From somewhere in the late-’90s until about now, Chevy Chase had fallen off the map. There was a time when no comedy star was brighter than Chase, but his reputation for being difficult to work with and a string of bad pay-day movies found the comic icon struggling, until his new gig on “Community” revitalized his career. Seemingly back in the public consciousness, now would be a good time for Chase to become cooperative and boost his profile by helping along the “Vacation” and “Fletch” reboots that are in various stages of development. But it seems some old habits die hard.
Speaking with Collider, Chase revealed that while he’s aware of those projects, he’s got plans of his own and he’s certainly not interested in sharing screen time with a younger (and perhaps more bankable) star. “… I mean look, I’m not gonna do ‘Fletch’ unless I’m ‘Fletch,’ if they start writing something for a kid who’s ‘Fletch’ and I’m just helping out, ‘Bye.’ I mean, there’s no reason why, at my age, I can’t still be ‘Fletch.’ I’ve always been getting this impression that they’d like me to be mentoring a younger ‘Fletch’ type thing. No, what am I James Coburn on a Western?,” Chase said. “And ‘Vacation,’ actually Beverly D’Angelo and I have been working on our own script, which is pretty dang funny. I’ve written an idea that would be basically like a ‘Swiss Family Griswold.’ There’s a cruise, there’s a fire on the ship, we think the whole ship’s on fire and we jump—it’s just a little fire—and we end up on an island where we meet Randy somewhere who’s been left there from an old ‘Survivor‘ series. I like that idea. It’s hard to sell these things to the Warners people. It depends on who’s there and what their mood is and what they think people are gonna like.”
Chase is a bit delusional here. The reason why Warner Bros. may not be interested in his pitch is quite simple: no one is going to hand over $12 these days to see a movie toplined by Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, even in this sequel-happy climate. Even his idea for a new film has a distinctly ’80s whiff to it, perhaps showing his sense of comedy hasn’t really evolved with the times (a “Survivor” joke? Really?). But regardless, the reboot is soldiering on and doesn’t really need Chase’s approval to keep moving. Last we heard, Pete Segal was among those in the mix for the director’s chair in a spinoff of sorts that will focus on Rusty Griswold and tackle his story and adventures.
As for “Fletch,” a reboot of that has been trying to get off the ground for years, with Kevin Smith and Zach Braff among those who have attempted it. Back in February, Warner Bros. acquired the film rights to the 11 novels that feature the character from the estate of Gregory McDonald for a new project that would be in the “action-comedy” vein and thus not really be like Chase’s films at all. Do mainstream audiences want to see the nearly 70-year-old actor back as Fletch? We think not.
It’s nice that Chase wants to do things his way and stick it to the man or whatever, but that attitude hasn’t done him so well lately. He might want to remind himself of “Stay Cool” and watch the trailer for the movie that no one will see when it opens on September 16th.