David Mandel Writing New Fletch

Warners hires a scribe

Back in February, it was announced that Warners Bros. had picked up the rights to Gregory McDonald’s Fletch novels, aiming to get a new take on the character up on screen. Now the studio has a writer in place, hiring Seinfeld veteran (and one of the team behind Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator) David Mandel to start work on the script.

Winning out over several other higher-profile writing types to nab the assignment, Mandel’s job will be to craft a re-imagining of the first Fletch novel rather than a straight remake of the original 1985 Chevy Chase movie. There’s no word on what the plot might be just yet, or whether Mandel will use much of the book’s story beyond the concept, but Warners definitely wants something that plays out on a bigger canvas than either Fletch or the less successful 1989 follow-up, Fletch Lives.

If Mandel cracks it and Warners finds a big name to take on the quick-witted, disguise-happy investigative journalist, there’s potential for a new franchise, especially since McDonald wrote a dozen books. But the path to a fresh Fletch has not been an easy one, with various projects floundering at different studios through the years, including, most famously, Kevin Smith’s abortive attempts to get prequel tome Fletch Won in shape with Jason Lee in the lead.

Now we wait and see where it goes from here…