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Apple brings in Taika Waititi to write and direct Time Bandits series

Taika Waititi has become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after filmmakers with a string of recent hits and high-profile upcoming projects, and now he’s adding another one to the list: A television adaptation of 1981 fantasy film Time Bandits.

Waititi will reportedly write and direct the series for Apple, adapting Terry Gilliam’s movie about a young boy who gets caught up in a time- and space-traveling adventure with a group of mischievous dwarves. According to The Wrap, Waititi will serve as an executive producer on the show along with Gilliam and Dan Halsted.

The original Time Bandits movie was co-written by Gilliam with fellow Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin and was a surprise hit when it premiered, finishing its run as one of the highest-grossing movies of 1981 — a year that also featured the debuts of Clash of the Titans and Excalibur. Along with featuring several members of the Monty Python team (including John Cleese) in supporting roles, the film’s cast also included Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, and Ian Holm.

Waititi has become a rising star in Hollywood thanks to recent projects Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel Studios and his 2014 mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows — the latter of which is also being developed as a TV series. Waititi is also attached to direct at least one episode of the upcoming live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian for Disney’s streaming video platform.

Time Bandits is the second of Gilliam’s films to find its way to the small screen, with 1995’s 12 Monkeys also serving as the inspiration for a television series. That show lasted four seasons on the Syfy network.

In the years since the film’s release, there have been several attempts to produce sequels to Time Bandits, none of which have actually made it to the screen. Gilliam and frequent collaborator Charles McKeown penned a female-led sequel in the mid-1990s that never made it past the script phase, while a sequel in TV miniseries form was also developed, only to stall out before production could begin.

Time Bandits is the first installment of a loosely arranged trilogy of films directed by Gilliam, with each movie exploring the theme of escape from life’s daily routine through adventures of the imagination. Gilliam tackled this subject with a child protagonist in Time Bandits, then moved on to an adult in 1985’s Brazil, and then explored the theme from the perspective of an older subject in 1988’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

There’s no official word at this point where Waititi’s Time Bandits series will be available or when it will begin production.

Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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