Soon to join the ranks of classic book film re-adaptations is Lord of the Flies, according to Deadline. Except this time around, the story will feature a cast of entirely young women. Because…well…it’s hard to say.
This adaptation comes by way of Scott McGehee & David Siegel, directors of What Maisie Knew, the Bee Season, and The Deep End.
All of these are dramatic stories, and their ability to tell a coherent story through the eyes of children isn’t in question. The choice for an all-women adaptation is.
Before the trolls of the internet cry in triumph at the prior line, no, I’m no advocating for women to never have parts written for men. 99% of the time, it does not matter that the part is led by a man. This, however, is the 1% where it does.
Lord of the Flies, for those who didn’t catch it in high school English class, is an iconic William Golding novel about a group of young white British school boys who crash land on an uninhabited island. Their supposed civilized nature descends into chaos as they try to survive.
The important part here: it’s a story about the toxicity inherent in masculinity, and the adult form of social order that the boys attempt to replicate.
Golding has commented before on his choice to include only boys, wanting to show what happens when boys try to replicate government. As in the government that, both then and now, is primarily made up of men.
There’s something to be said about telling a story of aggression and toxicity in a group of young girls stranded on an island.
That story, whatever it might be, is one best told and brought to life by a woman. And it shouldn’t be called Lord of the Flies.
So then why make it at all? From the directors’ own comments, it seems like a sincere – though inherently flawed – desire to look at gender conventions of aggression and tell an interesting story using a source material they both love.
From Warner Brothers? It sure looks like a cashing-in on what they perceive as a “trend” of women-centric films, a la Wonder Woman, Girls Trip, etc.
While they’re support, whether genuine or not, for women-plentiful films is a good thing, WB needs to think more critically about what projects they are adapting, and who they choose to do it.