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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

All-female Lord of the Flies film remake arouses online ire

Warner Bros to remake William Golding's novel with all-female cast

Lord of the Flies by William Golding is set to be turned into a movie with an all-female cast. Courtesy Faber and Faber
Lord of the Flies by William Golding is set to be turned into a movie with an all-female cast. Courtesy Faber and Faber

Gender-swapped movie remakes seem to be decidedly on-trend in Hollywood at the moment.

It all started with Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters remake last year, recasting Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon as the titular spook hunters. The fact that movie flopped, both critically and commercially, doesn’t seem to have put anyone off.

Next year we can look forward to an all-female remake of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 11 with an all-star cast including Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway and Rihanna replacing George Clooney, Brad Pitt et al, from Hunger Games director Gary Ross.

Lionsgate and XX director St Vincent (real name Annie Clark), meanwhile, this month announced an upcoming version of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, with the narcissistic Dorian re-imagined as a woman.

Even Mermaid’s aren’t immune, with Channing Tatum set to step into Daryl Hannah’s, er, tail, for a remake of Disney’s 1984 aquatic romcom Splash.

One gender bending film in particular, however, has aroused the wrath of the internet this week. Warner Bros yesterday announced plans for an all-female remake of William Golding’s classic novel Lord of the Flies, previously brought to screens in its original male form by Peter Brook in a 1963 classic, and later by Harry Hook in a less classic 1990 version.

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Read more:

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If you attended your English classes at school, you’re probably aware of the source material — it’s been a staple of the school curriculum for decades.

A group of young boys are stranded on a desert island following a plane crash and, despite their initial attempts to construct some kind of civilised democracy, rapidly deteriorate into feral savagery.

The criticism was quick, and brutal, perhaps understandably so. The book, as any high school student can confirm, is fundamentally a study of the dangers of testosterone-fuelled masculinity, and as one commentator on Twitter noted:

Author Roxane Gray agreed, tweeting:

The situation probably isn’t helped by the fact the film will be written and directed by not one, but two men, Scott McGehee and David Siegel who previously brought is 2008’s Uncertainty and 2012’s What Maisie Knew.

McGehee seemed convinced of the validity of his plan when he told Deadline the pair would be “taking the opportunity to tell it in a way it hasn’t been told before, with girls rather than boys … 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 internet was not convinced. Book Riot contributor Aisling Twomey perhaps put the prevailing opinion most succinctly when she tweeted: