There’s a lot riding on Fox’s “Minority Report.” Set as a sequel to Steven Spielberg’s 2002 futuristic action movie, this is the first of the iconic filmmaker’s works to be translated to television. Instead of giving fans a TV version of Tom Cruise’s leading man John Anderton, creator Max Borenstein’s universe concentrates on the now-grown kids known as the trio of crime-predicting “Precogs” — specifically Stark Sands’ Dash, who still wants to use his powers for good.
The series hails from Spielberg’s Amblin TV in association with 20th Century Fox Television and Paramount Television. Before the premiere, Amblin TV’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, who are exec producing the series, talk about the challenges that await this procedural and why it’s a timely story for today’s society.
You heard a lot of pitches about turning the movie into a TV show. Why did this one work?
Frank: We have so many properties that Steven has directed or produced. People have always come through our library. This has always set up well for a series because it has this procedural ending. All the people who were pitching were pitching it from the John Anderton way in, which is the very traditional way in. Steven wanted something that felt different, so when Max came in [with the idea of the PreCogs], that’s something the movie couldn’t do. That was the new twist.
How useful was Spielberg during this process?
Falvey: He knows the vast amount of material that went into that movie and the stories you can tell that expand well beyond the two-hour theatrical release.
The movie’s famous for its action sequences, which take a lot of time and money. How could those be done within the constraints of television?
Frank: We want to use a lot of that stuff; it’s a great blending of genres between actions and procedural and blending and drama.
It’s also a very timely project. Pennsylvania is considering determining prison sentences based on crimes someone might commit.
Frank: It’s a fine line between predictable policing and profiling and privacy and security. When you have too much of one and you won’t have enough of the other.
Since the show is set in the future, I’m assuming technology will be key — just as it was for the movie.
Falvey: It’s a fun challenge. We have people consulting on the show literally from the MIT think tank and we have Steven Spielberg. What’s important is that we get it right and we’re not derivative. That’s fun for the writers to figure out how that can be part of the storytelling.
Frank: We have an opportunity that allows you to do procedural stories that are not predictable. You have future crime twists that other shows don’t.
The movie and the TV show are based on a Philip K. Dick short story. His writing gets adapted a lot, including with Ridley Scott’s new Amazon series “The Man from High Castle.” Why do you think Dick’s writing works so well for TV?
Falvey: It’s about capturing people’s imagination and nobody did that better on the page than Dick. You can pitch someone that idea conceptually and you can move it forward. What drives people emotionally and psychologically 50 years ago is still the same today.
Frank: High concept, but relatable — I think that’s what Philip K. Dick does as well.
“Minority Report” premieres at 9 p.m. Sept. 21 on Fox.