Jeff Goldblum Has Some Ideas For Making A Return To The World Of The Fly

George Langelaan's original 1957 short story "The Fly" is staged as a murder mystery with the title creature already dead at the beginning of the movie. The story's main character is a woman named Hélène who is arrested for the murder of her husband. Evidently, she crushed his head and arm in a hydraulic press, and will not reveal her motivation for doing so. It's only over the course of the story that readers learn her victim was a scientist working on a disintegrator-reintegrator machine, and that his machine had accidentally integrated him with a rogue housefly that flew into the teleportation pod. His head and arm were transposed with that of the fly's, turning him into a hideous fly man. 

The short story was pretty faithfully adapted to film in 1958 by director Kurt Neumann and screenwriter James Clavell. That film had two sequels, "Return of the Fly" in 1959, and "Curse of the Fly" in 1965. 

David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of "The Fly" is, however, mentioned in film conversations more often than any of its forebears. Cronenberg's film had a similar premise as the original short story — a scientist is accidentally integrated with a housefly in his experimental teleportation pod — but changed the details to be more disturbing and tragic. The scientist Seth Brundle, played by Jeff Goldblum, doesn't immediately swap extremities with a fly, but has his DNA altered by it. Very slowly over the course of weeks, his body begins slowly taking on fly-like attributes. His skin scabs over and his teeth fall out. He vomits acid on his food the way a fly does. For a long time, he thinks he's merely sick. 

Return of the Fly

Eventually, Brundle also begins losing his mind. In a final desperate act, he attempts to yank his girlfriend into a pod with him, hoping to integrate the two of them. During the film's climax, Brundle transforms into something that is revolting, horrifying, and certainly no longer human. The pod scheme doesn't work out the way he plans, however, and the monstrous Brundlefly meets a pretty grisly, teleporter-based fate. 

Cronenberg has gone on record saying that his version of "Thy Fly" was inspired by the bodily degradation one encounters at the result of aging or suffering from cancer. Some critics felt that the film, released during the height of the AIDS crisis, was a metaphor for the disease. Cronenberg has said that wasn't his intent, but it is a legitimate interpretation. 

There was at least one sequel to Cronenberg's "The Fly," called fittingly "The Fly II," directed by Chris Walas, the special effects coordinator on the original. "The Fly II" was about Seth Brundle's half-fly son who grows from infancy to adulthood in only two years. Now looking 25 and played by Eric Stoltz, he also begins tinkering with a teleportation pod. "The Fly II" is not nearly as good as Cronenberg's original, but it does have some of the slimiest, most disgusting special effects of any movie. This is not a criticism. This is a profound strength. It seemed that the book was shut on the "The Fly" and no further sequels would be made.

Goldblum, however, had a few idle ideas as to how the series — the one where his character dies a gruesome, on-screen death — could continue. In a 2018 interview with Bloody Disgusting, Goldblum shared his thoughts. In brief, what if Seth Brundle had a twin brother?

Seth's twin brother

Goldblum, in his inimitable halting fashion, described a scenario where he would get to work with Cronenberg again. Since Brundle's son does indeed survive the ordeal at the end of "The Fly II," there's no reason why Goldblum couldn't play that character's son. And, thanks to the accelerated aging of fly people, he could easily grow into the age of Goldblum today. Or, of course, a twin. Because sure! Goldblum said: 

"I don't think my character would be involved because of course I got tragically mutated with the fly and then the machine, oh boy. But maybe I show up as a grandchild of the original Seth Brundle, or Seth Brundle had a brother. Had a brother that emerges in some ways! Who knows, I don't know but David Cronenberg was a thrill to work with. Boy, if he was involved I'd like to work with him again, I'll tell you that."

Other follow-ups for "The Fly" have been planned over the years. Goldblum's co-star Geena Davis was set to return to the series sometime in the 1990s with her then-husband Renny Harlin directing. Another sequel was arranged in the early 2000s, intended to be made by director Todd Lincoln ("V/H/S Viral"), but that version fell through. Tantalizingly, in 2012, Cronenberg expressed interest in making a follow-up film in an interview with IndieWire. His sequel, he said, was a departure in a way no one could predict, claiming that it was about modern technology and would be "a meditation on flyness." He would elucidate no further. 

"The Fly" was last adapted into an opera in 2008, composed by Howard Shore, the composer on Cronenberg's movie, with a libretto by Henry David Hwang. It was not well-reviewed