If you’re familiar with the career of Monty Python player-turned filmmaker Terry Gilliam, then you know he’s not the type to easily give up on his dreams, no matter how futile they might seem. For example, Gilliam seemed to only fully abandoned the hope of adapting Alan Moore’s Watchmen comic book to the big screen after Zack Snyder beat him to the task.
However, the director of such cult films as Time Bandits, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has yet to completely stop talking about projects like Good Omens – based on the novel by geek-favorite authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. That is, despite him having been unable to get such ventures off the ground for decades now.
Man Who Killed Don Quixote infamously began production way back in 2000, with Johnny Depp starring as a modern-day ad executive who accidentally gets sent back in time to 17th century La Mancha; there, he encounters the delusional adventurer Don Quixote (Jean Rochefort), who mistakes Depp’s character for being Sancho Panza. Various on-set mishaps led to the production being canceled – as detailed in the documentary Lost in La Mancha – but Gilliam has tried (and failed) many times since then to rescue the project, with different financiers and lead actors onboard for the ride.
Gillaim’s next film, The Zero Theorem, is expected to reach theaters in 2014, some five years after his last motion picture, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, was released, starring the late Heath Ledger alongside other famous names. Zero Theorem was shown to those at the 2013 Camerimage Festival of the Art of Cinematography, where Gilliam announced (via Coming Soon) “I’m going to try to do ‘Don Quixote’ again.”
The filmmaker half-joked that “I think this is the seventh time” that he has attempted to get Man Who Killed Don Quixote made, before he added “I actually just want to make it and get rid of it. Get it out of my life.” Indeed, one of the tragic ironies of the project’s woebegone history is that it reads as a clever – yet not necessarily all that remarkable – mix of contemporary satire and whimsical homage to the original novel written by Miguel de Cervantes. As opposed to, something with the potential to become the crowning achievement of Gilliam’s career (e.g. his desire to just be done with it, once and for all).
Whether or not Man Who Killed Don Quixote – assuming it actually comes together this time – will justify all the time and effort it took to actually be realized as a film, is something that even Gillaim isn’t so certain about:
“I don’t know if it will be good or bad,” Gilliam now says with a smile. “The dangerous thing is that a lot of people are waiting for it, so I can disappoint a lot of people maybe.”
Gilliam has previously either name-dropped or considered actors like Gérard Depardieu (Life of Pi), Oscar-winner Robert Duvall and even his old Monty Python collaborator Michael Palin as the substitute for Rochefort (who isn’t physically up for handling the Don Quixote role anymore). Similarly, with Depp busy starring in every other upcoming live-action Disney film (only a slight exaggeration), the likes of Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor have been eyed to portray the mild-mannered time-traveler in the story (i.e. Depp’s original role).
How about it, Screen Ranters: will Gilliam finally get to make his Don Quixote project at long last?
We’ll keep you informed on the status of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote as more information is made available (or, rather, as Terry Gilliam continues to talk about it).
Source: Coming Soon
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