Terry Gilliam still hasn’t signed contract to remake Time Bandits with Apple

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Time Bandits
The time-traveling dwarves of Time Bandits.
Photo: Handmade Films

Terry Gilliam’s 1981 movie Time Bandits is set to get the TV series treatment by Apple, but in a recent interview, Gilliam revealed he’s still not sure how involved he will be in the project.

Despite already getting an executive producer credit for the series, Gilliam says he still hasn’t signed his contract for the show. Even though he claims he’s delighted that Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is taking the lead on the pilot episode, Gilliam is concerned about the overall tone of the show.

Written and directed by Terry Gilliam, Time Bandits the movie followed a young boy who accidentally joins a band of time-traveling dwarves that jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal. They travel to the Napoleonic times, Middle Ages, the early 1900s, the time of Legends and the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness where they confront Evil.

Gilliam comes to Apple (sort of)

Gilliam told Business Insider that there have been offers in the past to turn Time Bandits into a three-part franchise. One of the stipulations though was that the major studio didn’t want dwarfs in it, so Gilliam said no. Apple’s TV show will have dwarves, but Gilliam still sounds uneasy about the project.

“It’s trying to figure out how much control I have. It’s as simple as that,” explained Gilliam. “Taika [Waititi], I think he’s very good. I’m not moaning about that, I think he’s excellent. But I just want to get the tone of the thing right and that’s the trickier bit. To get the right comic tone and yet still the innocent magical quality of the thing. All that needs to be there. And it will be interesting to find out if we can get enough little people out there. I have mixed feelings about it.”

Gilliam said he found out about Taika’s hiring through the web. No one told him. The legendary director says he doesn’t want to hustle for financing anymore though so the fact that Apple wants to make the show and it has the money to do so is nice.

“I haven’t signed my contract yet. But I seem to be important to them. Once I get the contract signed I will engage more,” said Gilliam.

It’s unclear when Time Bandits will go into production. It certainly won’t be ready in time for the launch of Apple TV+ but Apple has no shortage of shows lined up for the future, so this is a project that can take a little bit of time to develop.