Tom Hanks originally had a really terrible title in mind for Cast Away

Tom Hanks is definitely one of the best actors of all time. But he very nearly gave one of his best movies a completely awful title. We're so glad it changed.

Tom Hanks originally had a terrible title for Cast Away

We don’t often doubt Tom Hanks. The reason we love Tom Hanks films so much is that we feel safe in knowing that, if one of the best actors alive thought it was worth making, it’s bound to be among the best movies of any given year. But it seems like he doesn’t have the same gift when it comes to movie titles.

 

During the early development of one of the best drama movies Hanks has ever made, it had a truly awful moniker. The movie that would go on to be called Cast Away was originally known as ‘Chuck of the Jungle’.

Sorry Tom, you’re gonna have to walk us through that one. Hanks told the Austin American-Statesman that the original idea for the movie wasn’t quite coming together, and it wouldn’t do so until director Robert Zemeckis came on board.

“Originally I thought of it as being called ‘Chuck of the Jungle’. The idea was you took a guy whose whole life was talking and communicating and you took it all away from him. What would that do to him?” said Hanks.

Good idea, terrible name. Like, really terrible. There’s a reason that the similarly named George of the Jungle a few years later didn’t intend to be a serious drama.

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Hanks brought in William Broyles Jr. to develop the script while the star was hard at work on Apollo 13. It took the duo years to get the film to a point where it was “only two-thirds of what we wanted”. Zemeckis, it turned out, was the missing piece.

We’re glad that everything came together eventually. But more than anything, we’re glad that someone somewhere could see that ‘Chuck of the Jungle’ was a rubbish title. We can’t see that movie getting nominated for Oscars, even with Hanks at the center of it.

For more on the making of this classic, find out why Tom Hanks hated preparing for Cast Away. We’ve also delved into the best Tom Hanks movies and explained why Tom Hanks loves that his most underrated movie has become a cult classic.