The last we heard about the upcoming Clue remake, reuniting star Ryan Reynolds with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, it was going to be directed by Reynolds’ The Change-Up co-star Jason Bateman, who’s been on a small-screen directing tear lately with excellent work on The Outsider and Ozark. But now, in a plot twist worthy of a delicious murder mystery like Clue, Bateman has exited the project. And per Variety, Reynolds’ take on the board game is eyeing a new director: James Bobin.
Bobin is a behind-the-scenes comedy vet, writing and directing for comedy stars like Sacha Baron Cohen and Flight of the Conchords. He made his big-screen directing debut with the delightful 2011 The Muppets — before really proving his “comedy-mystery-thriller” chops with the underrated, joke-a-second sequel Muppets Most Wanted. Since those two back-to-back films, Bobin directed the Disney sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, and the well-received Dora the Explorer adaptation Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Disney seems to love working with Bobin, and by circling him for Clue (a 20th Century Studios production, aka “owned by Disney”), they may be trying to snatch him back from Paramount’s clutches.
Reynolds’ production company Maximum Effort is developing the film alongside Allspark Pictures, Hasbro’s film division. Reynolds recently starred in 2019’s Detective Pikachu and 6 Underground, and is set to lead 2020’s Free Guy and The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. Beyond Reynolds, no other cast members have been set. Writers Reese and Wernick also wrote 6 Underground, alongside 2019’s Zombieland: Double Tap. Beyond Reynolds, no other cast members have been set in the new version yet — perhaps the appeal of working with Bobin will help.
This is not the first time the classic murder-solving board game has been adapted into a feature — Jonathan Lynn directed a cult-classic adaptation in 1985, with a sterling ensemble cast including Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Madeline Kahn, Lesley Ann Warren, Martin Mull, and Eileen Brennan. Part of the joys of that film came from its willingness to play the premise straight, never allowing the characters’ comedy to come at the expense of the base reality’s authenticity. Based on the track record of Reynolds, Reese, and Wernick, I’m imagining this new Clue will have a lot more self-aware “winking at the inherent premise” jokes, and I am sterling myself for the worst. But if they hire Bobin, a director whose commitment to silliness I admire, perhaps it will yield a more grounded, “best of both worlds” picture.