James Gunn Reveals Universal Rejected His ‘Creature From The Black Lagoon’ Remake After The Success Of ‘Dawn Of The Dead’

Many know James Gunn thanks to directing credits on projects like Guardians of The Galaxy and his upcoming DC Comics film The Suicide Squad, but made waves because of his writing work on the hit Zack Snyder-directed zombie flick Dawn of The Dead, a remake of the classic George A. Romero movie.

During a fan Q&A on Instagram, James Gunn (taking a break from the filming of Peacemaker) revealed that in the wake of Dawn of The Dead’s success in 2004 he tried to get a Creature From The Black Lagoon remake (based on the 1954 film) that was ultimately turned down by Universal Pictures.

“I tried to do Creature From The Black Lagoon right after Dawn of The Dead, but they didn’t want me to do it,” James Gunn said when responding to a fan question on Instagram.

Remake plans at Universal go back to the early 1980s with various directors getting in the mix such as John Landis (An American Werewolf In London), John Carpenter (The Thing, Memoirs of An Invisible Man), Peter Jackson (The Frighteners, King Kong), Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters), and Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak, Blade II).

More recently, the studio had directors Breck Eisner (The Crazies, The Last Witch Hunter, The Expanse) and Carl Rinsch (47 Ronin) attached at various stages. Back in 2015, there were rumors from The Tracking Board that actress Scarlett Johansson was wanted for a lead role with a script from Jeff Blitz, Gary Ross, Tedi Sarafian and Paul Schering.

After plans for their Dark Universe collapsed, there was chatter that the Universal was considering to continue with a Black Lagoon remake, but concrete updates haven’t been announced.

CREATURE FORM THE BLACK LAGOON – Remnants of a mysterious animal have come to light in a remote jungle, and a group of scientists intends to determine if the find is an anomaly or evidence of an undiscovered beast. To accomplish their goal, the scientists (Antonio Moreno, Richard Carlson, Richard Denning, Whit Bissell) must brave the most perilous pieces of land South America has to offer. But the terrain is nothing compared to the danger posed by an otherworldly being that endangers their work and their lives.

While Universal was twiddling their thumbs with those remake plans, Guillermo del Toro made his own creature feature for Searchlight Pictures, The Shape of Water, that ended up becoming a commercial success and landed Oscar statues for Best Picture and Best Director.

James Gunn would go on to direct Slither and Super before getting hired by Marvel Studios to help launch their successful Guardians of The Galaxy franchise. He recently completed work on The Suicide Squad that has an August 6 release date and will begin shooting Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.3 before the end of 2021.


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