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Lisa Kudrow joins Taika Waititi’s Time Bandits Apple TV series

Lisa Kudrow is set to lead the cast of Taika Waititi's new Apple TV series Time Bandits, based on Terry Gilliam's 1981 fantasy movie

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe in Friends

Phoebe Buffay is swapping Central Perk for travelling through time, because Lisa Kudrow has joined Taika Waititi’s TV series adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s 1981 fantasy movie Time Bandits.

Kudrow, who won an Emmy for Friends, will head the cast for the Apple TV series. The show has also cast seven other actors; Charlyne Yi (Knocked Up, This is 40, The Disaster Artist), Kal-El Tuck, Tadhg Murphy, Roger Jean Nsengiyumva, Rune Temte, Kiera Thompson and and Waititi regular Rachel House.

Waititi is the co-writer of the series and will direct the first two episodes. Waititi has his fingers in many TV pies at the moment – he’s an executive producer of fantasy series What We Do in the Shadows (which is based on Waititi’s 2014 movie), he created Reservation Dogs for Hulu, and stars in the comedy series Our Flag Means Death for HBO Max.

Terry Gilliam was a member of the legendary Monty Python comedy troupe. Time Bandits was the second movie that he directed solo, after 1977’s Jabberwocky. Python members John Cleese (who plays Robin Hood) and Michael Palin have roles in Time Bandits, which follows a young boy who joins a band of dwarves who travel through time searching for prime loot that they can steal. R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker plays one of the main dwarves – Fidgit. Some memorable cameos come from Ian Holm, who plays Napoleon and Sean Connery as Agamemnon.

Time Bandits lends itself well to a television series because each episode can follow an adventure in a different time period. Time travel is an ingenious way to escape after committing a fiendish heist. Waititi has similar sensibilities to Gilliam – both in sense of humour, and in terms of working within the realms of surreal fantasy.

Outside of Friends, some of Kudrow’s notable roles in comedy movies and TV shows include in Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion, Analyze This, Easy A, Bad Neighbours, Booksmart, and Space Force.

It looks as though there will be plenty to look forward to from the Time Bandits TV series. In the meantime, check out our guide to the best TV series.