The upcoming Clue reboot has suffered collateral damage from Disney’s panoramic acquisition of 20th Century Fox, executive producer Ryan Reynolds tells Collider’s Steve Weintraub on Friday. The Free Guy star went on video to discuss the gradual demise of the project, which was meant to bankroll a franchise, as well as supposed director Jason Bateman’s unfortunate departure.
“I don’t know if we’re ever going to end up ever getting that made,” Reynolds admits. “It’s one of those things that in the shuffle of Disney acquiring Fox, I’m not sure we’ll ever get to [make] but we’ll see hopefully down the road. I love Jason Bateman, I couldn’t be a bigger Jason Bateman fan, so if it’s not this, it’ll be something else that we hopefully get to work on down the road.” Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds last collaborated in 2011’s The Change-Up, where they played childhood buddies Dave Lockwood and Mitch Planko in an R-rated Freaky Friday extravaganza that earned the film a B on CinemaScore. Check out what he had to say:
Bateman was supposed to star in and direct Ryan Reynolds’s Clue but backed out last year due to scheduling conflicts with Netflix’s Ozark, for which the Thunder Force actor won an Emmy. Bateman, who has directed television episodes and the occasional one-off, was reportedly intimidated by the immensity of the project, finding the possibility of a franchise well outside his level of expertise, given his commitments at the time.
The first and only Clue movie was a 1985 flop that managed to develop a cult following over time but remains one of the worst adaptations of a board game ever conceived. Definitely long overdue for a Ryan Reynolds makeover. It starred an ensemble cast and featured three different endings. It was a black comedy, ambitious for its time, and had all the potential to decimate the box office but didn’t. Hasbro leased the IP to Universal Pictures in 2008, with Pirates of the Caribbean’s Gore Verbinski set to direct, but eventually floundered. By 2016, Clue was transferred to 20th Century Fox, where producers Josh Feldman, Ryan Jones, and Daria Cercek reimagining the board game as a globetrotting murder mystery closer to Uncharted and Indiana Jones than Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes.
Two years later, Ryan Reynolds closed a three-year first-look deal with Fox to executive produce Clue under his film company Maximum Effort, with screenwriting duo Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick of Deadpool, 6 Underground, and Life — all recurring Reynolds collabs — in charge of the story. But after Jason Bateman left, and the studio’s failure to secure James Bobin as Bateman’s replacement, Clue reverted to development limbo. It could have taken off in a few years had Fox hierarchy stayed intact, but then Disney bought out Fox in 2019. The merger sent plenty of ongoing and future Fox projects to an early grave, the Clue reboot among them. It wasn’t immediately canceled, but it languished in production hell long enough to equate to the same thing.
But as Reynolds intuited, all’s not lost — at least for him and Bateman. Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman are good friends and work brilliantly as a comedic pair; Clue isn’t the first time they made movie magic together, and it wouldn’t be the last. Bateman is a seasoned comedian but made his mark playing money launderer Marty Byrde in Ozark, a dramatic role that scored him accolades. The show was recently renewed for its fourth and final season. Ryan Reynolds, on the other hand, is experiencing a Hollywood renaissance, with several blockbuster hits currently out and one too many franchises, one of which is a confirmed part as Deadpool in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Hasbro has nothing to fear, however. Though Ryan Reynolds’s hold on the franchise will expire this year, like every Sherlock Holmes adaptation, Clue will find a way to live on. There has been renewed public interest in murder mysteries and complex whodunnits, partly owing to the success of Knives Out, and Clue will fit right in. A Clue TV series is still in development.