Some motion pictures are legendary… for all the wrong reasons. Terry Gilliam has directed several of them. The filmmaker behind the cult classics Brazil, Time Bandits and Twelve Monkeys has had a long career that was frequently derailed by ballooning budgets, studio interference and a reputation for being “difficult.”
But his luck appears to be turning around. Maybe. If he’s lucky. Terry Gilliam has finally wrapped production on the fantasy The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a motion picture that’s been 17 years in the making, and has been so besieged by outlandishly unfortunate circumstance that a feature length documentary was made about its failure, fifteen years go, called Lost in La Mancha.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is an ambitious fantasy about the legendary, deluded knight who stumbles across a contemporary advertising executive, who becomes Don Quixote’s squire. Terry Gilliam’s first attempt to produce the motion picturewould have starred Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort – both of whom shot a small amount of footage 17 years ago – and was recast multiple times throughout the years. Don Quixote was nearly played by Robert Duvall, Michael Palin and John Hurt, and the protagonist, named Grisoni, was almost played by Ewan MacGregor and Jack O’Connell. The film now stars Jonathan Pryce (Brazil) and Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).
But Terry Gilliam’s journey isn’t over yet. An awful lot of awful things can happen during post-production, and one potential hurdle has already been erected by the French film Alfama, whose CEO Paulo Branco claims they own the rights to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, and that Gilliam’s film has been produced “illegally,” according to Hollywood Reporter.
Terry Gilliam has called these allegations “preposterous.” But preposterous things have happened to his movies before.
We’ll keep you posted on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Who knows? We may even be able to see it this time!
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Top Photo: IFC Films
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.