Terry Gilliam Finally Filming ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ This Year

Published 1 year ago by

DQ Terry Gilliam Finally Filming The Man Who Killed Don Quixote This Year

Could it be? After multiple false starts, actor hirings and firings, and script revisions, maverick filmmaker Terry Gilliam may finally be ready to conquer the demon that has plagued him for most of his career.

That’s right, the director behind such triumphs as Brazil and Twelve Monkeys says he’s finally preparing to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. For real this time.

During a recent interview with Empire Online, Gilliam said that Don Quixote will be his next project after the release of The Zero Theorem, which is scheduled to begin a theatrical run  in the UK on March 14th. Filming on Don Quixote will take place on the Canary Islands, and will begin in late September.

Gilliam’s first serious attempt to make Don Quixote began way back in 1998. He teamed up with frequent collaborator Tony Grisoni and created a script that made major changes to the legendary Miguel de Cervantes book from which Gilliam’s film draws its inspiration.

Wary of his constant creative battles with Hollywood, Gilliam managed to procure a $32 million budget independently. Jean Rochefort and Johnny Depp were cast in the two lead roles, and principal photography began in 2000.

The production process was an epic disaster, one ridiculously plagued by misfortune at every turn. Unpredictable weather, financing issues, and health problems involving Rochefort led production to be suspended after only a few days.

Untitled13 Terry Gilliam Finally Filming The Man Who Killed Don Quixote This Year

The entire aborted production was chronicled in the terrific documentary film Lost in La Mancha, which even offered viewers a tantalizing glimpse at already shot scenes involving Depp. Gilliam has tried to relaunch the film several times since, but has never gotten past the pre-production stage.

So why doesn’t he just give up on something that seemingly isn’t meant to be? For Gilliam, making Don Quixote isn’t just a want, it’s a need. Said Gilliam:

“It’s obsessive… desperate… pathetic… foolish. It’s this growth, this tumor that’s become part of my system that has to get out if I’m to survive.”

Gilliam is now working with Spanish producer Adrian Guerra and is hopeful that his new partner will be able to finally help him realize his dream.

“He’s really smart, loves movies. He’s young enough to still love movies. But we’ve still got to cast it and get the money but other than that, that’s the deal.”

Gilliam clearly doesn’t want his directorial career to end before making The Man Who Killed Don Quixote a reality. The man is now 73 years old and likely realizes that if this film is going to happen, it needs to happen soon. He’s not getting any younger, and getting financing only gets harder the longer he goes without a hit film.

Fortunately, Adrian Guerra has already produced ten films in his short career, and it would appear that he has the skills to finally get Quixote off the ground.

That said, Gilliam’s quest to make this film occasionally borders on the definition of insanity – which is to say, he constantly attempts to make the same seemingly doomed film expecting different results.

Sure, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote could very well end up being the magnum opus of Terry Gilliam’s career, but can he ever truly hope to make a film that lives up to his astronomical expectations? For his sake, let’s all hope the answer is yes.


The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is scheduled to begin production in September 2014.

Source: Empire Online

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  1. Casting Johnny Depp as Sancho Panza at the time was a good idea…. But I think using him now would be a bad idea. Depp is overexposed and his portrayal as the (disastrous) Lone Ranger’s sidekick Tonto is too close for comfort, when compared to acting as Don Quixote’s quirky sidekick Sancho Panza. Comedic foil to a hero on horseback…… Again?

    How many quirky sidekick characters can Depp do?

  2. Woooo Hoooo!!! At last.

  3. Finally!

    I’ll bet even Gilliam’s doing somersaults at this finally getting off the ground. I assume that means the Monty Python reunion shows in London (which I’ll be attending along with some other SR readers, looking forward to it as well fellas?) will be the only Python related work he does so other fans won’t get the global tour they hoped for.

  4. His movies are quirky and weird . Not bad just weird. Definitely not for the average movie goers. But he does have a loyal hardcore fan base.

    I liked his now-classic films like Brazil and Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.

    • Yeah, it’s an acquired taste for most.

      I grew up with stuff like The Goon Show, Spike Milligan, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Eddie Izzard, The Harry Hill Show, Reeves & Mortimer and other weird, surrealist comedy shows/comedians/movies and also like to get philosophical so I’m already pretty quirky and unique as others have labeled me over the years but showing that stuff enthusiastically to friends and seeing their reactions ranging from apathy to abject horror kind of proves that theory.

      Saying that though, I think everyone should have at least one Gilliam movie in their collection purely because he’s a true visionary and you won’t see many other films that look like his visually.

    • Terry Gilliam exasperates me both positively and negatively. His films are so frustrating and at times it can be awesome and at other times it can be quite horrible. I loved Time Bandits, Brazil, Baron Manchausen, 12 Monkeys, but I hated Tideland, Brothers Grimm. And I still need to give Fear and Loathing another shot because I stopped watching it half way through, but since then I’ve become a smarter film goer so I definitely understand Gilliam’s perplexing style.

  5. His next film after this will be ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’

    • I hope that happens,Gilliam is unique.I dont like all his films but at least his not doing remakes.

  6. Lost in La Mancha is one of my all time favourite documentaries. If anyone reading this hasn’t seen it yet, I really can’t recommend it enough.

  7. I’m hoping he can still get Bob Duvall for this. Damn good on him for sticking to it, and finally getting the film made.

  8. I think any and every film nerd needs to go through a Terry Gilliam phase.
    He has such a unique style that if you see just a minute of footage you can tell you’re watching on of his films.
    I’m still pretty partial to 12 Monkeys, mostly because of the performances of Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. That was one of the first movies that proved Willis could be more than an action star and Pitt more than a pretty face and was a turning point for both actors careers.

    Also, Lost In LaMancha ranks with Hearts of Darkness as the greatest “making documentaries” I’ve ever seen.