Will Terry Gilliam finally defeat his his metaphorical white whale by filming The Man Who Killed Don Quixote later this year? The Monty Python alum claims that he’s close to finally having the necessary funding to move ahead with the project, though coming after so many previous failed attempts to get his historical literature/fantasy back into production – including his original effort that got canceled due to a tumultuous shoot in 2001 (as was eventually documented in Lost in La Mancha) - it sadly wouldn’t come as a huge shock if the filmmaker’s plans fell through once again.
In the meantime, we call look forward to The Zero Theorem, Gilliam’s new vision of an overly-commercialized and technological-happy future – which, as it were, is arriving just short of thirty years after his 1985 sci-fi cult classic Brazil opened in theaters.
The original Zero Theorem script written by Pat Rushin (a short story author/college teacher-turned screenwriter) boasts a thought-provoking, yet otherwise understandable drama at its core – a scientist (a hairless Christoph Waltz) is conflicted about his mission to use mathematics and logic, in order to determine if human existence has a meaning. However, in Gilliam’s hands, the final result looks to be one of the more surreal, strange and otherwise kooky films released in recent memory.
You get the Zero Theorem cast singing Gilliam’s praises in the featurette above, while below we have two additional previews that focus on the elements of costumes and production design – which are always the highlights in any of Gilliam’s films, no matter how chaotic and/or incomprehensible they may otherwise seem on the surface. (You may also notice that all three previews conclude with the same montage of clips from the film.)
Admittedly, there are parts of Zero Theorem that seem derived from Gilliam’s previous work, be it the general Brazil-esque setting or even specific items such as the transparent coats that resembles a futuristic outfit worn by Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys. Similarly, although Gilliam remains a creative pioneer, the last 10-15 years have brought so many visions of what the world of tomorrow might look like – be it a semi-realistic glimpse like Minority Report (overlooking the “Precogs”) or an unsettling funhouse mirror like The Hunger Games – that nowadays, his vision doesn’t seem quite so radical as it did once upon a time.
Still, it’s hard not to cheer for The Zero Theorem to be a success, given just the sheer amount of energy and passion that Gilliam and his collaborators have poured into it – all while they essentially had a shoestring budget to work from. Plus, if the film performs decently at the box office, that should only improve Gilliam’s chances of getting to realize his long-awaited Don Quixote re-envisioning at last.
The Zero Theorem opens in UK theaters on March 14th, 2014. We’ll let you know when it gets an official release date in the U.S.