Filmmakers Scott McGehee and David Spiegel are teaming with Warner Bros. to write and direct a new adaptation of the classic American children’s novel Lord of the Flies. Two movies have been made based on the book one in 1963 and the other in 1990, but McGehee and Spiegel are looking to put a contemporary twist on the film and change their protagonists to all girls.
This is quite a bold move, seeing as how both filmmakers are men. Social media blew up after the news broke with a mixed bag of reactions, and the inevitable worry that two men will simply write women into male roles, missing the mark on a truly female experience. For now, though, all we can do is give these creatives the benefit of the doubt and see what they can do with the material.
Lord of the Flies follows a group of British boys stranded on a deserted island as they disastrously try to govern themselves. According to McGehee, 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.” It sounds as though McGehee and Spiegel are aware of the challenge ahead of them in making something truly innovative, and only time will tell how this plays out for them.
This project has been brewing for some time, as Warner Bros. had to wait before they could obtain the book rights from the William Golding Estate. Spiegel and McGehee have therefore had quite a while to get their creative juices flowing.