Rebooting beloved 1960s TV programs – in an effort to reap a sizable profit and/or launch a modern franchise – is old hat in Hollywood (see: Bewitched, Get Smart and, more recently, Dark Shadows), but despite the uneven box office results for past attempts, there are still some big ’60s small screen properties that remain likely to be re-plundered for new financial gain in the future (I Dream of Jeannie, among them).
Gilligan’s Island – the comedy show about an eclectic collection of people who end up being shipwrecked on a tropical island together – is one such program, though there have been rumors of a contemporary movie reboot being in development for the past few years. Warner Bros. is apparently getting serious about the project now, as the studio has recruited a team of producers, writers and even a star for a modern treatment of the old-school American sitcom (which turns 50 in 2014).
Deadline says that a Gilligan’s Island film reboot is moving ahead at WB, with a crack team of executive producers that includes Lloyd J. Schwartz and Ross Schwartz – the sons of Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch TV show creator Sherwood Schwartz – and Cathy Silvers, who starred on Happy Days in the 1980s and is the daughter of late TV star Phil Silvers, whose hit program The Phil Silvers Show aired from 1955-59. So yeah – by ‘crack team,’ we mean people with personal connections and/or longtime ties in the television industry.
Currently lined up as a cast member is Josh Gad, whose film credits include the strictly-for-adult dramedies Love and Other Drugs and Thanks for Sharing, in addition to the Steve Jobs biopic Jobs, a voice role as the snowman Olaf in Disney’s Frozen animated musical and a role on the hit Broadway show The Book of Mormon. Which character he is playing in the Gilligan’s Island movie, however, remains to be seen.
In addition to playing a lead role, Gad will also co-write the Gilligan’s Island movie along with Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit – his writing collaborators on the short-lived 2012 TV sitcom 1600 Penn, where Gad played the hopeless couch potato son in a dysfunctional family headed by U.S. president Bill Pullman (and no, sadly, the show was not an Independence Day crossover).
Gad – who is also co-writing the Twins sequel Triplets for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito – has carved out a niche for himself playing aloof and klutzy, yet likable and earnest comic relief sidekicks on film, TV and even Broadway, which arguably makes him a decent choice to play Gilligan in the movie. Obviously, he bears little physical resemblance to the actor who originated the role – the late Bob Denver – so there’s also a chance that Gad will end up playing someone like the constantly-irritated Skipper instead.
On that note: the original Gilligan’s Island TV series (which ran for three season from 1964-67) played on class stereotypes, so one imagines a contemporary reboot will continue with that trend, while also expanding to include comedy targets like race and other social constructs; a run of the mill farce for the 21st century, in other words.
Admittedly, The Brady Bunch movies in the 1990s were a bit more clever than that – transporting the ’70s version of the characters into a then-modern setting – so we’ll have to wait and see what happens in this case.
Hey, at least there isn’t a Mr. Ed reboot in development, right? Oh, wait…
More on the Gilligan’s Island movie as the story unfolds.