By Jami Philbrick
Fox’s upcoming new series Minority Report, which is based on the Steven Spielberg film starring Tom Cruise, attempted to win viewers on Friday when they began their Ballroom 20 Comic-Con panel by screening the first 20 minutes of the pilot.
The series takes place in 2065 Washington DC, fifteen years after the events of the film. The Pre-crime unit has been shut down and the precogs were secretly released to live their own lives. Agatha (Laura Regan), played by Samantha Morton in the movie, has chosen to live in exile so she can’t get visions of the future. However, her brother Dash, played by Stark Sands, has decided to live in the city and use his power to protect people, only he hasn’t been able to save anyone in 6 months. We then meet Detective Lara Vega (Meagan Good), who is working a crime scene. We also meet Lara’s boss and ex, the slimy Will Blake, played by Wilmer Valderrama.
Dash has a vision of the case Lara is working on and wants to give her a lead. Agatha warns Dash about using his powers, but he ignores her and contacts Lara. After Dash’s information leads to Lara capturing the killer, she decides to find out more about her informant. After chasing him down in a diner, Lara begins to grill Dash; triggering one of his pre-cog segues. The story is certainly interesting, whether you’re familiar with the movie or not. Stark Sands is easily the standout in the cast, with a great role to sink his teeth into. But rest assured, all of the cool high-tech gadgets from the movie are there too, including some new ones like the drone-selfie.
After the pilot presentation, producers Kevin Falls, Max Borenstein, and Darryl Frank, as well as actors Stark Sands, Meagan Good, Wilmer Valderrama, and Laura Regan took to the stage to talk about the new series.
Producer Kevin Falls began by explaining why this was the right time to adapt the film into a TV series. “First of all because Fox wanted to,” he joked. “I’ve been a fan of the movie for a longtime and actually I’ve wanted to turn it into a TV series for a while. It started with the wonderful idea of following the precogs.”
Producer Max Borenstein, who wrote last summer’s Godzilla, helped explain the basic plot of the series. “I loved the film so much that I created a show bible. We’ve seen shows about catching the murderer but this show is about stopping the murder. The precogs have been released into witness protection so they are not taken advantage of, which was the last shot of the movie. So I was left thinking, that’s a show. I want to know what happens next after they become regular people.”
“I think what we responded to, and what audiences responded to were the precogs,” producer Darryl Frank added. “In the last half of the movie you see Samantha Morton and that is what really sparked the idea for us, so we tried to humanize the precogs.”
Actor Stark Sands discussed playing a character that previously existed in another medium. “It’s really exciting for me, he said. “I was a big fan of the movie and when I heard they were making this I was excited and thrilled to be part of it. There is responsibility to what came before, but I really get to explore this character that sees things that he doesn’t want to see because of his power. So living a life and not wanting to see those things is interesting. Since he grew up as a precog and was just sent away to witness protection, he doesn’t know how to interact with humans. He doesn’t understand jokes. It will be fun to see him grow throughout the season. Not to mention that it’s a lot of fun to be working on a project that Steven Spielberg is producing.”
Actress Laura Regan also discussed playing a character that was originated by another actor. “Samantha Morton was flat out brilliant in the movie, and there is nothing I can do to assimilate that,” she explained. “I had to take the mythology that already exists and use it to fill out my performance. You have a character that from a very young age was sedated by the government and haunted by these terrible visions. So I couldn’t ask for a better backstory. When the series starts you see her as a recluse. She’s decided to isolate herself completely so she doesn’t have these horrible visions. Now her brother has taken a completely different path, so one way or another she will be thrust back into society.”
Meagan Good, who plays Detective Vega, talked about the unusual partnership between her character and Dash. “He sees tenderness in her that no one else sees and he somehow taps into that,” she explained. “Initially, he’s like a child and has not experienced the world. So the jokes she says, and the things she knows, go over his head. I think as time goes on, she will start to care for him and they will try to change the world together because they both want the same thing, which is to stop crime.”
Wilmer Valderrama, still best known for his role on That ‘70s Show, has a really cool scene where he flies in to a battle on a wire jetpack. So he was asked if he did the stunt himself. “At that time that we were shooting, I wanted to do it but they wouldn’t let me. I remember seeing the jetpack scene in the movie and thinking it was so cool. So I really wanted to fly with the jet pack, and finally I did and it was amazing.”
Finally, after admitting that having producer Steven Spielberg direct a future episode is entirely possible, during the Q&A period, the producers were asked if Tom Cruise might reprise his role as John Anderton at some point during the series. “That is something that may or may not happen,” Falls cryptically answered. Regardless, the chances of Cruise appearing in at least the first season are probably slim to none.
Minority Report is scheduled to premiere on September 21, only on Fox.