The much anticipated — and feared — “reimagining” of Patrick McGoohan’s classic cult TV series The Prisoner is scheduled for release on AMC in November. One good sign is that Ian McKellen is cast as Number Two (a role which, unlike the original series, will not revolve among multiple actors) and is (like the original) of fixed duration. James Caviezal is Number 6 and there are some interesting parallels here. Caviezal played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s (who was rumored to be a candidate for Number 6 in the various movie proposals over the year) The Passion of the Christ, controversial for its brutal, some would say sado-masochistic, portrayal of the Gospel stories. Like McGoohan, Caviezal is an observant Cathloic. Caviezal has made public stands on such issues as stem cell research and it is not inconceivable this might have affected his career in an industry that for the most part tilts left; McGoohan reportedly turned down the role of James Bond for moral reasons and insisted in his contract that he would not kiss women on-screen, particularly ironic given that The Prisoner was embraced by the sexual liberation advocates of the Sixties counter-culture for the program’s non-conformist ethos.
I’ve written about the original series here at this blog; you can take a look at a preview of the new series here. It actually looks promising, though of course it wouldn’t be the first time the trailer was better than the actual program. The new show echoes some of the original’s motifs, including Rover and McKellen’s “Britishness.” The Village is relocated to some kind of desert area ringed by mountains that reminds me of Arizona, and the setting seems to be some kind of take on mid-Fifties Levittown America, a perhaps not unsurprising choice given that this is from the network that has made its name with Mad Men.
I’m looking forward to seeing this but, alas, since I don’t have cable, here’s hoping the DVD version won’t be far behind.
Be seeing you.