'Minority Report' Producers On The New Future And Humanizing The Precogs

The cast and producers of Fox's Minority Report TV series gave a panel for the Television Critics Association today. It is the first series ever adapted from a Steven Spielberg-directed movie, and takes place 10 years after the film. Pre-crime has been abolished, per the film, and the movie's three precog characters now live in hiding. We've got loads of new info on the show, as well as the first poster, below.

Godzilla screenwriter Max Borenstein led the TV sequel and spoke about some of the new changes we'll see in the show's future. "We're in Washington, D.C." Borenstein said. "[The football team is] now called the Washington Red Clouds. It's no longer the Redskins."

The show stars Meagan Good as officer Lara Vega, and Wilmer Valderrama as Lt. Will Blake. The three precogs from the film, Agatha, Arthur and Dash are played by Laura Regan, Nick Zano, and Stark Sands, respectively.

In the 2002 movie, Philip K. Dick's idea of a policeman enforcing future crime was a high concept. Now television has shows like Person of Interest where the heroes have a machine to give them advanced knowledge, so the premise of Minority Report couldn't be a "pre-crime of the week" procedural.

"Steven Spielberg finally said after years he was excited to do a Minority Report show, but how?" Borenstein said. "Since then we've seen shows about policemen who use extremely advanced investigative tools. Focusing on the enforcer would be limiting. Focusing on the precognitives, who suffered and had traumatic impact of these visions of murder and emerge from this embryonic state as adults, is just fascinating. It also allows us to delve into the responsibilities someone has if they have those visions. What's their responsibility to get involved?"

Producer Darryl Frank said it was actually the idea of telling more stories of the precogs that got Spielberg to give them the ok. "It came from character," Frank said. "We've gotten a lot of pitches to do this movie. What spoke to him, bringing the precogs to life was something he wasn't able to do in the movies. Samantha Mortan gets out of the milk bath a little, but the opportunity to humanize them really appealed to him."

Even still, Spielberg has been hands on. He chose Mark Mylod to direct the pilot, and picked cinematographer David Franco (Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire) and the new production designer. Producers Frank and Borenstein also shared how he'd give notes from the sets of The BFG and Bridge of Spies, including a full schematic for the team to use.

The film's technology of touch screens and targeted advertising were prescient in 2002. Now they are common. The show promises to explore times when maybe this technology breaks down as often as our present day stuff does.

"Technology breaks down every day," Borenstein said. "People will always find a way to hack. People will always find a way to get around it, criminals and other people. The fun for us is not only conceiving of expanded reach of surveillance but how people are going to get around that and commit crimes and live their lives regardless."


The writers of Fox's Minority Report also follow very specific rules for how the visions work and how the future can be affected.

"We're not time travel but we deal with an element of that, changing the future," Borenstein said. "We thought long and hard about the rules and are careful in our writers room to stick by them. The precogs, what they're seeing is given the moment in time, they're seeing the future as it's going to play out. If they don't interfere, that's what's going to happen. However, the moment they start interfering, things get fuzzier. We avoid the fundamental conundrum of that circularity. It becomes: can you do enough to change that future? It comes down to human choice. This future will occur unless you intervene."

Most Slashfilm readers have surely seen the film Minority Report, but there will be many TV viewers who have not. The show will open with a brief catch-up, explaining how the precogs developed their abilities and were appropriated by the police force, but don't worry about too much exposition.

"You know how it is with anything where you're trying to establish a rich backstory, there's always going to be that balance between how much you say and how much you show," Borenstein said. "How much you want to catch the audience up on? It's something we're always dealing with and we're excited about the pilot because once we get going with the character, it becomes very clear what his backstory is organically from his trauma and from his relationships. Sometimes with something like this, it's great to get out that backstory, get people on the same page and they can invest in that character. They're going to learn about him in a deeper, richer way as the show unfolds. Rather than drop them in sink or swim, it's accessible and gets richer from there."

The power of precognition affects the three precogs differently. Arthur, in particular, is very angry and out for revenge. It will take him at least the first season, if not longer, to find the people truly responsible for exploiting him and his siblings.

"That's a slow burn element in terms of the specifics of the people who did it," Borenstein said. "Arthur has a very different perspective on what happened, really because of the difference in his power. They split the two halves and Dash gets these visceral visual fragments and they have an emotional impact. It's the reason he can't go live on an island and he can't exploit it, because that's traumatic. Arthur gets the factual half, the names and bits of information, that comes in a way that's detached. It allows him to not have such an emotional reaction. He can process it like you'd process news from around the world, not necessarily emotional. He's more Machiavellian, he's resentful of the people who did this. He's protective about making sure this never happens again, because if anyone finds where the precogs are, they're going to be exploited. Is putting them to work for the metropolitan police department the most productive thing you can do? Probably not."


Minority Report premieres Monday, September 21 at 9 on Fox.