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All-female Lord of the Flies remake faces major backlash

Remakes, reboots, and sequels are often doomed to be crushed under the weight of heavy critical criticism, but in the case of the recently announced Lord of the Flies refresh, trouble has begun before production has even kicked off.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that filmmakers Scott McGehee and David Siegel would be writing and directing an all-female adaptation of the iconic William Golding novel Lord of the Flies. This means that the core narrative that, to some, focuses on toxic masculinity and the struggle between the human impulse towards savagery and the social rules that keep society from devolving to such a level will now be told from a female perspective.

Fans of Golding's novel took to Twitter to express their frustration over the project, stating that the intention of Lord of the Flies was to explore how machismo and competitive masculinity lead to the downfall of a group of young boys stranded on an island. According to these individuals, telling the exact same story will female survivors misses the original point and is, on the whole, implausible. 

Author Roxane Gay expressed her confusion: "An all-women remake of Lord of the Flies makes no sense because... the plot of that book wouldn't happen with all women." Teen Wolf actor Froy Gutierrez echoed this sentiment, tweeting, "Uhm, Lord of the Flies is about the replication of systemic masculine toxicity. Every ninth grader knows this. You can read about it on SparkNotes... Like, imagine missing the point of a classic book when you could've sought original stories about girlhood written by women." 

Jonathan L. Howard joked that the premise of a female-centric Lord of the Flies is essentially what's seen in Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman. "Hold on, hasn't there already been a recent film about what happens when a bunch of women end up marooned on an island?" he wrote on Twitter, attaching a photo of the superhero film's cast. 

One fan postulated that the remake would include deeper themes, lest it wind up being an offensive adaptation of the original film: "The female remake of Lord of the Flies will be darker with more psychological torture then, yes? Not just a sexist rehash of the original?" Another said that the entire idea of an all-girls Lord of the Files remake is ridiculous, writing on Twitter, "The Lord of the Flies movie feels like a studio had a big jar of 'Make with Chicks?' ideas and just picked the one that made the least sense."

Writer Rachel Leishman took a more comedic approach in her criticism: "The female-led Lord of the Flies wouldn't ever happen because women would just branch off into their own respective groups peacefully." Charles Clymer wasn't pleased to hear that two males, McGehee and Siegel, would be overseeing every aspect of the all-girls adaptation, as it could contribute to sexism in society: "We're literally living an all-male Lord of the Flies right now, but sure, let's see two male writers describe how women would be worse."

Regardless of criticisms on the upcoming adaptation, the author himself has previously explained that choosing to make his book all-male was because, in his opinion, a group of men can be boiled down to a mirocosm of society in a way that women simply cannot. Golding stated (via Telegraph), "I think women are foolish to pretend they're equal to men; they're far superior, and always have been. But one thing you can not do with them is take a bunch of them and boil them down into a set of little girls who would then become a kind of image of civilization, or society. That's another reason why [the characters] aren't little girls."

Still, Siegel stated at the time of the announcement that his and McGehee's intention for the project is to do a "very faithful but contemporized adaptation of the book." He added, "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 stated his hopes that the film break free from certain societal norms. "Taking the opportunity to tell it in a way it hasn't been told before, with girls rather than boys, is that it 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. People still talk about the movie and the book from the standpoint of pure storytelling," he explained. "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 awhile as the rights were worked out, and we're super eager to put pen to paper."

The writing and directing pair are reportedly getting started on the film as soon as possible, so it's only a matter of time before we see how things really turn out.

Until then, check out these remakes that are way different than the original.