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James Gunn’s ‘Scooby-Doo’ Was Originally an R-Rated Movie

Scooby-Doo
Warner Bros.

I was a fan of James Gunn from back in his Troma days and then his first indie superhero screenplay, The Specials. And I can remember being quite confused that after working on Tromeo & Juliet he would then move on to … a live-action Scooby-Doo. It just seemed like a very odd fit.

The combination suddenly makes much more sense after reading Gunn’s comments about the movie on EW.com. It turns out Gunn, who “loved the character” and was a fan of the Scoobster since he was a kid, was initially hired to write a very different movie than the one that opened in theaters in 2002:

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.

It sounds like Gunn’s version was a darker and more adult comedy in the style of The Brady Bunch Movie, a knowing meta-movie that pokes fun at a beloved old cheesy ’70s icon. And, of course, you would hire Gunn to write that Scooby-Doo movie. He had the right subversive edge to both celebrate the goofy characters and spice them up a little bit as well.

If you haven’t seen Gunn’s Scooby-Doo (which was directed by Raja Gosnell and was successful enough to spawn a sequel, which Gunn also wrote), here’s the trailer:

It’s too bad Gunn didn’t get the chance to make his Scooby-Doo movie today; I have a feeling he’d have the clout to make exactly the film he wanted, one that would be a whole lot more entertaining than the one that made it to theaters.

Scooby-Doo Is Dumb

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