Jason Sudeikis has nabbed the iconic role of Fletch in Warner Bros.' Fletch Won, the first of a planned comedy franchise centered on the journalist character first played by Chevy Chase.
The Fletch movies are based on the Gregory McDonald mystery novels featuring an investigative reporter named I. M. Fletcher. The first book was written in 1974, before spawning 11 more. Chase made an indelible impact when he portrayed the character in the 1985 classic feature, which was followed by a sequel.
The project has long been in development as a remake or re-imagining. Warners picked up the rights in February 2011 and even then had a tough time cracking the code. After several writers didn't work out, David List, who reps the McDonald estate and is producing the project with Anonymous Content's Steve Golin and Michael Sugar, stepped in to take crack at it.
The draft passed muster with the studio and the producers, attracting Sudeikis, who is now in talks.
Fletch Won is an origin story, described as a gritty action comedy with heart and more tonally in line with McDonald's novels than the Chase movies.
The producers and the studio will now seek a director to take on the project, which is hoping to exude a Beverly Hills Cop or Midnight Run vibe.
Sudeikis spent 10 years on Saturday Night Live while also appearing in comedies such as Horrible Bosses and Hall Pass. His stock rose considerably last year (the same year he ended his run on SNL) after he starred in We’re the Millers, the drug road comedy from Warners’ arm New Line that grossed $270 million. The comedian has so far stuck to mostly playing supporting roles in his movies and Fletch will provide him the chance to carry a movie alone based on his charm and smarm.
Sudeikis, who is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment, will begin shooting the indie romantic comedy Tumbledown with Rebecca Hall at the end of March and will shoot Sleeping with Other People with Alison Brie this summer. He returns with Jason Bateman and Charlie Day for Horrible Bosses 2, which opens Nov. 26.