Gilligan’s Island is one of those classic shows that is known to people who have never even seen an episode of it, and despite its relatively short run between 1964 and 1967, the series has influences many other series and movies over the last five decades. But what if the comedy adventures of seven castaways trying to survive on an island has taken a darker turn…say involving cannibals? Well, if The Suicide Squad director James Gunn had been given his way that is exactly what we could have seen in a reboot he once pitched and had rejected.
Gunn revealed the bit of historical trivia in response to a post on Twitter, which asked to post two images as a film pitch without any explanation. When Gunn posted an image from the ’60s show Gilligan’s Island and an old depiction of cannibalism, that obviously meant that some kind of elaboration was needed and indeed was forthcoming.
Gunn wrote, “A true story: In the late 90’s screenwriting GOAT Charlie Kaufman pitched a movie version of Gilligan’s Island where the islanders, starving & desperate, started killing & eating each other. Warner Bros wanted to do it – but Sherwood Schwartz, the creator, said no way. After Guardians I tried to resurrect the idea & wanted to direct. It seemed Warners & Charlie were interested but, this time, the estate of the late Sherwood Schwartz nixed it. Anyway, if the Schwartz estate changes their mind, I’m here.”
Sherwood Schwartz said in various interviews in the 1990s that the original idea behind the program was working out where to put a group of people so they would have no choice but to work together through their differences. As the brains behind The Brady Bunch, which itself was made into a couple of movies that didn’t exactly continue the legacy of the series, it seems that turning his much-loved comedy into something violent and bloodthirsty seems to have been a bit of a step too far for him, or his estate, to allow to go ahead. Of course, it would not have been the first classic program to have been reinterpreted as a horror movie, with that other island based series Fantasy Island being turned into a Blumhouse horror in 2020.
While Gunn’s attempt to revive the series in his own way, he isn’t the only one to attempt to bring Gilligan’s Island to the big screen, as Disney favorite Josh Gad also had his sights set on rebooting the series in back in 2017. Speaking to Larry King on Larry King Now on his 500th episode, Gad revealed, “I’m co-writing it and the idea is that I would star in it.” Asked whether he would be taking the title role, Gad said, “I’m not telling you, Larry. I couldn’t be a Skipper? I couldn’t be Ginger if I played my card rights? We’re trying to take a really different approach. The show is so beloved and we need to modernize it but also pay homage to the original.”
However, since then, a lot of things have happened, and similarly a lot of things haven’t – one of them being that reboot. Whether we will see any kind of reboot of Gilligan’s Island in future, who knows, but as many or James Gunn’s followers pointed out, if he did really want to go down the cannibal route, he could always just come up with an original idea of a shipwrecked group of people being stranded on an island and turning to cannibalism.
Gunn has recently been preparing to start filming the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and even without island cannibals, he has quite a few other projects coming down the line to keep him busy over the next few years.