It's been 13 years since Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Phillip K. Dick's short story, Minority Report, was a summer blockbuster success. The story, and film, posited a future (2054) where murder has become so rampant that a system was created where cops can arrest murderers before they commit their crime. It's via three sibling psychics - "Pre-Cogs" with unimpeachable visions of the murders before they occur - that the system is maintained...until the system is proven incredibly fallible.
Now Spielberg has sanctioned the first television sequel to a film he's directed, as Minority Report the series will explore what happened after the movie ended. Set 10 years after the film's events, the Pre-Cogs - Agatha (Laura Regan), and twins Arthur (Nick Zano) and Dash (Stark Sands) - are now the central focus.
Long-time Spielberg television producing partner, Darryl Frank, told Blastr and other select reporters at San Diego Comic-Con, that the film was a property long in television development. "We had been pitched many, many versions of Minority Report," Frank detailed, "and it was always a procedural from the cop point of view, which was the straight ahead way to do it. None of those [pitches] got to Steven because they weren't good enough."
Frank said it wasn't until writer/executive producer Max Borenstein came in with a fresh take that the sequel became viable. "His point of view was from the Pre-Cog's point of view. It was the light bulb moment and when we brought it to Steven, I think that's what he really responded to, being able to humanize the Pre-Cogs which we weren't able to do in the movie. We see Samantha Morton's Agatha for the last 30 minutes of the movie but she's minutes out of the milk bath. In this, we're 10 years later and see them go into society and go from there."
Borenstein then framed the series around the trio living in seclusion for both theirs and society's protection and their visions are still intact. "The exciting thing for us was being able to say we get to explore both these characters and we get to create some differences," Borenstein said of their narrative. "Their powers are literally different and they become different people."
Agatha is rather bitter and angry about their lot, while Dash wants to use his powers for good. "Dash is haunted by the visions he gets which are visual," Borenstein detailed. "Whereas Arthur gets the names almost like a memory of the future so there is a difference on how you would process that. If you are Dash, you are an open wound in public and it's hard for you to interact. But at the same time, you are emotionally invested in those things you see so you are driven to try to stop them. Whereas if you are just getting factual information, it's easier to keep it as a distance."
Helping Dash is Detective Laura Vega (Meagan Good) who entered the Precrime program just as it was dismantled. She runs into Dash and they decide to team up for justice. "We both want the same thing," actor Stark Sands said of their characters. "I'm haunted by these visions and she's haunted by her own past. She's sick of being the janitor and cleaning up after the murders happen. I can't escape the visions and try to do it by myself. Even if I had my twin brother and sister, it still wouldn't be enough. We had a whole police department behind us. It's an uneasy partnership at first."
As to the question of how the visuals of the Minority Report film, with its Spielbergian-sized film budget, can possibly translate to a small screen television budget, executive producer Kevin Falls said advancement of technology makes that a lot less of an issue. "You also have to spend your money wisely," he added. "On the pilot, you get a lot more money but you start to build your assets like once you have your skyline you get to use that again. And you can be smart about the future and do little things. Max always talks about the wit of the show so you'll see things like The Simpsons 75th anniversary on a television in a house."
Frank added, "Or in the pilot there is this selfie drone watch and everyone who sees it wants one. It flies around and takes pictures."
Borenstein chimed in with a laugh, "The brand of the selfie drone is Narcissus. So for us, the fun is never just about the technology. There has to be the wit or the social commentary. It's what technology is 50 years from today, just evolving out, and that's what we're doing another 10 years later."
Minority Report debutes on Fox, Monday, September 21 9/8c.