TV Casting News: Lifeforce, From Dusk Till Dawn and 12 Monkeys

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The past few weeks have brought both good and bad news from TV land. We have been told that TV shows adaptation of the films Lifeforce, From Dusk Till Dawn and 12 Monkeys are coming but is this good news or a sign of scrapping the bottom of the creative well?

I don’t mind when a decent film is made into a TV show because in the past it has given us great franchises like Buffy, Stargate and Highlander, all of which went on to spawn spin offs of their own. Then you get films like Alien Nation, Blade, Teen Wolf, Timecop, Tremors, War of the Worlds and even Indiana Jones who all had mixed results from excellent to downright poor.

So the track record for Film to TV conversions is not a sure thing by a long shot and whenever another film if  “jumping the shark” to TV we get nervous especially when it is a film that is close to our hearts.

Lets talk about 12 Monkeys first. This was one crazy wild ride of a film by Terry Gilliam that starred Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe and Brad Pitt in what I have to say are some of their finest performances. The film was set in a disease stricken future where they send Bruce Willis back in time to try to save the planet. It is one of those rare films that never made it huge because a lot of people just did not get it but most still see it as a master class in film making by Gilliam. Syfy have now confirmed that a series is arriving and there is nothing we can do about that so let’s just see who is behind this idea.

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The show is being created by the writers of Nikita and Terra Nova so a mixed bag there as I love Nikita but I felt that Terra Nova had a lot of weak points. So far the cast includes Aaron Stanford (Pyro in X2: X-Men United and also Seymour Birkhoff in Nikita) as the role originally played by Bruce Willis. This is a good bit of casting actually because I think Stanford has just enough crazy to pull this off.

Amanda Schull (One Tree Hill, Suits) is playing Cassandra Railly which I guess is the part that Madeleine Stowe played in the film. However Cassandra is already in a relationship with Noah Bean who played Ryan Fletcher in Nikita. So for me we already have two decent actors in play but I have no idea about Schull. The last name to add to the growing cast is Željko Ivanek (Damages,True Blood) who is always great in just about everything he does.

So for me there is hope for this show but Terry Gilliam has already said it is crazy to make the show and I am sort of the fence with this because it does sound kinda cool.

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The next show we will take a stab at is From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series. The original movie was directed and by Robert Rodriguez and written by Robert Kurtzman and Quentin Tarantino and spawned two sequels. The movie starred Harvey Keitel, George Clooney, Juliette Lewis and Quentin Tarantino. It was one of those movies that became a cult classic straight away because it starts out as one movie and then BAM becomes something else. It was the coolest vampire road movie we had ever seen. Yes Near Dark was great I know but this was something else. Also this was the film that really launched Salma Hayek into mainstream audiences and for that I will forever be in Rodriguez’ debt.

Now the El Rey network has commissioned a ten part series based on the original film with the backing of original creator Robert Rodriguez, who I love as a film maker.

The cast for the new show includes Wilmer Valderrama  as enigmatic crime lord Carlos, D.J. Cotrona, who plays Seth Gecko, Zane Holtz as Richie Gecko; Jesse Garcia who plays Texas Ranger Freddie Gonzalez, a new character created for the series; Don Johnson who joins in a recurring role as Sheriff Earl McGraw; Robert Patrick as Jacob Fuller; Madison Davenport as Kate Fuller; Brandon Soo Hoo as Scott Fuller and Eiza González as Santánico Pandemonium.

The series break down seems like it is just following the story from the film – a fight for survival in a vampire strip club. How do you stretch that out to ten hours of storytelling? They would need to take this story way beyond what the film did and even if they do manage it do we need another vampire series on TV?

For now I am unsure how this will work but I have faith that Rodriguez will be able to deliver something very cool and I hope adult as well.

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The last film to TV series to be discussed is actually another vampire movie. Lifeforce was a vampire movie with a twist – they were from space. The director Tobe Hopper was famous for having previously directed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Poltergeist so he knew what he was doing.

I remember the original movie as it being one of the first films that I thought I should not be watching. It had vampires, aliens and naked women. Not bad for a thirteen year old boy. I also remember it as having a pretty creepy plot that always left me wanting to know what happened next.

Now the movie was actually adapted from a book by Colin Wilson called The Space Vampire and the series is also going to be an adaptation of the book so we could get a difference in plot which is ok because the main thing here is that we get a show based on and maybe just maybe naked women. Hey don’t look at me look at True Blood instead!

Saying ‘Space Vampires ‘ out loud sounds kind ridiculous but then I don’t have high hopes for this show lasting more than six episodes unless they can find a really clever way to tell the story.

One extra thing to note is that this is going to be a transmedia project with a graphic novel, video game and other mediums to expand the story line… maybe a web series?

So some good news and bad news with films being converted to TV shows. What are your thoughts on this?

Source: Coming Soon, Giant Freaking Robot
Reporter: Montoya

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