After talking with the cast and crew behind Syfy’s newest show 12 Monkeys, I need to warn all of you right now – don’t hold your breath for Terry Gilliam’s film to be coming to the small screen. But if you can set aside those expectations, I’m cautiously optimistic for a re-imagining that opens up the world that Gilliam created and plays more with the concepts of time travel and how it affects those around us – because, yes, they’re throwing the movie rule that the future cannot be changed right out the window.

We sat down with the cast and crew of 12 Monkeys at New York Comic Con to hear what they had to say about the upcoming series. You can watch each of the videos below or read the highlights pulled out from each interview.

I think the first thing I told everyone when I heard about this series was hell yes, do you remember Brad Pitt’s character? He was at the height of his 90s slightly-effeminate grunge acting thing he had going on… and then news went out that they were genderswapping Pitt’s character to become Jennifer Goines and I had my doubts. But after meeting Emily Hampshire and listening to the thought and effort she’s put into the character, I’m more excited than ever.

It’s smart to give as “clean” of a slate as possible to such an iconic character, while still holding onto the core values that made that character tick – even Hampshire’s approach is going to highlight the clear differences between the show and film. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

  • Time constraints forced her to read the script and work on the character before seeing the movie, so she was able to approach it from the television show first. She says she might have been intimidated and felt her own creativity stifled if she’d seen the movie first.
  • Rather than take Pitt’s physically explosive behavioral ticks, Hampshire focused on the psychological ticks of the character – which means, sadly, we won’t see all those spastic gestures of Pitt’s mimicked on the small screen.
  • While she’s not allowed to reveal if Goines does any of her own time jumping, she heavily alludes to it and says that the character really can go anywhere – hopefully to the future at some point.
  • She’s happy with the chance to play a character that can, theoretically, live an entire life on screen and discusses her own character very well. She also shouts out to Orphan Black and how interesting roles like that, which allow an actor to stretch themselves, are amazing opportunities.
  • When she met with wardrobe, out of character and being herself, they all seemed to agree that, “That’s the best casting ever!” Really, watch the video because I have to say I agree with wardrobe and her friends after meeting her.

Natalie Chaidez is the executive producer and showrunner for 12 Monkeys who previously worked on the first season of Heroes and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, amongst multiple other television shows.

  • Originally, the pitch wasn’t meant to be a 12 Monkeys adaptation, but the pilot eventually turned into this. As a series, they have worked to open the world and visit places in the film, like the prison, more in-depth.
  • Throughout the writing process, she says she refereed many time travel fights between Terry and Travis. In order to keep continuity, they have an enormous written timeline on the wall that everyone is continually checking for details.
  • As mentioned, they all want to move on and expand from the movie – and one way of doing that is by breaking one of the cardinal rules in the movie: change the past, the future changes as well.
  • She has a lot of faith in the series, proclaiming that it will be, “The best time travel series in the history of television!” and that they have a “cool time machine.”
  • And for those interested in the “golden age of television,” she also speaks briefly on that, having the expertise of having run many television shows over the years.

Apologies for the audio on this one, a little after five minutes in it gets much louder and it’s easier to hear what co-executive producers Travis Fickett and Terry Matalas have to say about 12 Monkeys.

  • It’s very different from the movie; it’s not Gilliam’s dissertation on insanity. They understand that they can’t do the movie again – it’s a finite source. They’ve, hopefully, opened up the story and the world beyond the film.
  • The show has a non-linear timeline, but they assure that binge watchers will especially love the show with pacing that sets up events with almost immediate pay-offs.
  • In the pilot, we don’t see Jennifer Goines, the Brad Pitt equivalent character, except for the very end – she comes in episode two. There is more time in the future in the second episode. The pilot is the freight teaser into the world, meant to bring audiences on board.
  • They hint strongly that the plague/virus is not the worst thing to happen to humanity – something else was. The plague is just the beginning of the conspiracy for the show.
  • Finding the actor to play Cole was difficult. When Aaron Stanford did his screen test, they knew within ten seconds that they had found the actor who could fill the role.

12 Monkeys premieres January 16, 2015 on Syfy.

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