"We’re going to do a real character with no disguises and shit like that. Yeah. It will be close to (the book). I loved that book. I don’t even think we’re going to do a pass on the script. I’m just going to hand everyone the book and highlight the dialogue because it works perfectly."

-Kevin Smith



"We were gonna do a version of Fletch, at Universal many years ago called 'Son of Fletch' through 'Imagine Entertainment' and I just wound up working on Dogma, so it kinda fell apart."
-Kevin Smith



The Begining of Fletch Won
by Kevin Smith (June 29, 2000)
from ViewAskew.com

"A couple of weeks back, David List - the lit agent for 'Fletch' author Gregory McDonald - left a message at the office answering service that the rights which had belonged to Universal had gotten free. Since my desk is a pig-sty, this message got lost under a pile of crap, until Tuesday, when I was cleaning house. I found the message, gave David a call, and he reiterated that the option on 'Fletch' was now up for grabs again. I talked about how I'd wanted to do a screen version of the books that was very true to the source material (the '85 flick which starred, as we're all aware, Chevy Chase was funny, but not nearly as funny as the book on which it was based). I'd always felt that the idea would be to start with 'Fletch Won', a book that came late in the 'Fletch' series, but actually told the story of how Fletch became... well, Fletch. It's 'Year One' adventure of a younger Irwin that would allow you to cast anyone, and not be tied solely to Chevy Chase. As a nod to the previous movies however, one COULD use Chase in wraparounds or bookend sequences, I said - as if an older Fletch was telling the story of his first big story - which would be useful in maintaining the narrative flow of Chevy's voiceover from 'Fletch' and 'Fletch Lives' (a device that I thought was well-used).

After that, I said I'd call Miramax and see if they'd be interested in picking up the rights (which were also being pursued by a number of other interested studios and producers, apparently). I called Harvey and told him about the situation, and he immediately said yes. Jon Gordon (our Miramax bitch) got on the horn with the Miramax legal eagles and David, and within three or four hours, it was done. I was watching a test screening of Ben's new movie 'Bounce', and about twenty minutes in, someone came into the theater and whispered to Harvey, who then leaned forward and informed me "We got 'Fletch'."

ANSWER: Yes, there were once plans to make a Fletch 3 back in 1998. The studio,Universal, asked Kevin what he wanted to do next. He said He'd like to do Fletch 3. They asked him who he wanted to play Fletch? He was shocked that they'd even ask and he said "You can't do a Fletch without Chevy Chase." They said "Well, we're not in the Chevy Chase business anymore." Kevin kept fighting and eventually got them to ok Chevy. Kevin then had lunch with Chevy. He was a HUGE fan of his up to this point. At the lunch, they had a talk about the movie and they came up with a few ideas including one that would bring Fletch to NY. But Chevy still wanted to keep Fletch in LA. Kevin then began work on Dogma. With all the controversy it caused, Kevin got tied up and the Fletch 3 movie got shelved. Kevin never called Chevy to tell him it was dead and Chevy got pissed off that he could have been writing a Fletch script with someone else. He called Kevin a typical Hollywood director (which couldn't be farther from the truth) and there has been bad blood ever since.

Throughout all of the in the media digs Chevy gave him, Kev's still considering putting him in the movie as an older Fletch telling a story of his first big case and as a narrative voiceover between scenes.

Jason Lee will play a young Fletch in the movie "Fletch Won." Kevin Smith has said if Lee isn't Fletch, then he's not doing it. Jason is a very talented actor and a great choice to play a young Fletch. Check out the JASON LEE SECTION to see some fun similarities.



All in all, a surprising and whirlwind turn of events that came to pass in far less than a business day. So to answer some questions...

1) No, I didn't know about any of this 'Fletch' business until Tuesday, as it all happened then.
2) No, it's not going to be Chevy (unless we use the framing device mentioned above, and he opts to be involved).
3) I bear no grudge against Chevy Chase which would translate into the reason we're not using him in the lead role. We're just adapting 'Fletch Won', which, as mentioned above, tells the story of a young, cub reporter Fletch.
For those of you who refer to this as 'Fletch 3' and think this is a crap idea because you hate the 'Fletch' movies: you're a little misinformed. We're not planning a sequel to the 'Fletch' movies. This is an adaptation of Gregory McDonald's wonderful series of books, that could very well turn into a franchise, if we handle the first one well. Calling it 'Fletch 3' is like calling 'The Talented Mister Ripley' 'Purple Noon 2', just because both were based on Patricia Highsmith's series of books.
This will be the first non-Askewniverse film from View Askew (ie - no Jay and Silent Bob).
We're not starting until we're done with View Askew 5 (which we're looking at starting in Sept/Oct and releasing in May 2001). That means the earliest you'd see 'Fletch Won' would be late 2001.
No one's been attached as Fletch, though you can probably guess there are a couple guys in the running (at least in my mind).
8) The 'Fletch' library is currently out of print, so don't go looking for them in stores (you can find most of the titles on E-bay, however).
We're going to stay very true to the book, as it has all the makings of a terrific story, and needs very little input from me.
I actually learned to write dialogue by reading McDonald's 'Fletch' books. If you read his stuff, it reads like one of my screenplays. They're very dense with dialogue, and spartan in descriptive passages (just the way I like 'em).

So that's all there is to possibly know at this point. We're all pretty pleased about this very recent yet somehow familiar turn of events. Hopefully, when the flick's done, you'll dig it as much as you've dug the other flicks we've made. There's a certain personal, kharmic symmetry for me in making this flick, as the book is one of my all-time favorite things ever written, and there's a debt I feel I owe Mister McDonald as far as my own writing goes.

The whole damn affair couldn't be more perfect, to be honest. "

-Kevin Smith

Fletch Won Synopsis (of the Book)
by Mike (
Fonzie@aol.com )

Forget about the Henry Himler, Mr. Poon, G Gordon Liddy, and Baba au Rum disguises and settle in for the plain ol' I.M. Fletcher. Set back in the early years and on his first 'real' case besides vowes or honories for people, Frank gives Fletch an assignment to interview a criminal investigation lawyer named Donald Habeck. The catch? Habeck is found shot that very moment in the parket lot of the News-Tribune, Fletch's work place. As Fletch is re-directed to a story based on the Ben Franklyn Friend Service, a service where upon women work out with you and give you 'sexual' favors. Although Fletch has some information of the service from running behind a few of the girls at a marathon, he still decides he would rather find out why Habeck was murdered. To top the sundae with the cherry, Fletch is getting married the following weekend to his fiancee, Barbara. For the first case, Fletch has more on his hands than a soldier at war...

Fletch Won Review
by Travers Naran

I just finished reading "Fletch Won" by Gregory McDonald. I have read the original "Fletch" novel, and while very good, the movie does add an energy to the lines that is hard to get from the book. Just some background so you can calibrate your tastes to mine. :-)

"Fletch Won" is a damned fine mystery novel. As I'm sure you've read by now, it follows a recently hired I. M. Fletcher ("Why did we hire you again?" is a question often asked of him) at the News-Tribune. For the three months he worked there, he was bounced around various assignments including writing headlines for articles. Well, his stint in Obituaries lands him in hot water with his boss, Franke Jaffe (Editor of the News-Tribune). As a final chance to redeem himself, he is assigned to the Society pages. His first assignment is to cover the donation of $5 million from a prominent attourney, Habeck, to the local Art Museum. A boring assignment quickly gets interesting for Fletch when a few minutes later, they find Habeck shot in his car down in the newspaper's parking lot.

This is the springboard for the entire novel. Being Society, he's bullied off the story by Biff Wilson, the News-Tribune's hot-shot crime reporter. Knowing Fletch, that doesn't stop him from investigating it while also covering his new assignment: penetrating Ben Franklin's Friend Service, a cover operation for an escort agency.

This story just takes off with one thing leading to another. If you've never read a Fletch novel, the first thing you would notice is the dialog: Fletch novels are 90% dialog. That's mighty unusual for any book, but it is all part of Fletch's character. He plays people and finds ways of getting information from people who would otherwise not talk. He's a talker. As he says in "Fletch", when asked why he plays these games with people, he replies: "I don't play tennis". It's all fun for him.

What's also great about this book is the way McDonald juggles various plotlines: the murder, the Biff Wilson angle, the escort agency and to top that trying to dance around his increasingly irritated fiancee as she tries to plan their wedding for the coming Saturday. All these plot threads bounce off each other in surprising and interesting ways. Without giving too much away, everything comes together right at the end with a delicious twist (as mentioned elsewhere).

This novel has a lot of raw material for a movie. With some enhancing of the humor for the audience (there's not a lot of guffaws in a Fletch novel), this could be a really good movie. Kevin Smith has the right attitude and talkitiveness for Fletch (not surprising considering he's often cited Gregory McDonald as an inspiration).

It's a good book. Well worth seeking out and reading. I found a hard-cover edition at my local library, so it shouldn't be too hard to find.