Dating all the way back to the debut of King Kong, primates have captured the attention of pop culture for decades. In the '90s, movies like Outbreak, Monkey Trouble, Dunston Checks In, and Congo only cemented primate power, with the sitcom Friends even getting in on the action by giving Ross Geller a white-headed capuchin monkey as a pet and sidekick. The series helped launch not only the careers of its stars, but also of the capuchin who played Marcel, whose real name is Katie, as she continues to work today. One FX executive confirmed that Katie played Ampersand in the pilot for the adaptation of Y: The Last Man.
“I recognize Jennifer Aniston, I recognize Courteney Cox, and I recognize that monkey!" FX CEO John Landgraf joked with The Hollywood Reporter. "There's nothing like a really experienced actor who knows how to hit their marks!”
When reached for comment, Katie's trainer confirmed that she did work on the project and is in her mid- to late 20s. A capuchin's life expectancy in the wild is around 20 to 30 years, though in captivity they can live into their 50s.
FX describes the series, "Y traverses a post-apocalyptic world in which a cataclysmic event has decimated every male mammal save for one lone human. The new world order of women will explore gender, race, class, and survival."
While Katie might have starred as Ampersand in the pilot, the series is currently being reworked by a new showrunner, so it's unclear if Katie will reprise her role if the series movies forward or if Ampersand will be created with CGI. The pilot starred Diane Lane (Man of Steel), Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk), Imogen Poots (Green Room), Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel), Juliana Canfield (Succession), and Marin Ireland (Sneaky Pete) will star in the pilot.
Ampersand is a monkey that Yorick adopts in hopes of training him to become an assistant animal for those in need, with the pair becoming the only mammals with Y chromosomes to exist in this new world.
The series has had a rocky road towards this adaptation, as Y: The Last Man, from Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, became one of the biggest comic book sensations of the 2000s as it delivered not only a fascinating sci-fi premise but also offered allegories about sexism in our society. Reports of the project being adapted have circulated for years, with the most recent update coming earlier this year about showrunner Eliza Clark taking over the project to reevaluate it for a series.
Stay tuned for details on the possible future for Y: The Last Man.
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