'Time Bandits' director Terry Gilliam explains why he hasn't yet signed a contract to be involved in Apple's remake TV show

Janus Films‘Time Bandits.’
  • Director Terry Gilliam told Business Insider he has not signed on yet to be involved in the Apple TV series adaptation of his 1981 movie, “Time Bandits.”
  • Gilliam said he’s still trying to figure out how much control he will have on the project.
  • He’s delighted that “Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi will direct the pilot, but it’s the overall tone of the show that concerns him.
  • “That’s the trickier bit,” Gilliam said. “To get the right comic tone and yet still the innocent magical quality of the thing. All that needs to be there.”
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Director Terry Gilliam’s nearly 30-year quest to make “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” has finally been accomplished. And now he’s onto another adventure: seeing his beloved 1981 movie, “Time Bandits,” be made into a TV series for Apple.

But he’s still weighing his options on how involved he will be.

Though Gilliam knows he will receive an executive producer credit on the show, he admitted he’s still in the dark about a lot of things because he hasn’t officially confirmed he will be part of the production.

“Well, I haven’t signed my contract yet,” Gilliam told Business Insider, followed by his trademark devilish laugh. “But I seem to be important to them. Once I get the contract signed I will engage more.”

Gilliam said he wasn’t even told that “Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi was hired to direct the pilot. He learned about it on the internet.

The legendary director said his delay in signing on simply comes down to one thing: control.

“Taika, I think he’s very good. I’m not moaning about that, I think he’s excellent,” Gilliam said. “But I just want to get the tone of the thing right and that’s the trickier bit. To get the right comic tone and yet still the innocent magical quality of the thing. All that needs to be there. And it will be interesting to find out if we can get enough little people out there. I have mixed feelings about it.”

The release of “Time Bandits” was Gilliam’s first big hit as a solo director. At the time, he was known best for being part of the Monty Python troupe, and directing with fellow Python member Terry Jones “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The fantastical time travel story of a boy who befriends six dwarfs who, with the use of a map, travel through time meeting interesting characters, including historical figures, cemented Gilliam one of the most visionary filmmakers of his time.

And as the decades passed, Gilliam said he was very protective of the property, often declining offers for it to be remade, including one time when, he said, a “respected producer” offered to make it into a trilogy. But there was a catch.

Read more: 9 confirmed movies and TV shows Disney is making for its Netflix competitor

“It was going to be a franchise, three parts,” Gilliam said. “It was with one of the major studios because they said they loved it. The only stipulation was they didn’t want dwarfs in it. So I said, ‘Bye, bye.’ I mean, the idea to do ‘Time Bandits’ with no dwarfs? That was madness.”

So is that part of the hesitation to be involved in the Apple project?

“No, they have all agreed that they want dwarfs,” Gilliam said. “But until you start on it you never know. So, I mean, on one hand I could really enjoy being paid for just nodding. Or I could be really involved.”

Apple bought the TV rights to “Time Bandits” last summer. Currently there is no set date on when it will air.

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