Seth MacFarlane is mounting a reboot of the 1984 collegiate comedy Revenge of the Nerds that will star Keith and Kenny Lucas from 22 Jump Street.
The Lucas brothers will co-write the script with Alex Rubens, whose TV credits include Key and Peele as well as Rick and Morty. Variety broke the news, reporting that MacFarlane will produce under his Fuzzy Door banner along with Erica Huggins, who brought the project to the Lucas brothers and will spearhead development.
The project is set up at 20th Century Studios, as the original was released by 20th Century Fox. Jeff Kanew directed that first film, which starred Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards as a couple of nerds who team up with their fellow Tri-Lambs to take down the Alpha Betas, a group of jocks led by the dashing Ted McGinley. The original movie and its 1987 sequel grossed a combined $70 million at the domestic box office and spawned a pair of TV movies.
Variety reports that the new Revenge of the Nerds movie won’t be a remake, but rather, a re-imagining that will examine what it means to be a nerd today. Indeed, it seems as though the nerds have inherited the earth over the past 20 years, and the interests that used to make them “different” are now dominating pop culture, from comic books to video games.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the whole point of this reboot — to illustrate how the nerds have become “cool.” Viewed through that prism, the involvement of the Lucas brothers makes a lot of sense. I mean, sure, they might look like your stereotypical “nerds” because they wear glasses and don’t have huge muscles, but make no mistake, the Lucas brothers are cool cats. I know someone who went to law school with them, and just because they’re smart, that doesn’t them “nerds.” I’m just saying, don’t be surprised if this reboot explores how that line has become more blurred as time goes on and the culture evolves.
What hasn’t blurred, and has in fact become more clear than ever before, is that 1984’s Revenge of the Nerds was a problematic movie that would never be made today. The film featured a costumed nerd having sex with a jock’s girlfriend under false pretenses (i.e. rape), and a group panty raid that was considered an innocent sexcapade back then would now launch a thousand thinkpieces regarding invasion of privacy and the lasting effects of sexual trauma. The nerds, it seems, were obsessed with sex to an unhealthy degree. Perhaps this reboot will rectify some of that egregious behavior, though we don’t even know if the film will take place on a college campus or elsewhere, like the workplace. Now that might lead to an interesting take!
Hollywood tried to reboot Revenge of the Nerds once before, but director Kyle Newman only shot two weeks worth of footage before Fox pulled the plug after officials at Emory University in Atlanta objected to some of the raunchy hijinx in the script. Adam Brody would’ve starred alongside Utopia‘s Dan Byrd and Kristin Cavallari.
The Lucas brothers are a hot commodity at the moment, as not only did they co-wrote and co-produced WB‘s upcoming drama Judas and the Black Messiah starring Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, but they’re also working on a Universal comedy with their 22 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.