Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks, opened nationwide 15 years ago today. It was a simple premise: a FedEx employee survives for four years alone on a deserted island when his plane crashes. For much of the movie, Hanks is totally by himself, with only a volleyball to talk to. There are no bad guys, no chase scenes, no character transformation, and little dialogue. You might have heard that Hanks lost 50 pounds for the role. But there are some other fascinating stories behind the production.
2. THE SCREENWRITER STRANDED HIMSELF ON AN ISLAND, FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES.
William Broyles Jr. spent several days alone in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez trying to fend for himself. He speared and ate stingrays, learned how to open a coconut, befriended a washed-up Wilson-brand volleyball, and tried to make fire, which ended up in the movie. His experiences led to an epiphany regarding the Chuck character: “That's when I realized it wasn’t just a physical challenge,” Broyles told The Austin Chronicle. “It was going to be an emotional, spiritual one as well.”
9. THE MOVIE LED TO THE CREATION OF LOST.
Lloyd Braun, who was the chairman of ABC Entertainment in the early aughts, wanted a writer to come up with a pitch based on his favorite film from 2000, Cast Away. According to Chicago magazine, in 2003 Chicagoan Jeffrey Lieber was picked to write the pilot for Cast Away-the Series, which centered around eight to 10 characters stranded on a Pacific island. Lieber named the pilot Nowhere, but Braun passed on Lieber’s script and gave the project to J. J. Abrams, who added the supernatural element to the plot. However, Lieber, the WGA, and the studio went to arbitration in order for Lieber to receive partial credit for creating the show, and he eventually won 60 percent of the “created by” credit. In 2005, his pilot received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, and for the entire run of the show Lieber was listed in the credits.
Read the rest of the 13 facts about Cast Away at mental_floss.