The Big Picture
- The writers of the film Dumb Money revealed that they were commissioned by Universal to write a rebooted adaptation of the iconic Murder, She Wrote series.
- Murder-mystery is a popular genre in modern pop culture, with shows and movies like Knives Out, Only Murders in the Building, and Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot series gaining popularity.
- Angela Lansbury’s performance as Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote was iconic, showcasing strong female characters and breaking gender stereotypes of the time. The show continues to have a dedicated fan base even after Lansbury’s passing.
Jessica Fletcher may be back on the case, following a piece of exciting news obtained by Collider at our TIFF media studio at MARBL this weekend. While discussing their latest film, Dumb Money with Collider’s Steve Weintraub, writers, and executive producers on the film Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo revealed that they were commissioned by Universal to write a rebooted adaptation of the iconic Murder, She Wrote series.
The legendary show ran for 264 episodes and starred Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher. Schuker Blum and Angelo spoke of their excitement at being involved in the project, letting Collider in on the news when asked what project they were working on next “We’ll tell you one thing that hasn’t been reported yet, which is we have written a theatrical feature film version of Murder, She Wrote for Universal, and we’re really excited,” said Schuker Blum, with Angelo adding: “It’s with Pascal Pictures in Pascal and Universal, and we’re very excited to bring [Jessica Fletcher to the big screen].” Angelo added that Universal was “very excited” and that it was “Jessica Fletcher’s time to return,” although Blum noted that they haven’t had the opportunity to speak with Pascal Pictures or Universal for a number of months due to the ongoing industry-wide strike, though they noted that Universal were “gung-ho” for the project. It’s unclear if casting had a chance to take place prior to the strike or if that is on hold until SAG-AFTRA and the WGA come to a satisfying agreement with studios.
Murder-mystery is a hugely popular genre in modern pop culture presently. Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out and Glass Onion are satirical nods at the genre, while shows like Only Murders in the Building and The Afterparty take a more irreverent look at the gimmick of finding a body and investigating what happened. For traditionalists, Kenneth Branagh‘s series of films starring the Irish actor as Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective from the Agatha Christie stories remains as popular as ever, with the latest installment, A Haunting in Venice, debuting in theaters next week.
What Made ‘Murder, She Wrote’ So Timelessly Appealing?
Angela Lansbury starred as Jessica Fletcher, a widowed mystery writer with a knack for stumbling upon real-life murders. Set in the picturesque fictional town of Cabot Cove, Maine, the show blends elements of mystery, drama, and light-hearted humor. Each episode follows Jessica as she uses her sharp wit and deductive skills to unravel intricate murder mysteries that baffle local authorities. Jessica’s charisma and intelligence make her a beloved amateur detective, often assisting law enforcement in solving crimes. Lansbury’s performance is considered iconic, and the showcase wasn’t just entertaining, but it also showcased strong female characters while breaking gender stereotypes of the time. The show continues to enjoy a very dedicated fan base, who will no doubt be moderately horrified but also curious to see how it’s handled, particularly following Lansbury’s death at the age of 96 last year.
Following Lansbury’s passing, wonderful stories would emerge, perhaps none more heartwarming than the way she would use her influence to ensure guest stars on the show of a certain age were hired to ensure they would once again qualify for medical benefits through the Screen Actors Guild. GoldDerby.com reported that Lansbury remained with the show well past her real interest in continuing to do so out of concern for keeping the supporting cast and crew gainfully employed.
“Angela was very old school that way, keeping solidarity with those who worked alongside her as well as below the line. This was a genuine priority for her, to help her fellow union members either remain members in good standing or restore their membership. That’s just the way she was. It was extremely important to her.”
Collider will have more information on the new iteration of Murder, She Wrote when it becomes available. Dumb Money will be released on September 15th in limited theaters before expanding wide on September 29th.