Maine town in several Stephen King novels, and the name of the very production company formed by Rob Reiner that distributed the 1990 adaptation. Here's what Scott McGehee had to say about this classic story.
"(The story) 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."
Scott McGehee and David Siegel made their feature film debut in 1993 with Suture, which starred Dennis Haysbert and Sab Shimono, but it was their 2001 thriller The Deep End, with a breakout performance from Tilda Swinton, that truly put them on the map. They both went on to direct Bee Season in 2005, starring Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche, followed by 2008's Uncertainty, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lily Collins, and their latest directorial effort, 2012's What Maisie Knew, starring Julianne Moore and Steve Cogan. All of their films have had substantial roles for young actors, which will certainly be the case here. Hopefully we'll learn more about this new version of Lord of the Flies very soon.