Jon Hamm has something to confess: The “Confess, Fletch” actor, according to director Greg Mottola, “gave back 60 percent of his salary to the budget” to finish filming the Paramount/Miramax feature.
“I gave back some of my salary, not as much as Jon because he’s richer than me and I’ve got three kids,” Mottola told Uproxx in a recent interview. “And we bought three more days of shooting. We got it up to 30 days in Boston and one day in Rome. And we said, fuck it, we’re insane, we’re dumb. We’re going to make this movie.”
The $20 million film, released almost 40 years after Chevy Chase first brought the fictional reporter character Irwin M. Fletcher to life, was revived thanks to Hamm’s determination. The “Mad Men” Emmy winner approached Mottola to helm an updated take on the novel hero. Miramax executive Bill Block told Mottola, though, that “up to a certain amount of money, I can fully finance this film,” but production had to wrap with only 27 days of shooting, “which seemed especially challenging,” according to Mottola.
“So we looked for partners on the movie, and everyone passed,” he told Uproxx. “Everyone said, ‘I don’t know that this kind of comedy works in this day and age.’ They just had a kind of like, ‘Who’s Fletch? I don’t think anyone cares anymore.'”
Production continued thanks to Hamm and Mottola returning part of their respective salaries to the budget, but finding a distributor was another issue. “Nobody wanted it,” Mottola said. “It was depressing.”
And despite the obvious ode to the original, “Fletch” star Chevy Chase was not asked to be in the film. “I’m also personally a little tired of movies that rely too heavily on nostalgia,” the director said. “Plus, there wasn’t a great role for him. We didn’t want to just walk through the movie and distract everyone.”
As “Confess, Fletch” accumulates positive reviews, Mottola confirmed a sequel is in the works, adapting novel “Fletch’s Fortune,” which takes place at a journalism conference. “I’ve got lots of ideas [for] how to bring that into all the insane worlds of today,” he said.
And the “Superbad” helmer also is looking to return to more indie, non-IP films soon too.
“I love art house films probably more than anything,” Mottola summed up. “If I could get someone to give me money for one I wrote that I’d love to make, hopefully, I’ll get that distributed by an A24. But it’s just, it’s weird. It’s sort of the middle ground of Hollywood.”
Hamm, who also starred in this year’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” another ’80s revival film, previously told Entertainment Tonight that the “Top Gun” sequel is “one of the only top five [films] that doesn’t have somebody in a cape or on a spaceship” to top the summer box office.
As for the beloved “Confess, Fletch,” Hamm told IndieWire that “Knives Out” is the movie to credit for sparking a “renaissance of the mystery and the whodunnit” genre.
“Our film is a beneficiary of that as well,” Hamm said, “but you see it in ‘Only Murders in the Building’ and ‘Death on the Nile,’ and all of this kind of revisiting of these mysteries that are truly compelling because they’re really satisfying to watch.”