Cast Away - questions (and spoilers)

Cast Away is on HBO right now, and a couple of questions I’ve always wanted to ask about the movie:

  1. The island is relatively small. I never thought it was realistic that Chuck Nolan would have enough wood on the island to have a consistent fire AND be able to create the raft at the time of his departure from the island. The raft required the wood, of course, and all of the rope, made from the bark of saplings. Would he not have burned through the wood long before 4 + years had passed?

  2. His interaction with Wilson seemed to occur a bit too early in the movie. I could understand that at some point he might create an imaginary friend to talk to, but he begins to talk to Wilson the first night he made the bonfire. Chuck Nolan talking to Wilson didn’t surprise me; it’s the fact that he talked to him after about a week or so on the island.

Are there any documented studies of people who have been completely deprived of human contact and how they cope with it?

List of Castaways

Alexander Selkirk is probably the most famous, being the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe.



I doubt he kept a bonfire burning 24/7. You can keep a very small smolder going, no bigger than the lit end of a cigarette, and use it to light a bigger fire when needed. He probably ended up just lighting the smallest fire necessary to cook his food.

Also, if the fire went out he had become very good at restarting it. I think the island was plenty big enough to keep him in wood and bark for quite a while.

All I see is that stupid arrow!


Wood grows, you know. I wouln’t be surprised if enough wood grew on the entire island, each day, to support a permanant bonfire.

The Master speaks

Plus, as the “four years later” scene shows, he gave up on fire after a while and learned how to eat raw meat.

I’ve been whooshed.

I don’t think he started talking to Wilson too early. Hell, I talk to the cat and the chickens all the time. It helps with thought processes and helps with getting companionship where some may be lacking. However, I don’t think Wilson started talking back to him until much later.