Feel like a little nostalgia today?
It’s been 25 years since the Bruce Willis action/sci fi drama “Twelve Monkeys” was shot in the city of Brotherly Love — and at its heart was a Philly-launched virus that wiped out 5 billion people, 99% of the earth’s population, driving the remainder underground to be safe from the deadly germs in the air.
Under Terry Gilliam’s direction, Willis plays a visitor from the future sent back to 1996 to stop the launch of the virus. The film was made in 1995 and featured creations of what an abandoned Philadelphia looked like. (What it may soon look like?) The villain we learn — this is hardly a spoiler alert — is an evil scientist and guess what? He’s not Chinese!
I interrupt the narrative to note that “Twelve Monkeys” was one of many movies and TV shows that were shot in Philadelphia, thanks in part to the Philadelphia Film Office, headed by Sharon Pinkenson, she of her trademark explosion of blonde curls. Over the years, she put Philly on producers’ radar and that resulted in work for Philly actors, bodies in Philly hotels, and movie-crew orders for Philly food and drink.
Due to the virus taking a whack at Philly’s tax receipts, funding for the film office, which flows through the City Rep’s office, has been eliminated. With the city in crisis, I can see why tax money can’t go there, but I am hoping some of the beneficiaries of the film largesse will raise private money to support the office.
Back to “Twelve Monkeys.” The acting standout was Brad Pitt as an inmate of a mental hospital where Bruce Willis gets sent, because no one believes he came from the distant future. Pitt plays a retard with a propensity for saying crazy things that somehow make sense. For instance: “There is no right, there is no wrong. There is just public opinion.” (Oh, for the PC police: I know I am not supposed to say “retard.” And that’s why I did.)
I am not going to give away the (25-year-old) ending, but at the time, would we have believed what a real pandemic would visit upon our world?