By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 2, 2011 at 2:09AM
Once upon a time, there was a man called Chevy Chase. From his first appearance on the early days of "Saturday Night Live," it was clear that he was very, very funny. He swiftly became one of the biggest comedy stars of the '80s, starring in hits like "Caddyshack," "National Lampoon's Vacation" and "¡Three Amigos!". It also became clear that Chase was kind of a dick, and the work dried up in the '90s. Now, with Chase mounting a storming comeback as part of the ensemble of the best sitcom on TV, "Community," it seems as good a time as any to resurrect the character perhaps most associated with the actor, Gregory McDonald's investigative reporter "Fletch."
Heat Vision report that Warner Bros. has acquired the film rights to the 11 novels that feature the character from the estate of McDonald, who passed away in 2008. Anonymous Content's Steve Golin ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") and Michael Sugar ("Rendition") are producing for the studio, and while no director or writer are currently attached, the studio are said to be aiming for an action-comedy on a greater scale than the Chase vehicle and its less notable sequel, 1989's "Fletch Lives."
Of course, this isn't the first time that a resurrection for the character has been attempted. Harvey Weinstein held the rights for over a decade, with Kevin Smith long being attached to a project called "Fletch Won," with favorites like Ben Affleck and Jason Lee rumored to play the reporter, while the "Scrubs" pairing of Bill Lawrence and Zach Braff also came close to making a version a few years back. That's two bullets dodged so far: hopefully Warners will attach some more promising names for the new version, described as a "reimagining."
Our suggestion: Shane Black. Tell us you wouldn't pay to see that. There's no time frame on the project as yet, or word of Chase's involvement, but we imagine a cameo might well be in the making, or possibly something more significant: the last two books in McDonald's series focus on Jack, Fletch's illegitimate son, which might well be a hint at the direction the new would-be franchise could go down.