Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 mastermind James Gunn may be an intergalactic space god in the world of PG-13 summer blockbuster thrills in 2017, but there was once a time where his original take on the cartoon Scooby-Doo couldn’t escape an R-rating. (At least, that’s the way Gunn tells it.)
The Troma alum turned Disney cash cow dairy king shared some tales about 2002’s live-action Scooby-Doo motion picture on Facebook Wednesday. Included in the lot was confirmation that his vision for the stoner-friendly kids TV staple (yes, Gunn wrote the screenplay) wasn’t family-friendly. Still, it’s something he looks back fondly on and why shouldn’t he?
I had loved the character of Scooby-Doo since I was a kid and was excited at the prospect of making a live action film with 2002’s cutting CGI technology(!!). Yes, it was not exactly what we planned going out – I had written an edgier film geared toward older kids and adults, and the studio ended pushing it into an clean cut children’s film. And, yes, the rumors are true – the first cut was rated R by the MPAA, and the female stars’ cleavage was CGI’d away so as not to offend. But, you know, such is life. I had a lot of fun making this movie, regardless of all that. And I was also able to eat, buy a car, and a house because of it.
If something’s going to nudge you into writing an update of a Romero horror classic, why not go the Scooby-Doo route? Gunn shared that he had been offered “every movie you can imagine” before deciding on 2004’s Dawn of the Dead. Included in those offers were things like a Jetsons movie and a Captain Caveman adventure. He admits that the less-than-warm reviews were hard on him.
“So what do I remember from 15 years ago? I remember being bummed out that the reviews were pretty terrible. These days I might glance at the occasional review (admittedly, mostly only good ones), but back then I read EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I also read everything written about the movie online, by, like, anybody, including bulletin board folks. It was a kind of film-self-involvement I’ve learned to avoid since, but needless to say it was not an exceptionally good day.”
This is why James Gunn is someone that is very good to follow on social media. Fun pictures, charming insight and the occasional reminder that an R-rated Scooby-Doo could have existed. Maybe he can do a crossover with his too violent Hitman film at some point. Just an idea.