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TCA: Syfy’s ’12 Monkeys’ Series Originated as non-’12 Monkeys’ Thriller

Beverly Hills, Calif.--Syfy’s 12 Monkeys series was not, originally, an adaptation of the 1995 Terry Gilliam film of the same name. Executive producer Richard Suckle has been sent a pilot for a time-travel thriller by writers Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, and approached them about converting it into a 12 Monkeys series adaptation—something he had been looking to make since shortly after the film’s release.

“It was a time travel thriller,” Matalas said of the original script Monday at the TCA summer press tour here, “but one of the things that was similar was the sort of manhunt aspect of it—the go back and kill Hitler, stop World War II theory.”

Suckle, Matalas and Fickett were joined onstage by executive producer Natalie Chaidez and cast members Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo and Noah Bean.

Other highlights from the panel included:

--Cast and creators were insistent that the series is not a “cover band” version of the Gilliam film. “I think it’s a complete reimagining,” Matalas said. “We were all very, very big fans of the original film and have deep love and respect for that material.” He added that, for instance, in the film, time cannot be changed. In the television series, it can.

--According to Suckle. “The deal for 12 Monkeys is very unique. It’s a one-off situation. There can only be one remake.”

--Acevedo’s attraction to the script came from his fandom for the film. “I’ve seen it 13, 14, 15 times,” he said.