Forgotten Sam Peckinpah Project 'Castaway' Resurrected

Associated Press
Sam Peckinpah

Serbian producer Milos Antic has acquired rights to a screenplay adaptation of the James Gould Cozzens novella by the late director.

Serbian producer Milos Antic has acquired the film rights to late director Sam Peckinpah’s screenplay Castaway from the Peckinpah Estate, Antic has announced, and is planning to produce a feature based on the script alongside Los Angeles-based producers Katy Haber and Benni Korzen.  

Castaway, based on the 1934 novella of the same name by James Gould Cozzens, is a parable of about a man who survives an unnamed catastrophe by hiding in a department store.

In the late 1960s, Peckinpah, best known for films like The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs, bought the movie rights to the tale and reportedly wrote several drafts of a screen adaptation with his frequent collaborator James R. Silke.

According to Antic, who worked as an uncredited assistant director on Peckinpah’s 1977 feature Cross of Iron, he closed a deal in 1981 for Macedonia-based Vardar Film to executive produce a movie based on Castaway that Peckinpah would direct. But Peckinpah died in 1984 before the project could be realized. Earlier this year, Antic acquired the film rights to the property, resurrecting the project.

"Although Sam did not live to direct Castaway, we are looking forward to assembling the greatest creative team and talent possible to translate his unique energy and vision," Antic said in announcing the project. "Along with my producing partners, Benni Korzen and Katy Haber, we are especially pleased to be able to produce Sam’s next great film, not only to keep his legacy alive and introduce him to a new generation but to finally deliver the gift he promised his family."