Warner Bros have pre-emptively picked up the movie rights to Gregory McDonald‘s 11-book Fletch mystery novel series. Chevy Chase originally played Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher in Michael Ritchie’s 1985 film Fletch, and the 1989 sequel Fletch Lives. Heatvision is reporting that no writer or director has been attached but the studio is “aiming for a reimagining, not a remake, and hope to make an smart action comedy that plays out on a bigger canvas than the previous movies.” Hollywood has been trying to bring Fletch back to the big screen for the last decade.
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If the ’80s gave a sniffling speech at the Decade Achievement Awards, Harold Faltermeyer and his scores would be thanked somewhere after Shigeru Miyamoto and Super Mario Bros. and Magic Johnson’s Lakers. A classically trained German composer with an affinity for rock and disco, Faltermeyer got his start in Hollywood assisting mustachioed electro-don Georgio Moroder on soundtracks for Oliver Stone’s provocative Midnight Express and Adrian Lyne’s jail-bait fave Foxes. With the release of Beverly Hills Cop in 1984, everyone acknowledges how Faltermeyer’s theme song, “Axel F,” hopped into bed with America’s zeitgeist like few songs before or since. The track’s equation of urgent nightlife synths plus cool-black-dude drum effects, then buffered to an upbeat Cali finish, not only paralleled the confident, crowd-pleaser m.o. of sure-shot producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, it embodied and celebrated it.
Soon following “Axel F,” Faltermeyer crafted incredibly memorable and fun themes/scores for Fletch and Top Gun, rising to the occasion by sonically matching the unmatched charisma of Chevy Chase and Tom Cruise on screen in the mid ’80s. Reflecting on the three themes today, not to mention his work on actioners The Running Man and Tango & Cash, it’s difficult to express how Faltermeyer shaped the way audiences then and now remember the ’80s as a time of just-plain-exciting innocence and excess, a time when the buddy-cop formula and toothy superstar grins felt fresh. It’s this feeling and nostalgia Kevin Smith is paying pop-homage to with Cop Out, another bid for a mainstream hit from the ’90s slacker auteur starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. Smith personally requested Faltermeyer—who’s remained inactive on major soundtracks since the ’92 copper Kuffs—score the film with his signature sound. The catchy result is felt by several critics to be the best thing about the action-comedy. (Stream it here.)
In an interview with /Film, Faltermeyer talked about his creative process and about “crazy shit” including the late Don Simpson’s finesse with a Ferrari.
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Gregory Mcdonald died on Sunday at age 71 in Pulaski, Tennessee. Mcdonald is best known as the best-selling author of the Fletch book series, which was later adapted into a feature film series starring Chevy Chase. Mcdonald’s Running Scared and The Brave were also adapted for the big screen. Mcdonald had 26 published books and won the Edgar Allen Poe Award twice. Before writing the Fletch novels, Mcdonald was a journalist for the Boston Globe. He is survived by his wife, Cherlye, and five children.
Mcdonald ‘s most recent brush with Hollywood involved the development of a Fletch prequel called Fletch Won. Kevin Smith was originally attached to write and direct but left when studio heads weren’t confident in Jason Lee for the lead role. Scrubs writer/director Bill Lawrence came on board with Zach Braff attached to star. Both Braff and Lawrence left the project in 2007, replaced with Accepted director Steve Pink. No word on the current state of the project.