How Miramax has (or hasn’t) sold the latest outing for everyone’s favorite laconic reporter
There have been a number of attempts over the years to revive the character of Fletch, originally appearing in the novels of writer Gregory Mcdonald. Chevy Chase brought the character to life in two movies but the series lost steam when the sequel was less…well…less than the original. Kevin Smith, Bill Lawrence and others have made attempts at revivals, but none actually moved forward until now.
Greg Mottola directs – and cowrote with Zev Borow – this week’s Confess, Fletch. Based on Mcdonald’s second novel, the movie stars Jon Hamm as erstwhile reporter Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher. When he’s asked to investigate the theft of a millionaire’s art collection he finds himself the lead suspect in a related murder case. So he has to prove his innocence and also find who was responsible for both crimes.
Hamm’s “Mad Men” partner John Slattery costars as Fletch’s editor Frank Jaffe while Roy Wood Jr. plays Det. Monroe, who Fletch keeps bumping into. Lorenza Izzo, Marcia Gay Harden and Kyle MacLachlan also appear as some of those who either need Fletch’s help or who are very interested in him not figuring out what’s going on.
announcements and casting
The movie was announced in July, 2020, with Hamm starring and producing and Mottola directing. Wood Jr., Slattery and the rest of the cast was added about year later in June, 2021 when filming began.
Mottola marked the official beginning of production with a photo.
the marketing campaign
The campaign didn’t kick off until the last week of August with the release of the trailer (2.2m YouTube views). Fletch is on vacation as it starts but is pulled back to the world with the promise of a good story. As soon as he starts digging around the art theft he becomes mixed up in the murder investigation.
At the same time the poster came out, offering a painted take on Fletch, Izzo’s Angela and a dead body lying in the background. Rome’s Colosseum is also seen, establishing the location of at least some of the story.
Fletch unsuccessfully tries to get Jaffe to pull some strings to help his investigation in a clip. In another clip given exclusively to Fandango he meets the art broker played by MacLachlan.
A trailer cutdown came out as the movie became available on digital platforms that takes out much of the story in favor of focusing on Hamm’s breezy charm.
Hamm did a few interviews where he talked about taking his own non-Chase approach to the character and working with Mottola to leave the previous film incarnation behind in favor of sticking closer to the source novels.
As many people have pointed out, this movie features a top-name actor (Hamm) working with a top-name comedic director (Mottola) on a very recognizable character and franchise. Yet it seems Paramount isn’t very enthusiastic about selling it to the public, putting more effort into its recent horror sequel Orphan Lives. And if you went looking for the movie in theaters you’d be out of luck, as it’s only available on a handful of screens at the same time it’s available on Showtime and through VOD platforms.
That lack of muscle is a real shame because Hamm looks absolutely fantastic as Fletch, taking a more nuanced approach than Chase did, one without all the crazy disguises and vignettes. Not only that, but Mottola’s directing appears assured and focused on selling the performances of the actors in service of the story.