When Warner Bros. announced last week that an all-female film version of the classic novel Lord of the Flies was in the works, I’m sure that they were expecting to be hailed as progressive and in-touch by interested movie-goers. After all, with all the all-female reboots going on in Hollywood right now–Ghostbusters and Ocean’s Ocho, to name just two–it would seem that they would be right on the money in terms of reading their target demographic. However, the backlash Warner Bros. received was intensely negative, with jokes and intelligent criticisms appearing on Twitter and in news media across the internet. Though the points that the directors of this reboot are male and that women would work differently under stress are great arguments as to why this movie would flop, there’s one overarching reason why Warner Bros. all-girl reboot of Lord of the Flies would fail: it’s already been done.
Enter Libba Bray, best-selling author and all-around cool girl. She’s most famous for her Gemma Doyle trilogy, but she also wrote a book called Beauty Queens that explored…wait for it…what would happen in girls, not boys, crash-landed on an island and were forced to survive in increasingly dangerous and wacky circumstances.
While the directors of the Warner Bros. film were interested in making “a very faithful …adaptation,” of the book, Bray took the concept and ran with it in a wholly unique and female-centric direction, tying together the themes of sexuality, social justice, self-discovery, and pure survival in a unique and comical coming-of-age story. Bray’s book is the story that would work on the silver screen, and she knows it: after the the Warner Bros. film was announced, she penned an essay for Entertainment Weekly that discusses how, despite her best efforts, Beauty Queens didn’t make it past initial filming attempts while this adaption somehow passed with flying colors.
In short, a all-girls remake of Lord of the Flies wouldn’t work because it’s already been done: any attempt to live up to Bray’s piece would pale in comparison, and it looks like Twitter–and the rest of the world–already knows that.