Anyone who ever had to read William Golding’s 1954 Lord of the Flies in high school knows how the story goes (or at least spent a lot of time looking up each chapter on SparkNotes before their final English exam.) The Conch, the Beast, the hyper-masculinity! Oh my!
The book was made into a film nine years later, and again in 1990. Now filmmakers Scott McGehee and David Siegel are seizing the opportunity to make bank with a pretty weak attempt at inclusivity: they’re remaking the book into yet another flick with Warner Bros., only this time they’re using an all-female cast. Yeah, let that sink in. *Crickets*
In you need a refresher: Golding’s story centres on a group of boys who are stranded on an island after their boat capsizes while fleeing war in Britain. In an attempt to govern themselves, they turn on each other, and mayhem ensues. Two opposing groups of boys—the “good” led by democratic Ralph, and the “bad” led by choir boy rebel Jack—end up at war with each other, with Ralph trying to maintain order and Jack trying to dismantle it all because he can.
But an entirely female cast remake of Lord of the Flies has left us with one question: have these two filmmakers even read the book?
Put simply, the novel portrays how even the most civilized of human beings can turn evil. But more than that, it exemplifies the dangers of toxic masculinity. In other words: There is a reason why Golding chose a group of boys to get stranded and attack each other—not girls.
I mean, the late author did reportedly say, “I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been.” So, there’s that.
McGehee told Deadline that they decided to incorporate an all-female cast to “break away from some of the conventions, the ways we think of boys and aggression.” Sure, okay. But the entire point of the book is to show the ways male aggression looms over society, and—probably to Golding’s dismay—still does. The filmmakers went on to express their love for the original story, and their desire to make this “timely” adaptation.
Timely for whom? Your audience or your bank account? We’re not sure what’s worse: an all-female cast to portray a story that calls out hyper-masculinity, or the fact that it’s being written by TWO DUDES. We can’t wait to see how two grown men write about a group of young girls fighting.
The people of Twitter have spoken, guys, and they think you’ve missed the point entirely.
We’re literally living an all-male “Lord of the Flies” right now, but sure, let’s see two male writers describe how women would be worse.
— Charles Clymer (@cmclymer) August 31, 2017
“all-female Lord of the Flies remake” SOUNDS LIKE SOMEONE MISSED THE FUUUUUCKIN POINT OF LORD OF THE FLIES
— Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor) August 30, 2017
uhm lord of the flies is about the replication of systemic masculine toxicity
every 9th grader knows this
u can read about it on sparknotes https://t.co/EQFyuSA3MV
— froy (@froynextdoor) August 31, 2017
An all women remake of Lord of the Flies makes no sense because… the plot of that book wouldn’t happen with all women.
— roxane gay (@rgay) August 31, 2017
Dudes writing a female version of LORD OF THE FLIES is like a gift to the problematic think piece gods…
— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) August 30, 2017
Ann Motherfucking M. Martin ALREADY DID Lord of the Flies with girls
it was SUPER SPECIAL #4 YOU FUCKING DING-DONGS pic.twitter.com/u0xoRNwx3k
— andrea grimes (@andreagrimes) August 30, 2017
We get it. It’s great to remake films with all female casts (we loved the Ghostbusters revamp for that very reason) when it’s meant to empower and dismantle stereotypes. But this is not to say EVERY. DANG. FILM. deserves or warrants an all-female remake. Especially not when the premise of the story itself is one that is still very alive and real today. *Screams into the abyss*
Why don’t we remake the original with female directors? Now that’s a movie we’d watch.
Anne T. Donahue: Why Can’t Wonder Woman Be a Movie, Not a Movement?
Andi Zeisler and the Case Against Feel-Good Feminism
Jessica Chastain on the “Disturbing” Portrayal of Women in Film
A Director’s Take on Why We Need More Women Behind the Camera