After years (perhaps decades) of potential reinvention, a new iteration of Fletch, the private investigator that originated in a series of novels by mystery writer Gregory Mcdonald and immortalized in Michael Ritchie’s terrific movie starring Chevy Chase (and one so-so sequel), is finally here.
Jon Hamm is now playing Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher, this time for “Adventureland” director Greg Mottola. The new trailer definitely keeps the spirit of the original film alive while noticeably lessening the wackiness of the Chase iteration (we imagine there will be fewer half-assed disguises this time around).
The new movie, based on the second Fletch novel by Mcdonald, sees Fletch investigating the theft of a valuable painting. Hamm’s old “Mad Men” costar John Slattery co-stars as Fletch’s boss at the paper, while Marcia Gay Harden, Kyle McLaughlan and Lorenza Izzo also co-star.
The journey to “Confess, Fletch” has been a long one, beginning in the 1990s with Kevin Smith and Universal (who produced the original films) proposing a third film with Chase. Chase reportedly clashed with Smith and when Miramax, then run by the Weinsteins and owned by Disney, got the underlying rights after Universal let them slip, they installed Smith as writer/director. Smith’s take, which focused on a younger Fletch in the early days of his investigative journalism career, called “Fletch Won,” would have starred Jason Lee as the title character.
After Smith, “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence looked at the project as a potential feature directorial debut, with Zach Braff as the lead. In 2006 he actually signed on to make two movies. By 2007 Lawrence was replaced by Steve Pink and from there the project bounced around, first to Warner Bros. and then to Relativity Media (remember them?) By 2018 Relativity was bankrupt, the rights returned to a now-Weinstein-free Miramax and by 2020 this new version of the movie, with Mottola, Hamm and Paramount on board to tackle the movie’s unique distribution.
“Confess, Fletch” will have a limited theatrical run and be available on digital on Sept. 16. It will then premiere on Showtime on Oct. 28 and presumably be available on the Showtime app and Paramount+ sometime after that.