Creator, producer and director of the 12 Monkeys TV series TERRY MATALAS talks time travel, season finale and spinoffs…
When you were first developing 12 Monkeys did you expect it to go four seasons?
Well, you hope! But when I set out, I really just wanted to make a serialised time travel show — a gritty, cable thing. I just started writing the first three acts of a spec script called Splinter — it’s essentially what we filmed for the 12 Monkeys pilot. I handed in the first half of the script to my writing partner at the time, Travis Fickett, and he jumped in, came up with the watch paradox and before we knew it we had a time travel spec script. The company that made the original film then got hold of it and the rest is history.
What made you decide to create a show loosely based on the 1995 movie starring Brad Pitt?
We actually based it on Splinter and then adapted that into a 12 Monkeys pilot. The truth is, it was one of my favourite movies — why wouldn’t you turn it into a series? The choice to make it different enough was something we all felt was important from the beginning. We didn’t want to crib Terry Gilliam’s genius style.
Which character do you have most trouble with developing?
Cole can be tough because he has to drive the story and react to it. He needs to be honest but sometimes honest doesn’t mean likable. Yet, he’s our hero.
Which actor/actress would you have loved to have on the show?
Brad Pitt. He and Emily doing the Goines family in some way would’ve been something else.
Looking back on the first three seasons, would you chang anything?
There are a few things I would have done differently at the start of Season One to ground the audience and connect with some of the characters better. Aside from that, I’m proud of what we accomplished.
Are there any rules for time travel and do you adhere to them?
We have a list of rules and you have to stick to them. If you’re going to break them, it better be earned because the audience will crucify you. We’ve been lucky though.
If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
Personally, as much as I’d love to go back and see dinosaurs, I’d just go back to the ’80s to hang with my mum, dad and baby brother and swim in the old pool in the backyard. Real time travel is usually about someone you love.
For those who haven’t seen 12 Monkeys but plan to binge watch it, how’s best to do so?
Keep a regular pace, pop some corn and tweet me with any questions.
What can we expect from the fourth and final season?
The biggest and best of them all.
Finally, any chance of a 12 Monkeys spinoff series?
The only spinoff I ever saw possible was called Primary and was about Jennifer Goines roaming the earth and going on adventures. Emily is in. Someone make it happen. ■
12 MONKEYS SEASON 3 IS AVAILABLE NOW ON DVD AND BLU-RAY, AS A WORLD PREMIERE
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