The Suicide Squad director James Gunn says he once pitched a movie of Gilligan’s Island with a cannibal twist. The original show about a group of castaways becoming stranded on a desert island during what was supposed to be just a three-hour-tour aired on CBS from 1964 to 1967.
Years after that original three-year CBS run, the show received a revival in the form of three TV movies: The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island and Rescue From Gilligan’s Island. Today Gilligan’s Island is probably most known by younger people for its barroom-argument-inspiring “Ginger or Mary Anne?” question and its classic theme song, and of course older folks still cherish it. But despite the enduring popularity of the CBS sitcom, Gilligan, The Skipper and company have to this day never been brought back in theatrical movie form.
It was just revealed by James Gunn however that efforts have been made to revive Gilligan’s Island as a movie. In fact, according to Gunn legendary screenwriter Charlie Kaufman at one time pitched a Gilligan’s Island movie that in true Kaufman oddball fashion added the gruesome twist of the castaways turning on and cannibalizing each other (unsurprisingly the idea went nowhere). Gunn went on to say that he revived the pitch some years later and actually received studio interest, but the whole thing was shot down by the family of Gilligan’s Island creator Sherwood Schwartz. Gunn tweeted his story as part of the recent “Pitch a movie with two pictures, no captions” meme that has taken over Twitter. See his tweets in the space below:
It’s interesting to note that Schwartz himself originally shot down Kaufman’s cannibal Gilligan’s Island pitch and that even after Schwartz’s death his family continues refusing to allow this take on the original show to see the light of day. But it seems Gunn is still keen to make this movie happen, as he says “If the Schwartz estate changes their mind, I’m here.”
Indeed if “Gilligan’s Island but they all turn cannibal” ever did become a movie, it would be hard to envision a better team to make that happen than Kaufman and Gunn. The former is of course a notedly eccentric writer responsible for quirky scripts like Adaptation, Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And Gunn obviously is known for his own rather bizarre sensibilities through movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and this summer’s The Suicide Squad.
But though Cannibal Gilligan’s Island might seem like an amazing idea to fans of both Gunn and Kaufman, not to mention fans of bizarre movies in general, it’s also easy to understand why Schwartz and later his family would shoot down the idea. Gilligan’s Island obviously remains a Boomer favorite with a wholesome reputation and some twisted version of the show where everyone becomes cannibals could only undermine that image and would certainly add no value to the property. So as long as Gilligan’s Island remains something that has value as corny nostalgia, it’s certain the Schwartz family will continue protecting the show’s legacy from the crazed imaginations of people like Gunn and Kaufman. But perhaps things will change in the future and a Gilligan’s Island where they all lose their minds and eat each other will become a reality.