Casting announcements for the TV adaptation of the Vertigo comic series Y: The Last Man have been steadily rolling in, but one key character won’t need to be cast at all. Ampersand the capuchin monkey will be portrayed mostly through special effects, said FX CEO John Landgraf in an interview with /Film.
Ampersand’s role in the story goes far beyond being the cute animal sidekick, although his appeal in that regard can’t be denied. The premise of the comic, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Pia Guerra, is a plague that wipes out every male mammal on Earth. The main character, Yorick (who will be played in the show by Barry Keoghan), is the exception that gives the series its name – but his pet monkey, Ampersand, is another.
The mystery that surrounds these two unlikely survivors means that the monkey couldn’t be left out of the TV show without drastically changing the plot. His presence was confirmed earlier by Landgraf, but it was unknown until now how this would be accomplished.
Capuchin monkeys are sometimes kept as pets, and have appeared in other live-action movies and shows, but using real animals in any kind of performance creates complications and concerns for their well-being. Given the amount of screen time that Ampersand is likely to have, many fans will be glad to hear that there won’t be a live monkey playing his part, and the advancement of CG animation in modern film should result in an impressive, realistic character.
The television show will be called simply Y, and is being developed to air on FX by Michael Green and Aïda Mashaka Croal, who also serve as showrunners and executive producers. Vaughan will be an executive producer as well.