Plans for all-female Lord Of The Flies film slammed

Lord Of The Flies, based on the 1954 book by William Golding, is adapted for the stage by Samantha Scott-Blackhall, who localises it by imagining the characters as Singaporean.
Lord Of The Flies, based on the 1954 book by William Golding, is adapted for the stage by Samantha Scott-Blackhall, who localises it by imagining the characters as Singaporean.PHOTO: WALLACE WOON/SIGHT LINES PRODUCTIONS

NEW YORK • A planned all-female film adaptation of Lord Of The Flies, the classic novel that examined the inherent evil of humanity through boys on an island without adult supervision, was slammed on Thursday. The news of the proposed remake, which Hollywood trade publication Deadline reported on Wednesday, became a top trending story on Twitter.

But scepticism was inflamed by a fairly common Hollywood story: The movie about girls will be written and directed by two men, Scott McGehee and David Siegel.

The pair have reportedly made a deal with Warner Bros to create the film. Siegel told Deadline they intended to do “a very faithful but contemporised adaptation”. Using girls “might help people see the story anew”, McGehee said.

He added: “It breaks away from some of the conventions, the ways we think of boys and aggression. People still talk about the movie and the book from the standpoint of pure storytelling. It is a great adventure story, real entertainment, but it has a lot of meaning embedded in it as well.”

Theirs would be at least the third adaptation of Lord Of The Flies, after those in 1963 and 2000.

The story has for decades been seen as a cautionary look at how people can treat one another poorly. But is it about mankind or about men? Flipping the gender dynamics would lead to an entirely different story, several people argued on Twitter.

Author and feminist Roxane Gay said “the plot of that book wouldn’t happen with all women”. She added on Twitter: “If you want to tell a story about toxic femininity, fine, do that. But using Lord Of The Flies as the container is lazy and stupid.”

The author of the book, William Golding, who died in 1993, said he was often asked why he wrote about boys instead of girls. He said it was partly because he grew up as one, but that gender was also crucial to the larger point of the novel.

“If you land with a group of little boys, they are more like scaled down society than a group of little girls would be,” he said.

“Don’t ask me why, and this is a terrible thing to say, because I’m going to be chased from hell to breakfast by all the women who talk about equality. This has nothing to do with equality at all. I mean, I think women are foolish to pretend they’re equal to men – they’re far superior and always have been.

“But one thing you cannot do with them is take a bunch of them and boil them down, so to speak, into a set of little girls who would then become a kind of image of civilisation, of society.”

NYTIMES, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2017, with the headline 'Plans for all-female Lord Of The Flies film slammed'. Print Edition | Subscribe