The part Fletch, originating in a 1974 novel by Gregory Mcdonald, but the character really took off with a 1985 comedy of the same name, Fletch Lives, where Hollywood still desired more of this character, even if the follow-up had not been successful. This desire initiated a long and winding path for a Fletch remake, which would last decades and different periods in American comedy history.
In a great breakdown of the remakes struggles to exist in Entertainment Weekly from 2010, the saga began back in 1997, when Universal, which produced the original Fletch films, heard a proposal from Kevin Smith for a dream sequel. Smith initially pursued that idea for many years, leaving the Fletch sequel in jeopardy. A few years later, Universal's grasp on the film rights to Fletch lapsed.
After Smith's first-to-home studio at the time, Miramax took a hold of the rights. However, the Fletch Won remake came to an end due to disagreements over who would play Fletch. There were moments when Smith promised to continue the project until Affleck left the project. Fletch Won began to morph into a slugfest with Miramax's big-name actors.
The idea of stepping into a major role, one that would forever be compared to Chevy Chase's legendary performance, remained unresolved once Miramax's top brass left the company and snagged the Fletch film rights for this burgeoning new outfit.
When The Weinstein Company's grip on the Fletch film rights threatened to sag, accepted director Steve Pink was hired. Jackson was not immediately familiar with comedy, but he was hired to emphasize that this film was focused on a young, unexperienced version of Fletch.
The Weinstein Company purchased the film rights to bring Fletch to the big screen in August 2009, ending roughly a decade of Harvey Weinstein's management of the film. In early 2011, another company purchased the film rights to the Fletch character. Both companies were not snagged by a small long-forgotten independent studio.
The Warner Bros. take on Fletch, which was known as Fletch Won, took three years to develop, while in 2014, Jason Sudeikis was chosen to direct the hit Warner Bros./New Line Cinema comedy We're the Millers.
Fletch Won was dropped by Warner Bros. and picked up by Relativity Media, a studio that was developing the comedy Masterminds, which featured Sudeikis in a significant supporting role. A few months later, Relativity Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At this point, the project looked like a disaster. Sudeikis moved on to other roles.
The Weinstein Company and Relativity Media both liked the idea of putting a big brand name like Fletch on their slates, but they never had the funding or long-term stability to get it off the ground.
Thanks to one of the original parties in this mess, a new 21st-century Fletch film was finally funded in July 2020. This would be a complete reboot of the Fletch franchise headed by Superbad director Greg Mottola. This project would see the completion of principal photography in 2021, indicating that the wait for a new film was over.
Confess, Fletch is set to be released on September 16, and includes Marcia Gay Harden, Kyle MacLachlan, and John Slattery. Fletch will be tasked with proving his innocence once he's the prime suspect in several killings, while also looking for his fiancee's stolen art collection. There will be a lot of funny surprises along the way.