Back in July, the SyFy Channel announced that they were planning to adapt Terry Gilliam’s 1995 science fiction classic 12 Monkeys for the small screen. Based on the short film La jetée from French filmmaker Chris Marker, 12 Monkeys followed James Cole, a man from the future who was sent to the past to stop a worldwide apocalypse started by the Army of the 12 Monkeys. Terry Gilliam’s movie is the height of science fiction in the 90s, so it will be interesting to see how it’s translated for television.
According to THR, actors Aaron Stanford and Amanda Schull have been cast to play the leading roles in SyFy’s 12 Monkeys. Stanford and Schull will play James Cole, the lost time traveler, and Dr. Cassandra Railly, the psychiatrist from the past who is unsure if Cole is from the future or if he’s just crazy (he’s probably a little bit of both). In the feature film version, Bruce Willis and Madeleine Stowe played Cole and Dr. Kathryn Railly, respectively.
The TV adaptation also found a new showrunner in Natalie Chaidez, who has an extensive background in science fiction television. Natalie Chaidez was a writer and producers on cult TV shows such as Heroes, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and the V remake. She also worked on the TV series Judging Amy, U.K. Skins, and In Plain Sight. Jeffrey Reiner will direct the pilot episode and will serve as the series executive producer. Reiner directed episodes of Friday Night Lights and the short-lived shows The Event and Awake for NBC.
Aaron Stanford is most recognizable as the evil mutant Pyro from X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand. He made his debut in the feature film Tadpole playing the role of Oscar Grubman in 2002. Stanford can be recently seen in The CW’s Nikita as Birkhoff. Amanda Schull is best known for her leading role in the ballet film Center Stage in the year 2000. She had a recurring role on One Tree Hill, Pretty Little Liars, and Hawaii Five-0. Schull also appeared in an episode of Nikita in 2013.
The feature film’s producers Charles Roven and Richard Suckle will executive produce the TV series, while Terra Nova writers Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett wrote the hour-long pilot episode’s screenplay. Production on the 12 Monkeys TV series will start this November.
Director Terry Gilliam has nothing to do with the TV version of 12 Monkeys, so it’s unclear if it would hold up to the feature film. Gilliam has been very vocal about the TV adaptation and feels that “it’s a very dumb idea.” Of course, Gilliam’s film is brilliant! It was nominated for two Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Brad Pitt and for Best Costume Design for Julie Weiss. 12 Monkeys lost in both categories, but the film did win the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film in 1995, against Waterworld, Congo, Judge Dredd, Outbreak, Species, and Strange Days.
SyFy has yet to announce when 12 Monkeys would premiere on its cable network, but it’s likely that it would air sometime during the fall TV season in 2014.