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James Gunn and Charlie Kaufman Almost Made a Cannibalistic ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Movie

Kaufman and Gunn imagined a version of the classic sitcom "where the islanders, starving and desperate, started killing and eating each other."

Gunn Kaufman

James Gunn, Charlie Kaufman


“The Suicide Squad” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn’s Twitter account remains an endless fount of behind-the-scenes gossip, Hollywood rants, and more. His latest mic drop was the reveal this week that he almost made a cannibalistic movie version of the 1960’s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” with none other than Charlie Kaufman.

The thread began as a response to a “pitch a movie in two pictures, no caption” challenge that Gunn accepted, sharing a picture of the “Gilligan’s Island” crew alongside a depiction of cannibalism. (Via Collider.)

“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,” Gunn wrote.

“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,” he continued. See the full thread below.

Ultimately, according to Gunn, the project had the support of Warner Bros. and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” screenwriter Kaufman, but the estate of “Gilligan’s Island” creator Sherwood Schwartz, who died in 2011, put a stop to it.

While the future of Kaufman’s cannibal “Gilligan’s” movie looks bleak, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter did find redemption recently for another lost project. His long-gestating “IQ83,” based on the Arthur Herzog book of the same name, is being developed as a limited series for HBO. The novel takes place in a world where a virus spreads across the population and causes stupidity in its victims.

Back in 2014, Kaufman was set to write the movie for Paramount Pictures, with Steve Carell in talks to star. The screenwriter moved on to projects including “Anomalisa” and “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” released on Netflix last year.

In an earlier interview earlier with Collider, Kaufman said the limited series was based on the original script he wrote for “IQ83.” The director added, “I’m actually developing it for [HBO], so it’s possible that it’s going to happen, [but] I don’t know that it’s going to happen. But I’m very interested in it because of the circumstances in which we live. I’m very interested in exploring the notion of that, and treating it as kind of a metaphor.”

James Gunn, meanwhile, is in pre-production on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”

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