AMC announced today that acclaimed film actors Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the ChristThe Thin Red Line) and Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings, The Da Vinci Code) have signed on for the network's reinterpretation of the highly influential 1960s cult classic, The Prisoner. AMC is co-producing the six-part mini-series with ITV Productions and Granada International, with a worldwide premiere slated for 2009. The Prisoner, AMC's second original mini-series, combines a wide range of genres, including espionage, thriller and scifi, into a unique and compelling drama, and expands upon the network's distinctive cinematic approach to creating high-quality programming.
Caviezel will play the title role of "Number Six," a part that was originally made famous when played by Patrick McGoohan. McGoohan also served as the creator, producer, writer and director of the 1960s series, which has become widely regarded as one of the most famous and intriguing cult TV series ever created, permanently altering the scope of the fantasy genre. Two-time Oscar nominee Ian McKellen will co-star playing the role of "Number Two."
"Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen bring an incredible level of talent to the project, and we're honored they are taking on these important roles. We look forward to this production revitalizing a classic and bringing Patrick McGoohan's brilliant and captivating story to an entirely new generation of viewers," stated Charlie Collier, AMC's general manager and executive vice president. "The caliber of Hollywood talent AMC is attracting further validates our programming vision and our successful strategy of producing quality cinematic originals that stand alongside our library of iconic movies."
"For those of us who were watching grown-up TV in the 60s, The Prisoner was dangerous, exciting and challenging TV. For those of us who were too young to stay up to watch the series, it casts a long shadow. You don't embark on something this iconic without the best team around to do it justice for a whole new era. With Bill Gallagher as writer, Trevor Hopkins as Producer, Michele Buck, Damien Timmer and Rebecca Keane as the UK Execs, AMC as production partners, ITV as UK Commissioners, and Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen leading the cast, we have that team on board. I can't wait," said John Whiston, Director of ITV Productions.
"Bill Gallagher's new version of The Prisoner is an enthralling commentary on modern culture. It is witty, intelligent and disturbing. I am very excited to be involved," said Ian McKellan.
While the original series, which debuted in 1967, was a riff on Cold War politics, AMC's reinterpretation will reflect 21st Century concerns and anxieties, such as liberty, security, and surveillance, yet also showcase the same key elements of paranoia, tense action and socio-political commentary seen in McGoohan's enigmatic original.
"The Prisoner spawned an enormous group of zealous fans who thrived on each week's psychological twists and turns. AMC's version brings The Prisoner back to primetime, and we're tempted to discuss more details, but in the spirit of the series, what you DO know, may hurt you," said Christina Wayne, SVP of scripted original programming.
The Prisoner mini-series is a co-production of AMC and ITV Productions; the deal was brokered by Granada International, which holds international distribution rights. Bill Gallagher (Conviction, Clocking Off, Lark Rise To Candleford) serves as writer and executive producer, along with Michele Buck, Damien Timmer, Rebecca Keane, and AMC's Charlie Collier, Christina Wayne and Vlad Wolynetz. It is produced by Trevor Hopkins (Dracula, Poirot), and directed by Jon Jones (Northanger Abbey, Cold Feet). Jim Caviezel's deal was coordinated by ICM. Creative Artists Agency orchestrated the deal on behalf of Ian McKellen.