September 11, 2017 – In ‘Lord of the Flies’ Remake, Girls Survive Instead
A planned film adaptation of “Lord of the Flies,” the 1954 novel that examined the inherent evil of humanity through an island of boys without adult supervision, will have a provocative twist: This time, the island will be full of girls.
The concept alone invited immediate scrutiny on social media. But skepticism was inflamed by a fairly common Hollywood story: The film about girls will be written and directed by two men, Scott McGehee and David Siegel.
The two men have reportedly made a deal with Warner Bros. to create the movie. Mr. Siegel told Deadline, which reported the news, that they intended to do “a very faithful but contemporized adaptation of the book.”
Using girls “might help people see the story anew,” Mr. McGehee said.
“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.”
What remains to be seen is whether the new “Lord of the Flies” will offer largely a mirror image of the novel, subbing in girls without changing the central plot points and behavior of the characters, or if it will wrestle with how girls would approach their fate differently.
“It could be problematic if all they’re doing is switching out girls for boys and saying, ‘Well, girls would do this too,’” said Pamela Davis-Kean, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan who studies children and families.
Though many differences between boys and girls tend to be overstated, boys do tend to be more physically aggressive, she said. Some of the novel’s scenes of physical violence probably wouldn’t align with how girls would settle their issues, especially in the era of the book, she said.
The depth of collaboration could be another departure, she said. While the boys in the book did try to set up effective communication methods, like only speaking when holding a conch shell, they largely ended up deferring to leaders. Girls would be more likely to hear more ideas and deliberate, Ms. Davis-Kean said.