EXCLUSIVE: In its latest series play, Apple is closing a deal for the rights to turn the beloved Terry Gilliam-directed fantasy film Time Bandits into a TV series. I’m told the series will be developed as a co-production between Anonymous Content, Paramount Television and Media Rights Capital. Gilliam will be a non-writing executive producer alongside Anonymous Content and MRC.
Released in 1980, Time Bandits is a dark, irreverent adventure about imagination, bravery and the nature of our dreams. It follows the time-traveling adventures of an 11-year-old history buff named Kevin who, one night, stumbles on six dwarfs who emerge from his closet. They are former workers of the Supreme Being who have stolen a map that charts all the holes in the space-time fabric, using it to hop from one historical era to the next in order to steal riches. Throughout the movie, they meet various historical and fictional characters, including Napoleon Bonaparte and Robin Hood, while the Supreme Being simultaneously tries to catch up to them and retrieve the map.
Time Bandits was made by Handmade Films, the film shingle that former Beatles guitarist George Harrison hatched with Denis O’Brien that began with Life of Brian, the 1979 comedy made by Gilliam and his Monty Python cohorts. While the company generated films like Mona Lisa and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, mounting debt that was guaranteed by the former Beatle led Harrison to exclaim My Sweet Lord, and he ended up suing O’Brien after the company dissolved. But Time Bandits, a quirky cult favorite, might never have gotten made without Handmade, so a TV series is a fitting nod to a bold little company’s legacy.