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Apple's 'Time Bandits' series from Taika Waititi casts Lisa Kudrow in lead role

The project was first announced all the way back in 2019.

By Josh Weiss
(L-R) Lisa Kudrow; David Warner as the Evil Genius in Time Bandits (1981)

Back in March 2019, news broke that Thor writer-director Taika Waititi would adapt Terry Gilliam's 1981 film, Time Bandits, into a television series for Apple. Now, after all this time, the project is finally chugging along with the casting of Friends alum Lisa Kudrow in the lead role of Penelope, Deadline reports

The show has also added Kal-El Tuck (Unseeing Evil) as Kevin, Charlyne Yi (Knocked Up) as Judy, Tadhg Murphy (Conversations With Friends) as Alto, Roger Jean Nsengiyumva (You Don’t Know Me) as Widgit, Rune Temte (Eddie the Eagle) as Bittelig, Kiera Thompson (Martyrs Lane) as Saffron, and Rachel House (Heartbreak High) as Fianna. 

In terms of plot, the story is described as "a comedic journey through time and space with a ragtag group of thieves and their newest recruit: an 11-year-old history nerd," writes Deadline. This jives with the basic premise of the original film, which Gilliam wrote with fellow Monty Python member, Michael Palin. “I got [this idea] about a bunch of people that were involved in working for God, during the creation and living in heaven, who just got bored with that nice, lovely, heavenly lifestyle and wanted to go out on the road to start robbing and pillaging, having some fun,” Gilliam told Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine in 2018.

Palin also starred in the feature alongside a knockout cast: Sean Connery, John Cleese, Malcolm Dixon, Kenny Baker, David Warner, Jim Broadbent, Ian Holm, Shelley Duvall, and Peter Vaughan. It brought in a little over $42 million at the worldwide box office and currently holds a score of 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Waititi — who recently returned to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Thor: Love and Thunder this past July — will write, executive produce, and serve as director on the first two episodes. The filmmaker took home an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2020 for his work on Jojo Rabbit, a World War II dark comedy that impressed Gilliam.

"Terry just saw Jojo at a London screening and loved it and sort of said, 'Okay. I’m comfortable with this guy making Time Bandits," Waititi said during an interview with ComingSoon in late 2019. Catching up with The Wrap around the release of Love and Thunder several months back, he revealed that he'd be residing in New Zealand until the end of 2022, actively working on Time Bandits and the second season of HBO's pirate satire, Our Flag Means Death.

Looking for more sci-fi and fantasy? Head over to Peacock for films like Firestarter, Constantine, Twilight, Creepshow, Resident Evil, and Independence Day.