If the word last summer that Apple had acquired the rights to turn Terry Gilliam’s 1981 comedic fantasy Time Bandits into a TV series set off any “some films DO NOT need a remake” alarms, there is some positive news out Thursday that may go a long way to ease such fears. According to Deadline, What We Do in the Shadows director Taika Waititi will be directing and co-writing the pilot episode, as well as serving as executive producer of the series with Terry Gilliam and People of the Earth‘s Dan Halsted.
Waititi – whose 2014 vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows introduced American audiences to the New Zealand actor, comedian and filmmaker – directed Thor: Ragnarok in 2017, and late last year Lucasfilm announced that he would be one of the directors of their new streaming series The Mandalorian. Waititi’s name was one of a handful that were mentioned as possible replacements as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 when James Gunn was fired by Disney, although he would make it clear that he was not after the job. The fact that he was being seriously suggested by fans of being capable of carrying on the mix of comedy, drama and action that are the hallmarks of the Guardians films should help ease fans minds when it comes to his involvement with adapting Time Bandits to television.
Time Bandits was the first of what Gilliam would dub his “Trilogy of Imagination”, which would include Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and while Brazil would become a cult hit, it was Time Bandits that was both a critical and box-office success. Co-written with Monty Python collegue Micheal Palin, Time Bandits tells the story of 11-year old Kevin, whose neglectful parents don’t seem to notice when a knight on horseback bursts out of Kevin’s wardrobe, followed shortly by six dwarves with a map showing where space-time has holes that can be traveled through. Kevin finds himself swept along, only discovering too late that they are pursued by not only the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson) who created the map, but also the personification of evil itself, David Warner’s… well, Evil. With a star-studded cast including John Cleese as Robin Hood, Sean Connery as Agamemnon, Kenny Baker, David Rappaport, Ian Holm, Shelly Duvall, Jim Broadbent and more, Time Bandits blended comedy, adventure and just a bit of horror into something special.
Apple’s new original programming push has netted quite a lot of talent of late, with Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Bill Murray (Lost in Translation, Ghostbusters) and F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus, Homeland) all involved with upcoming projects. Apple’s new streaming service -which includes programming from CBS, Starz, Viacom and more – is expected to launch this spring. Even if Apple passes on Time Bandits as a series, fans can look forward to the American TV version of What We Do in the Shadows debuting at the end of March on FX. Produced by Waititi and Jemaine Clement, the series moves the location to New York and has new characters, but maintains the central conceit of vampire roommates who aren’t quite the suave, terrifying creatures of the night that they think they are. Waititi’s new feature film, JoJo Rabbit, is out this fall.