Hollywood is planning an all-female remake of Lord of the Flies.
Yeah, that’ll work.
It might even be the greatest thing since Ghostbusters (the 2016 mega-hit which critics hailed as such a massive improvement on the original. No wait…).
William Golding’s 1954 classic is one of the greatest books ever written about toxic masculinity. Indeed, the author took pains to point out that his story – about a group of schoolboys on a desert island who slowly descend into savagery – just wouldn’t make sense if girls were involved.
“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 civilisation, or society. That’s another reason why they aren’t little girls.”
No, indeed. And if the two (male) scriptwriters approach their material with any psychological acuity, then the outcome will be very different from the one in the book.
All-female Lord of the Flies:
"Eww! You kill the pig!
"No, you kill the pig!"
Then they all starve to death wearing AMAZING grass skirts pic.twitter.com/fEjNYIdxEq
— Martin Daubney (@MartinDaubney) August 31, 2017
Then, of course, there is the problematic character of Piggy. In Golding’s book he is hunted down and killed for the crime of being fat and wearing glasses – thus creating great pathos and generating appalled horror in the reader’s mind that such evil should lurk within a bunch of apparently sweet, innocent, civilised English schoolboys.
But in any female-friendly update this clearly wouldn’t work. If only the all-female adaptation had been made, say, 20 years ago, an easy solution would have presented itself: the female Piggy character would have been ostracized by her more attractive classmates (who would form groups based rigidly on looks, blondeness and acid-tongued bitchery) and eventually fat-shamed to death. But now, unfortunately, the rules have changed to the point where girls have been brainwashed into thinking that fatness is a desirable attribute, bespeaking emancipation and empowerment.
So likely what will happen in the new version – plot spoiler alert – is that the Piggy character will be venerated as a goddess. Construction parties will be established to collect wood sufficiently strong to hold her ample physique on her special throne; others will embark on a quest to find woad to provide the dye needed to color her hair the correct shade of gorgeous, liberated, woke blue; still others will scour the forests and shores for tasty titbits sufficient to maintain the Sow-Goddess’s mighty daily calorie intake.
Tragically, the effort involved will cause the entire colony to die of starvation.
The final scene will feature a typical Royal Navy officer – played either by Ellen De Generes or Oprah Winfrey (casting to be announced) – arriving just in time to catch the Sow-Goddess, still sitting on her throne, but now emaciated almost to the point of looking slim and attractive (oh the irony!), gasping her final breath…
Well that’s how I’d probably write it, anyway.
But going by what the writers have told Deadline, they’re taking an even more politically correct route.
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.
It breaks away from some of the conventions, the ways we think of boys and aggression.
In other words, ‘when you scratch the surface, boys are really no different from girls, actually’. And: ‘Violence and bullying and conflict are learned behavior, not innate.’ Both of which points are the exact opposite of the ones that Golding was making in his enduring masterpiece.
Nice work, Hollywood.