There’s a certain sort of tradition that comes with being a part of Saturday Night Live. Often, the only comedians with a bad word to say about the show have sour grapes that they had very little screen time (Jay Mohr wrote a book about this). Only one star, Eddie Murphy, has declared himself bigger than the show himself (arguable), neglecting to discuss it or appear at SNL-themed events. But most people who use the show as a springboard to success acknowledge they’re walking in the shadows of giants, and Jason Sudeikis is about to walk under one right now.
THR reports that Sudeikis has signed on to star in Fletch Won, the first of a planned franchise. This role was of course originated onscreen by original SNL cast member Chevy Chase, whom Sudeikis mirrors in some ways. Chase was the star of the much loved Fletch and the lesser-loved Fletch Returns, but the source material stretches back to a dozen novels written by Gregory McDonald. Sudeikis is strapping himself into a prospective series that potentially has no shortage of concepts.
Unlike Chase’s sarcastic (and, let’s admit, dated) movies, the Fletch concept is more of a mystery with comedic elements, and the studio claims they’re looking for a Beverly Hills Cop or Midnight Run vibe. The WB grabbed the rights in February 2011 after years of false starts, particularly an ongoing flirtation with director Kevin Smith, and a collection of potential new Fletches like Jason Lee and Ryan Reynolds. As befitting the (terrible) title, this film takes the character back to his roots, beginning the saga with the start of Fletch’s career. The studio is on the hunt for a director.
Sudeikis smartly gambled on a couple of projects after a decade on SNL, signing sequel deals for Horrible Bosses 2 and We‘re The Millers Again, despite both seeming like less-than-sure things. But both originals grossed $210 and $270 million respectively, showing surprising muscle overseas (rare for an American comedy), and the actor is heavily in-demand as a result. Like Chase, he’s a rogue-ish leading man, but his comedic persona is more schticky, whereas Chase could act somewhat convincingly. It’s early in Sudeikis’ career, and his film roles haven’t really stretched him all that far, but he seems like more of an Aykroyd than a Murray, if you get my drift. Catch the trailer to the original Fletch below.
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