Charlie Kaufman Once Pitched A Gilligan's Island Reboot Filled With Murder And Cannibalism

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...

"Gilligan's Island" is a classic American sitcom that followed the adventures of seven castaways on a tiny island, stranded after their ship, The Minnow, runs aground. The series aired for three seasons on CBS from 1964 to 1967, receiving solid ratings. In syndication, "Gilligan's Island" became a part of American popular culture, cementing Bob Denver's hapless character Gilligan as an all-time great. 

The series was family-friendly, fluffy stuff that made folks laugh, but there was almost a very dark reboot. "The Suicide Squad" director James Gunn revealed via Twitter that Oscar-winning "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" screenwriter Charlie Kaufman had once pitched an idea for "Gilligan's Island," but with cannibals. 

The Skipper, The Movie Star, and the Cannibal?

As part of a Twitter meme going around where you pitch a movie in two images without any words, Gunn posted the cast of "Gilligan's Island" alongside an engraving of Brazilian cannibals by Theodor de Bry circa 1557. He followed this up with a few more tweets explaining that a cannibalistic "Gilligan's Island" has been kicked around Hollywood for a while:

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.

Apparently after filming "Guardians of the Galaxy," Gunn apparently wanted to resurrect the idea and direct a feature film based on it. According to Gunn, Warner Bros. and Kaufman were keen to give it a go, but the estate of the late Sherwood Schwartz, who created "Gilligan's Island," nixed it. If they ever change their minds, however, Gunn would still love to do it. 

A Nihilistic Take on America's Most Famous Castaways

Kaufman is best known for his surreal and emotionally devastating screenplays, from "Being John Malkovich" to "I'm Thinking of Ending Things." His specialty as a screenwriter is making the audience feel empathetic for his irreparably broken protagonists while also maintaining a semblance of mystery. Applying his technique for compelling storytelling to something this deeply horror-based would be a blast. Add in Gunn's assured and stylish direction, and you've got yourself the makings of one of the most grueling and visually fascinating movies ever made. 

There has to be some way to "spoof" the original series while staying true to Kaufman and Gunn's vision, sans the "Gilligan's Island" name. If not, we have to just hope that the Schwartz estate changes their minds sometime soon. I for one would love to see Gilligan, the Skipper, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor, and Mary Ann all go head-to-head with one another in a cannibalistic battle of survival. I can see the trailer already, with the wreckage of the ship floating onscreen, and the theme song playing in slowed time...

The Minnow would be lost...