TCA press tour: AMC plans a remake of "The Prisoner"
On a high from its award-winning, critical darlings "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," AMC is remaking "The Prisoner," the TV cult classic from the 1960s.
The original series, co-created by Patrick McGoohan, was influenced by Cold War politics. The new version, produced by Trevor Hopkins ("Dracula"), reflects 21st Century issues, such as liberty, security and surveillance, while keeping the original's paranoid, tense tone.
The six one-hour episodes begin with a man (Jim Caviezel of "The Thin Red Line") who resigns from his job and wakes up to find himself trapped in a mysterious and surreal place called The Village, with no memory of having arrived there. The Village residents are identified by number and have no memory of a previous existence. The Village is controlled by "Two" (Sir Ian McKellen) who is locked in a battle of wits with "Six" (Caviezel) throughout the miniseries.
Caviezel said he was initially interested in the role -- his first TV series -- because McKellen was a part of it, but then was taken with the entire project when he read the script.
"This blew everything out of the water that I was thinking about doing," he said.
McKellen said he watched some of the episodes of the original in reruns because he was busy doing theater when it first aired on TV in England in the 1970s, and reminded the TV press that there were no VCRs back then.
Two of the other actors on the series are Ruth Wilson ("Jane Eyre") and Lennie James, who is most known for his role on "Jericho." (Note to "Jericho" junkies: Love ya, please don't e-mail me).
The miniseries was directed by Nick Hurran and will air in November. AMC also is airing the original series on www.amctv.com.
-- Maria Elena Fernandez