NOTE: This is the remake version of The Fly from 1958.
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|“||I'm turning into Brundlefly!||„|
|~ Seth to Veronica during his second transformation.|
Sethaniel "Seth" Brundle, or better known as Brundlefly, is the titular main protagonist, as well as the main self antagonist of David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly.
He was portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, who also played the Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok, Calvin "Slick" Stanhope in Silverado, Verminous Skumm in Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Long Eared Jack in Robbie the Red Nose Reindeer, and Niagara / The Wolf King in Hotel Artemis. The character of Brundle was also played by Daniel Okulitch in Howard Shore's 2008 opera The Fly in its premiere at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
Brundle suffered from motion sickness beginning at a young age; once, during childhood, he vomited on his tricycle. As a result of his condition, he developed an intense dislike of vehicles. By the age of 20, he had become an expert in molecular physics, and was the leader of a project known as "F32", which very nearly earned him a Nobel Prize in Physics. He also earned his doctorate at some undisclosed point.
Years later, he focused his attention on creating a teleportation system, partially so he would no longer have to worry about his motion sickness when traveling. At some point, he became the sole occupant of an abandoned warehouse, the fourth (and top) floor of which he converted into a laboratory and living quarters. A shy and eccentric recluse, he also adopted a habit of Albert Einstein's when he bought five identical sets of clothes so as not to waste mental energy deciding what to wear each day. His experiments were funded by Bartok Science Industries, which was unaware of the nature of Brundle's project and did not interfere since his requirements were relatively inexpensive.
Despite his scientific brilliance, Brundle subcontracted the design and construction of various components out to other scientists, components which Brundle then put together himself (thus keeping the nature of the project secret). Eventually, the first prototype "Telepod" was completed, and when it proved successful, Brundle had two refined models built. All in all, the project took 6 years to complete, but at this point, Brundle could only teleport non-living objects successfully.
One night, while attending a meet-the-press party sponsored by Bartok, Brundle met Veronica Quaife, a journalist working for Particle magazine. After convincing Veronica that he was working on something that would change the world, he drove with her to his warehouse and demonstrated the Telepods for her. However, Brundle had been under the impression that their meeting was an off-the-record social affair, but Veronica felt otherwise and proceeded to tell her editor and former lover, Stathis Borans, about what she'd seen. Eventually, Brundle was able to convince Veronica that the project was not ready to be revealed to the world, since the Telepods could not yet cope with living matter. The pair then made a deal; Brundle would allow Veronica an insider's access to his work on the Telepods (with her end goal being a book documenting the project) in exchange for her keeping the project's existence quiet.
Veronica then set about documenting Brundle's quest to perfect the Telepods, including a disastrous experiment in which a live baboon was turned inside-out during the reintegration process. Brundle and Veronica soon became lovers, and during their first sexual encounter, he accidentally rolled onto a small circuit board, which created several small scratches on his back. Brundle's sexual awakening also provided him with a key moment of inspiration when an off-hand comment of Veronica's led him to realize that the Telepods were reinterpreting living flesh instead of reproducing it. As a result of this epiphany, Brundle reprogrammed the Telepod computer to be creative when reintegrating organic material. Soon after, a teleportation experiment with another baboon proved successful.
However, as Brundle and Veronica were about to celebrate this scientific triumph, Veronica became aware of the fact that the possessive and jealous Borans was threatening to reveal the Telepods' existence to the world prematurely. Keeping Brundle unaware of this so as to avoid hurting his feelings, Veronica abruptly left to confront Borans. Incorrectly suspecting that Veronica was still seeing Borans romantically, a drunken and jealous Brundle decided to teleport himself so as to deprive Veronica of the opportunity to see a historic moment in science. However, a common housefly slipped into the sending Telepod unnoticed by the preoccupied scientist. After his successful teleportation, Brundle went to bed, and was awoken some hours later by Veronica. He told her about his rash teleportation and the reasons behind it, and the two then reconciled and made love.
The next morning, Brundle awoke feeling strangely energized. He was surprised at his reflexes as he plucked a fly out of mid-air, and then performed a series of highly complex gymnastic exercises for Veronica. Unable to account for his new strength and agility, Brundle theorized that the teleportation process had somehow improved and purified his body. By this point, he and Veronica had begun to affect each other; he began wearing new clothes that she had bought for him, and she began wearing a necklace with a heart-shaped charm that he bought for her (despite her previous assertion that she never wore jewelry). However, Brundle's newfound energy, which now included incredible sexual stamina, quickly turned to all-out mania.
Brundle and Veronica then head to a restaurant. There, Brundle tells Veronica that he had asked the computer to improve him, yet the computer didn’t understand what he was talking about, which made Brundle think real carefully. While talking quite fast, Brundle tells Veronica that he thinks the reason why he has strength and agility, is because of the process of his cells being taken apart atom-by-atom and being put back together has purified Brundle and made him realize the personal potential he‘s been neglecting all these years goal by goal. Due to Brundle consistently pouring sugar on his coffee while explaining his thoughts, Veronica questions Brundle if he “likes coffee with sugar“. Brundle responds in confusion, and continues his subject without an answer. Brundle then says that the process has given himself the chance to be who he really is, and that it might also improve people as well.
He became arrogant and aggressive, and when Veronica discovered several coarse hairs growing out of the scratches on his back during a long lovemaking session, Brundle dismissed her concerns. Instead, he was obsessively focused on his new feeling of euphoria, and attempted to force Veronica to undergo teleportation, claiming that the process was like "a perfectly pure and benign drug." Shocked by his behavior, Veronica refused, and Brundle, seething with energy, abandoned her and stormed off into the night, determined to find someone who could "keep up" with him sexually.
Eventually, Brundle entered a local bar, where he volunteered to arm-wrestle a burly man, Marky, with the prize being the sexual favors of a young woman named Tawny. He then used his newfound super-strength to give Marky's arm a compound fracture, and spent the rest of the night bar-hopping with Tawny. The next morning, Brundle took Tawny to his warehouse, where he teleported himself once again during a lull in their sexual escapades. Soon after, Brundle, now feeling less energetic than before, tried to force Tawny to undergo teleportation. However, Veronica arrived in time to prevent this, and Tawny subsequently left the warehouse. Veronica then tried to warn Brundle that something went wrong during his first teleportation, and explained that scientific testing of the coarse hairs she had previously trimmed from his back revealed that they were not human.
Refusing to listen to her, Brundle threw Veronica out of his warehouse and told her never to return. However, after her departure, he went into his bathroom to examine himself, and was horrified to discover that lesions were appearing on his face, and that his fingernails were beginning to fall off. Humbled by this discovery, Brundle checked his computer's records and learned that the Telepod computer, confused by the presence of two separate life-forms in the sending pod, merged him with the fly at the genetic level.
After a month-long period of self-imposed isolation, Brundle finally mustered up the courage to call Veronica and reconcile with her. His body had been progressively degenerating during this period, with each day bringing new horrors and the loss of various body parts. Eventually, Brundle came to realize that his genetic fusion with the fly was slowly transforming him into a deformed hybrid creature, which he subsequently dubbed "Brundlefly". He soon began to exhibit fly-like characteristics, such as his need to vomit corrosive enzymes (which Brundle named "vomit-drop") on his food in order to pre-digest it. Brundle also developed a craving for sugary foods, and his lab quickly became a cluttered mess, full of half-eaten donuts, cakes, and other junk-food items. Overwhelmed by the horror of it all, Brundle began using gallows humor and took a perverse pleasure in certain aspects of his metamorphosis, such as his new ability to cling to walls.
He was also morbidly fascinated with his transformation from a scientific perspective, and even videotaped a demonstration of his new fly-like eating technique "for posterity", as well as keeping his sloughed-off human body parts in his medicine cabinet, which he dubbed the "Brundle Museum of Natural History". Regardless, Brundle still desperately searched for a cure to his condition, even as he continued to disintegrate mentally, emotionally, and physically. A scene deleted from The Fly, which would have fit in at this point, featured an experimental test of Brundle's "cure", in which the desperate scientist used the Telepods to fuse the surviving baboon and a cat together into one entity. However, the resulting "monkey-cat" creature was horribly deformed and in terrible agony, and Brundle put it out of its misery by beating it to death with a metal pipe. A small fly-like leg then burst out of Brundle's left side, and, unable to cope with this new appendage, he amputated it with his teeth.
As his diseased transformation progressed, Brundle installed a fusion program in the Telepod computer, and the computer suggested to him that the most logical way to make himself more human was to fuse genetically with one or more pure human beings. Veronica then came to visit him once again, but he explained to her that he was losing his human compassion and told her to leave him forever before he could hurt her. While on the roof of the warehouse to watch her depart—with her confidant, Borans—Brundle overheard Veronica say that she was pregnant with Brundle's child, and wanted an abortion. He then proceeded to smash into the clinic Veronica and Borans had gone to, and abducted her before she could abort the fetus. On a nearby rooftop, Brundle begged Veronica to carry the child to term, since it could very well have been conceived before his fateful teleportation and thus might have been "all that's left of the real me." Veronica replied that she was too afraid to have the baby, and a distraught Brundle took her back to his warehouse.
Seeing that Borans, armed with a shotgun, had broken into the laboratory, Brundle leapt through the warehouse's open skylight and pounced on him. The crazed mutant dissolved Borans' left hand and right foot with his corrosive "vomit-drop", and only Veronica's pleading prevented him from killing Borans. Brundle then revealed his desperate plan to Veronica: he intended to use Telepods 1 and 2 (as well as the old prototype, which would serve as a receiving pod) to fuse with Veronica and their unborn child. He believed that this would make them the "ultimate family", an entity "more human than I am alone."
Veronica resisted, and in the ensuing struggle, she accidentally ripped off his jaw, prompting his final transformation. Brundle's body shed its outer layer of decaying flesh, revealing the monstrous combination of man and insect that had been growing underneath it. The now-mute "Brundlefly" then threw Veronica into Telepod 1 and stepped inside Telepod 2. However, the wounded Borans managed to stay conscious and used his shotgun to sever the power cables connected to Telepod 1, allowing Veronica to escape unharmed. Seeing this, Brundlefly attempted to break out of Telepod 2 just as the fusion sequence occurred, and was molecularly intertwined with chunks of metal and other components. As the mortally wounded Brundlefly-Telepod fusion creature crawled out of the prototype Telepod, he begged Veronica to end his suffering with Borans' shotgun by placing the barrel against his own head. A devastated Veronica hesitated for a moment, and then pulled the trigger, mercifully blasting Brundlefly's head off.
Several months later, Veronica died giving birth to Brundle's son, Martin. Martin was persuaded to continue his late father's work on the Telepods when he was shown videotape footage of his father being interviewed by Veronica about his work. Despite eventually transforming into an insect-like creature himself (one which proved to be far more deadly than its father), Martin eventually found a cure for his condition, and was successful in getting the Telepods to work again, thus redeeming his late father's legacy.
Powers and Abilities
Prior to his first teleportation, Seth Brundle was a normal human being who possessed a genius-level knowledge of molecular physics, but suffered from chronic motion sickness. He was also a talented piano player, and was fond of the works of composers such as Beethoven and Bach. After his teleportation and subsequent genetic fusion with a common housefly, Brundle became extremely energized, and possessed incredible strength, agility, and sexual potency, as well as little need for sleep.
Even after he began to deteriorate, he retained his superhuman strength, as well as developing other abilities, which allowed him to scale sheer walls (as a result of sticky, cushion-like pads on his hands and feet) and vomit highly corrosive enzymes onto his food (or foes). Despite this, the "Brundlefly" creature that resulted from Brundle's teleportation accident was a deformed, sickly, asymmetrical monster.
In the climatic and tragic ending scene, Seth as Brundlefly, moments before his death and his last transformation into his real and true form wanted to unite his and Veronica's future baby, Martin Brundle, in his own telepod machines, turning both Veronica and both future Martin into humanoid monstrous flies like him.
Later, in the 1989 sequel, Veronica died during Martin's birth but Martin actually turned also just like his own deceased father, a monstrous humanoid fly but turned back to a fully normal human being later.
As human before his transformation, Seth was a calculating, lovely, caring and smart man who knew how to act in several situations of love and sexuality with Veronica.
But as he became the Brundlefly, he became a vicious, ruthless, remorseless, violent and dark monster with a very great desire to please his girl and to become human again even if it will cause Veronica to become a monster like him.
Right away as he met Veronica for the last time which she meant to tell him that she has a future son from him, he told her that he would hurt her if she'll stay with him, but after he sees her with Stathis talking about her being pregnant and about her intention to abort the baby, Brundle seemed to be very sinister and twisted as his mind "manipulated" him into kidnapping Veronica and to prevent her from doing something to the baby who would become Martin Brundle.
- Seth Brundle, who suffered from motion sickness, was ironically named after race car champion Martin Brundle (which was also used as the name of his son in The Fly II).
- Brundle's diseased metamorphosis was broken up into six stages by Chris Walas, Inc.'s makeup and creature effects crew (seven, if one includes the Brundlefly/Telepod fusion seen at the end of The Fly), ranging from facial discoloration to full-body rubber suits to highly-articulated puppets.
- Michael Keaton was offered the role of Seth Brundle, but he declined.
- It took nearly five hours to apply the most extensive makeup stages to actor Jeff Goldblum.
- After bringing Veronica, a journalist, to his apartment, the first thing Seth does to impress her is play the piano. In real life, David Cronenberg's mother played the piano, while his father was a journalist.
- Richard Dreyfuss turned down the role of Seth Brundle.
- Mel Gibson was considered for the role of Seth Brundle. But he turned it down to do Lethal Weapon (1987).
- David Cronenberg named Seth Brundle after racing driver Martin Brundle.
- After the successful teleportation of the baboon, Veronica tells Seth that he will never have to be carsick again, to which Seth says "or airsick or seasick." In The Right Stuff (1983), Jeff Goldblum played a man who got seasick. In Independence Day (1996), he played a man who got airsick.
- This is the second of three movies that co-star Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. The others being Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), and Earth Girls Are Easy (1988).
- One version of the script had Brundle losing his ability to speak while becoming more fly-like, as in The Fly (1958).
- Chris Walas asked Jeff Goldblum to give a physical characteristic to his performance he could easily transfer over to the end 'spacebug' puppet, Goldblum thought about it, then added his trademark twitches which they could then easily add to their puppeteering.
- In the bathroom scene, as Seth's gradual transformation into Brundlefly begins, Seth has lesions on his face. Lesions is a skin condition that is related to HIV/AIDS. The film was released during the dawn of the AIDS epidemic and the film had been seen by many as a metaphor for the disease and the film deals with even more basic issues that everybody can identify with.
- Jeff Goldblum admits to being angry about the filmed "Stathis" endings, as he felt Veronica ending up with Stathis undermined the tragedy of the film. Eventually it was decided that, although some of the filmmakers - including producer Stuart Cornfeld - liked the alternate ending, it was more appropriate to end with Seth's death as, according to Cornfeld, "Once your hero is dead your movie is over".
- Seth's gradual transformation into Brundlefly happens over 4 weeks and 6 days.