It’s primate-time viewing as Gilliam’s sci-fi classic remade
Jan. 16 | Showcase
Brace yourself for 12 Monkeys part 2.
The original 12 Monkeys, auteur filmmaker Terry Gilliam’s neo-classic 1995 sci-fi thriller starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Christopher Plummer and Brad Pitt, played with the idea of memory, time and technology, with a harrowing tale of a time traveller from the future who travels back to present day to stop a deadly virus before it breaks out.
The virus has spread in the future, with deadly effect.
In the age of SARS, Ebola and H5N1 bird flu, it’s not hard to imagine that a deadly pathogen with the potential to destroy humankind could exist.
That’s why, nearly 20 years after Pitt was first nominated for an Oscar for his performance as animal-rights activist Jeffrey Goines, founder of an extremist sect called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, writerproducers Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, have created an updated version for TV.
Now is the right time, Matalas and Fickett believe, to revive a story that only seems to be more relevant. In Matalas and Fickett’s version, the virus has wiped out 94 per cent of the world’s population in the future. Stopping it in the here and now is critical to humankind’s survival.
12 Monkeys debuts Jan. 16 on the U.S. Syfy channel, and in Canada on Showcase.
The revisionist version features Aaron Stanford, Pyro in the X-Men: The Last Stand, as James Cole, the luckless chrononaut tasked with saving humankind. Montreal native Emily Hampshire is the renamed — and re-gendered — Jennifer Goines, reimagined as a math genius with psychological problems whom Cole first meets in a psychiatric facility. Veteran character actor Tom Noonan plays the presumed villain of the piece, the public face of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys.
“It’s a complete reimagining,” Matalas said earlier this year in Los Angeles. “We were big fans of the original film and had a deep love and respect for it, so we didn’t want to just re-do what the movie does.
“We changed the rules in the movie, for one. In the movie, you can’t actually change time, and here you can. Everything changed, from the top down, from Cole’s character to some new characters.
“The story, while it has a lot of the same themes, is quite different.”