William Golding’s classic novel Lord Of The Flies is about to get another adaptation that’s sure to frustrate English teachers everywhere, but it’s also coming with quite the twist. Scott McGehee and David Siegel will write and direct the project for Warner Bros., but they’ll also be changing the characters that inhabit the story. Instead of a group of British schoolboys — military school cadets in the 1990 movie — stranded on an island after a plane crash, the new film will flip the gender and make the children all girls.
While the book has had its share of adaptations over the years, this one would be the greatest departure from the source material in terms of who populates the story and what drives them. For Siegel and McGehee, the change might seem jarring but they also seem determined to make it a faithful adaptation according to Deadline:
“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,” Siegel told Deadline. “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.”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.
The original novel has long been a staple in grade school classrooms and with themes that have been analyzed thousands of times over at this point. While most will quickly look at it as an anti-war story, a view on society’s need for order versus an individual’s thirst for power, and as a simple take on innocence lost. That doesn’t seem to be the case for the two filmmakers behind this adaptation:
People still talk about the movie and the book from the standpoint of pure storytelling,” he said. “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.”
While the book is heavy on allegory, the latest adaptation seems to be focused more on the kids being stranded on an island and making them female. It could very well be fine for a Hollywood film, but at the same time it is already garnering some mixed reviews from potential viewers. Some are upset that the film is being crafted by two men:
Others were focusing on how the idea of replacing the young boys with young girls misses the point of the original story entirely:
And plenty of others just took point to comment on involving girls at all, noting that plot likely wouldn’t transpire the same way if genders were reversed.
Some also brought it back to Taylor Swift’s new video since we live in an age where she rules everything, even when she’s killing the older versions of herself. In the end, complain is probably all folks can really do about such a project. While it is possible that negative reactions could change minds, the conch shell is in the hands of the studio executives who helped get the rights to the story and greenlit the project ahead of this announcement.
While another adaptation of Lord Of The Flies seems redundant, even one that drastically changes the story, perhaps critics and moviegoers can see the silver lining of a film announcement like this. It is a film that likely wouldn’t have happened ten years ago. Put Millie Bobby Brown and see what happens.