Warner Bros has come under fire from all sides after announcing a remake of The Lord of the Flies – with an all-girl cast.
The Nobel-prize-winning 1956 novel by William Golding follows a group of young boys stranded alone on an island who form a vicious tribe in which the weak are preyed on and the strong rule.
Golding intended it as a criticism of modern society and once said that the book could never be replicated with an all girl cast – but apparently Hollywood didn’t get the memo.
Lord save us: The book Lord of the Flies – which has previously been adapted in 1990 (pictured) and 1963, will return with an all-girl cast. That notion has been roundly mocked online
Two tribes: The book, about young male castaways, was written as a critique of the viciousness of society, and its author said an all-girl group would not create such a dysfunctional culture. Writer-director team Scott McGehee and David Siegel (right) seemingly disagree
In the book, a group of pre-adolescent boys being evacuated from Britain by plane crash on a deserted island. All of the adults in the plane are killed, leaving them to fend for themselves.
They soon develop a terrifying tribal culture that preys on the weak and worships the strong and ruthless, to the horror of the protagonist, Ralph.
The climax of the book sees Piggy – his the chubby, bespectacled friend – being murdered by one of the most vicious boys, Roger, who then calls for the others to hunt and behead Ralph.
Ralph is saved when the British Nazy arrives and takes the boys off the island.
The book has been described as a critique of the toxicity of masculine culture, and Golding himself said that a group of girls would never be so barbarous because women ‘are far superior to men and always have been’.
So the announcement of the new movie by Deadline has been met with mockery and confusion online.
‘The Lord of the Flies movie feels like a studio had a big jar of “Make with Chicks?” ideas & just picked the one that made the least sense,’ wrote Twitter user Sam.
‘The female Lord of the Flies has inspired me to write The Handdudes Tale,’ opined TV personality Jeff Wild.
Mockery: Many on Twitter said that the film made no sense and questioned how such a strange concept came into being
Saying it like she means it: Author Jessica Valenti joked that instead of killing one another, young girls would just apologize endlessly instead
Dressing down: This user joked that the only thing that would drive women to murder on a desert island is a lack of practical clothing
Others tried to speculate how the story might work in its new form.
‘the all-girl remake of lord of the flies wont work bc realistically the girls would set aside their differences & work to get off the island,’ said Ellie.
Author Jessica Valenti joked: ‘The all-female Lord of the Flies will just be a group of young women apologizing to each other over and over till everyone is dead.’
‘The all-female Lord of the Flies is about a group of girls stranded on an island fighting over a single dress with pockets,’ suggested Nina Bargiel.
Female comedian Cameron Esposito had an another idea: ‘Female-centric Lord of the Flies, u say?? How about a female-centric federal govt okay I’ll take that.’
The backlash to the film comes a year after the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, as one user noted: ‘I can’t believe they’re doing an all-Ghostbusters version of Lord of the Flies.’
And Moth Dude asked the key question: ‘okay but when are we gonna get an all-fly Lord of the Flies?’
Back to reality: Female comedian Cameron Esposito is so confident about women being better at building society, she requested a female-focused government
Busted: This user joked about last year’s furor over the all-female remake of the 1980s fantasy comedy Ghostbusters
Pretty fly: This twitter user asked the really important question: ‘when are we gonna get an all-fly Lord of the Flies?’
The new adaptation also came under suspicion because it is being produced by two men – Scott McGehee and David Siegel.
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, said: ‘LORD OF THE FLIES: written by a man about masculinity. An all-female LORD OF THE FLIES, also written by men, seems just a little defensive.’
And rapper DVS tweeted: ‘NO I DONT THINK THIS ALL-WOMEN LORD OF THE FLIES “LACKS NUANCE” BECAUSE IT WAS WRITTEN BY MEN. I DONT EVEN SEE WHERE YOU’D GET THAT FROM.’
McGehee and Siegel previously directed custody drama What Maisie Knew, starring Julianne Moore, and Uncertainty, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
‘We want to do a very faithful but contemporized adaptation of the book, but our idea was to do it with all girls rather than boys,’ Siegel said.
Questionable motives: Chocolat author Joanne Harris suggested that writing a female version of The Lord of the Flies seemed ‘defensive’
A nuanced critique: This user joked that a man’s take on an all-female society would likely be very different to a woman’s version
‘It is a timeless story that is especially relevant today, with the interpersonal conflicts and bullying, and the idea of children forming a society and replicating the behavior they saw in grownups before they were marooned.’
McGehee said telling the film with girls ‘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,’ he said.
‘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.
‘We’ve gotten to think about this a while as the rights were worked out, and we’re super eager to put pen to paper.’
THE BOOK’S AUTHOR ON WHY THERE’S NO ‘LADY OF THE FLIES’
Author William Golding had the following to say about why The Lord of the Flies featured no female characters, much less an all-girl cast.
‘Girls say to me, very reasonably, “Why isn’t it a bunch of girls? Why did you write this about a bunch of boys?” Well, my reply is I was once a little boy – I have been a brother, a father, I am going to be a grandfather.
‘I have never been a sister, or a mother, or a grandmother. That’s one answer.
‘Another answer is of course to say that if you, as it were, scaled down human beings, scaled down society, if you land with a group of little boys, they are more like a scaled-down version of society than a group of little girls would be.
No girls allowed: Author William Golding said he didn’t think the story would work with an all-girl cast because women ‘are far superior and always have been’
‘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 is nothing to do with equality at all.
‘I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been.
‘But one thing you can’t 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 civilization, of society.
‘The other thing is – why aren’t they little boys AND little girls? Well, if they’d been little boys and little girls, we being who we are, sex would have raised its lovely head, and I didn’t want this to be about sex.
‘Sex is too trivial a thing to get in with a story like this, which was about the problem of evil and the problem of how people are to live together in a society, not just as lovers or man and wife.’
(Source: Golding’s introduction to Lord of the Flies, YouTube)