“12 Monkeys” was a seminal time travel/ am I really sane science fiction movie from 1995 starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis.
Now SyFy is making “12 Monkeys” into a tv show.
SyFy has already adopted this strategy of turning older movies into tv shows with Dominion, and are giving it a go with a better known title.
The show’s premiere date is January 16.
The synopsis reads, ” Inspired by the classic blockbuster film, 12 Monkeys explores the provocative story of a time traveler from a decimated future in a high-stakes race against the clock.
Utilizing a dangerous and untested method of time travel, he journeys from 2043 to the present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will all but annihilate the human race.
The series is produced by Universal Cable Productions in association with Atlas Entertainment, producer of the original theatrical film.
12 Monkeys stars Aaron Stanford (as time-traveler Cole), Amanda Schull (Dr.
Cassandra Railly), Kirk Acevedo (Ramse), Barbara Sukowa (Jones) and Noah Bean (Aaron Marker).
Additional key recurring roles include Tom Noonan (Damages, Hell on Wheels) as a mysterious villain and Emily Hampshire (Rookie Blue) as mental patient Jennifer Goines.” While both center around a time-traveler from a post-apocalyptic world frantically searching for the source of the plague that will eventually wipe out the human race, the series “is a complete reimagining” of the movie, co-executive producer Terry Matalas said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
“We didn’t want to just redo what the movie does.
Everything from the top down changed.” “It’s a complete re-imagining,” said co-executive producer Terry Matalas.
“We’re all big fans of the original film and we didn’t want to just re-do what the movie does.
Everything from the top-down changed.
While the story has a lot of the same themes, it wouldn’t make sense to tell the same story again.” Including the gender of the mentally-unstable character played by Pitt in the film, who is now a woman.
“We were going back and forth on how could anybody possibly do that role again, it’s so memorable,” Matalas told Quartz.
“And one night, we were sitting there and we were like, what if we gave that opportunity to a woman and really saw what they could do with it.” Pitts performance won him a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.
Bringing “12 Monkeys” to the small screen wasn’t supposed to take two whole decades.
“The idea was something that came up pretty soon after the movie was made,” said executive producer Richard Suckle, who was a production executive on the original film, but there were difficulties securing the rights from Chris Marker, who had created the 1962 French science-fiction short film “La jetée,” upon which “12 Monkeys” was based.
Years later, Matalas and co-executive producer Travis Fickett had written a “12 Monkeys”-like time traveler thriller script called “Splinter,” and the decision was made to turn that into a full-on “12 Monkeys” adaptation.
The name itself seems to resonate with people,” Aaron Stanford, who is playing the Bruce Willis role, told Quartz.
“Anyone who I’ve spoken to about 12 Monkeys, it clicks with them.
It is a pre-existing brand.
People recognize it, and they recognize it as something of quality.
So it’s now our responsibility to uphold that brand and continue on and make this a quality program.” While networks will be tempted to turn even more films into shows, “12 Monkeys” producers caution that the key to potential success is not the title, but the idea and its execution.
“What it usually is for me is the concept.
Fargo is a unique setting and a unique world; the same thing here with 12 Monkeys,” Matalas told Quartz.
“I wouldn’t say that I want to see everything turned into a television series, but there are specific ones that work great.” Added Fickett, “I think it’s more about capturing a state of mind, not necessarily repeating the same stories and ripping off those characters.
You’re capturing that essence and distilling it into a longer form of entertainment.
It’s worthwhile.” According to spinoff.comicbookresources , ” Our initial instinct was, ‘Don’t do it,'” said Matalas, whose original pilot script wasn’t meant intended as a 12 Monkeys adaptation.
In exploring the “thriller, whodunit conspiracy” aspect of David and Jenna Peoples’ screenplay, however, he and Fickett saw the possibility of a “serialized, gritty time travel show.” To accomplish that, they had to veer away from Gilliam’s original, and make key changes to the mythology and characters in order to give the writers new avenues to explore.
For example, Matalas said they’ll spend a lot more time in the future that Cole calls home.
“In the movie, he’s sort of plucked out of this prison and you’re not really sure why he’s there.
While we have a similar setup here, his backstory and his arc is pivotal to the redemption story that we’re trying to tell.” The television series is described as following the journey of a time traveler (Aaron Stanford) from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will eventually decimate the human race.
That description sounds a lot like the series Syfy bought, but the producers explained that they do play with several of the film’s tenets.
“So many hours of time travel arguments, you guys won’t believe,” showrunner Natalie Chaidez joked.
“By the time it gets to you, hopefully we’ve vetted every little bit,” Matalas added.
“12 Monkeys” is set to debut in January 16, 2015 on Syfy.
Check back for more inforamtion as it becomes available.