Ginger Votes Herself Off Gilligan’s Island Survivor Movie
How many ways to milk Survivor? For CBS, the answer is: We can always find another way.
And so a casting call has gone out for — are you ready? — Surviving Gilligan's Island: The Incredibly True Story of the Longest Three-Hour Tour in History.
The idea behind this thing? Well, we're going to see how the actors who played the parts of Gilligan, the Skipper, Ginger, Mary Ann, the Professor, and the Howells all got along with each other and with producer Sherwood Schwartz as they filmed this very bad TV show from the '60s.
When I told Tina Louise, who played movie star Ginger Grant, about this plan, she said: "I’ve never heard of this. Is Sherwood Schwartz involved in this? They'll just make up stories about me like they have in the past. Bob Denver is always saying things about me that aren't true."
And yet, according to the production office, a young actress will be hired to play Tina Louise. "It's kind of a docudrama," said scriptwriter Duane Poole. "Bob Denver, Dawn Wells and Russell Johnson" — that's Gilligan, Mary Ann and the Professor — "will guide you through the show. But younger actors will be playing all of them."
Denver played Gilligan, of course, although he was used to better effects as Maynard G. Krebs in the better Dobie Gillis series in the early '60s. More recently, Denver was cited for receiving marijuana at his West Virginia home. The package containing the marijuana was linked to Dawn Wells (Mary Ann).
As it turns out, Wells and her manager Larry Germain are listed as co-executive producers on Surviving Gilligan's Island. The show is being made by Landmark Entertainment, which is owned by former HBO movie chief and Dreamworks exec Bob Cooper. Last year Cooper was pushed out of Dreamworks right after finding American Beauty for them. But that's another story.
(Personally, I think they should have remade American Beauty with the Gilligan cast as a TV Land special: Gilligan as Lester, Mary Ann as his real estate broker wife, Mr. Howell as the Real Estate King, the Skipper as Lester's boss, the Professor as the closeted gay dad next door, Tina Louise in the Mena Suvari role, with Tony Dow (Wally from Leave It to Beaver) as the kid with the camera next door, and pigtailed Margaret (from Dennis the Menace) as Lester's daughter.
Gilligan's Island, by the way, was not on the air very long, just from 1964-1967. It just seems long because of the incessant reruns. Tina Louise told me, "I thought it was going to be a six-month job at most."
And did the cast ever discuss how odd it was that their characters left for a three-hour trip with enough cash, clothes, food, and supplies for years? "Never, not once," she said.
Even without Gilligan, Tina was happy to report she's just wrapped an indie film here in New York where she's lived for years and is part of the social scene — "very gritty," she said of the movie — and is currently starring in a Diners Club commercial.
As a footnote, I should point out that I ran into Tina Louise at a book party for A.J. Benza's gossip memoir, Fame Ain't it a Bitch: Confessions of a Reformed Gossip Columnist, published by Talk/Miramax books. Fame is sort of part Damon Runyon, part Jackie Aprile Jr. fairytale of life among very thin models and very stupid B movie stars in New York in the early '90s. A perfect summer read.
Is their trouble in Woody Allen's world? A little bit, it seems, yes. Apparently my favorite moviemaker recently parted company with famous, legendary, you-name-it important cinematographer Haskell Wexler, who was supposed to shoot his spring project here in New York. Wexler's been replaced by Wedigo von Schultzendorff who is best known in America for his work on last year's The 13th Floor.
Snapped one cast member: "Who fires Haskell Wexler? And what is a --- what's his name?"
Unfair to Wedigo? Maybe. But Wexler is just about the biggest deal in American cinematography. His credits include Coming Home, Bound for Glory, Medium Cool, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and the current HBO hit, 61*.
Allen's spokesperson said Wexler was absolutely not fired. "The parting was amicable. Haskell told him at the beginning he might get another project, and he did. Woody let him go with his blessings."
But that doesn't seem to be the case. A source said: "Haskell worked the first week and couldn't stand it. Woody refused to communicate with him. Haskell even said his work was great on this film. But it was a mess. Frankly, he was relieved to get out of there."
Allen — who already has a film in the can called The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, which Dreamworks will release in the fall — will lampoon himself to some extent in this new film. He plays a washed-up director who tries to make a comeback when his actress/wife (Tea Leoni) has an affair with the head of a studio (sun-tanned Hollywood icon George Hamilton). Debra Messing and Treat Williams co-star.
In the movie, the Allen character is notable for insisting on using a Chinese cinematographer and his crew — which is exactly what Allen himself did when he jettisoned longtime pal Carlo Di Palma for Zhao Fei, the Chinese cinematographer of Raise the Red Lantern, for his last trio of films — Sweet and Lowdown, Small Time Crooks and Jade Scorpion. Why didn't Woody return to Fei or Di Palma? "He'd seen Wedigo's work and liked it," replied the rep. And that's it.
Jagger's in Vogue But With Different Shooter
So many Italian photographers! Too little time to check their names! Seems it's Mario Testino, not Marco Glaviano, who photographed 17-year-old Elizabeth Jagger for the cover of Vogue. Elizabeth, of course, is the daughter of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger and ex-sometime wife Jerry Hall. What I don't know is if Stella McCartney designed the clothes. Now that, as Paul might sing, would be something, really would be something.
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