terry gilliam memoir

Someone who cracks open Terry Gilliam‘s Gilliamesque hoping for a comprehensive and complete portrait of the man’s career may be disappointed. The memoir from the director of Brazil, Time Bandits, and The Fisher King is akin to having a nice, long sit-down with an eccentric uncle who stories to tell and grudges to share. It’s a little rambling and it occasionally leaves big questions unanswered, but at the same time, of course it is. This is Terry Gilliam after all. The guy who directed The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. He has a yarn to spin and he’s going to spin it his way.

Gilliamesque: A Pre-posthumous Memoir is captivating reading for anyone with an interest in the filmmaker, who began his career as the Monty Python troupe’s animator and eventually segued into making some of the best and most interesting movies of his time. Gilliam dives deep into his childhood in Minnesota, his adolescence in California, and his attempts to make it big in New York City and London. The book is halfway over before he even gets to the Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

And yet that first half paints a detailed portrait of an artist to be. You can see the elements that later become vital components of Gilliam’s career surface throughout his early life in surprising, funny, and occasionally depressing ways. Let’s run down a few of them, shall we?

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Terry Gilliam Ant-Man

It’s not surprising people like Ant-Man. It’s a funny, cool, and clever superhero pic that relies more on the conventions of a heist movie than a superhero movie. Director Peyton Reed (Down with Love) also made a Marvel movie that doesn’t feature a massive third act with extras running around and the hero fighting a bunch of CG, faceless bots. For a variety of reasons, Ant-Man is a breath of fresh air, so it isn’t surprising when somebody likes the film. But it is surprising when that somebody is director Terry Gilliam (12 MonkeysTime Bandits).

Gilliam discusses Ant-Man after the jump.

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deleted monty python animation

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is one of those things that is actually as good as you remember. No amount of obnoxious over-quoting by comedy nerds trying out their best (i.e., terrible) British accent can ruin the best jokes. An amusing but safely mainstream Broadway musical adaptation cannot diminish its transgressive delights. 40 years later, it’s still one of the best comedies ever made, from one of the most inspired comedy groups to ever walk this planet.

So when long-lost animation from the film is unearthed for the new Blu-ray and DVD release, everyone with good taste has reason to celebrate! And when original Python troupe member/animator/token American Terry Gilliam is called in to provide commentary, everyone with the best taste has additional reason to break out the party favors.

Watch the deleted Monty Python animation, and Gilliam’s commentary, after the jump.

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time bandits tv series

Terry Gilliam is a cinematic genius, but he’s also a cinematic genius who wronged a sorcerer in a past life or something. His battles with movie studios are the stuff of legend. The movies that have literally fallen apart around him are too many to count. And then the internet went and falsely reported his death. If Gilliam’s own movies didn’t present a self-awareness about the absurdity of existence and cruel unfairness of life, it would be easy to fear for his sanity.

Could his salvation come via the small screen? We already knew he had a deal in place with Amazon, but now Gilliam has revealed that he’s working on a TV version of his 1981 comedic fantasy Time Bandits. Maybe things are finally looking up for the most cursed of filmmakers.

Check out Gilliam’s own comment on the Time Bandits TV series after the jump.

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Don Quixote delayed

The story of Terry Gilliam‘s death was thankfully completely wrong, but his new/old film project, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, is having a harder time. The film has been an on-again, off-again proposition for years, originally going before cameras in 2000 with Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort in the lead roles before a set of disasters, including physical problems for Rochefort, forced the film to be canceled. We could write a book about the movie’s problems, but there’s already a movie about it, Lost in La Mancha.

The latest incarnation of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has been planned to star Jack O’Connell and John Hurt. That’s now in doubt, however, as Hurt’s recent cancer diagnosis means Don Quixote is delayed again. Read More »


Terry Gilliam isn’t dead, despite a brief and alarming report to the contrary that stunned Twitter and the movie industry for a few minutes Tuesday afternoon. We’re thrilled that Gilliam is still around, and that he is taking this odd spotlight moment to apologize for his own death.

In perfectly Gilliamesque fashion, the writer/director also shared the trailer for his forthcoming memoir, a “pre-posthumous” book he is calling, of course, Gilliamesque. Read More »

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monty python and the holy grail blu-ray

Monty Python and the Holy Grail has been making us laugh, and prompting us to quote its absurd dialogue, for forty years. The 1975 release will enjoy a new anniversary blu-ray edition in October. One bit of packaging for the disc is meant to evoke one of the most ridiculous concepts in the movie — and that’s saying a lot when discussing this film.

The new Monty Python and the Holy Grail blu-ray will feature a working catapult — a tiny one, these people aren’t monsters, and the shipping for an actual war machine would be outrageous — that will fling appropriately-sized animal toys about your room.

Even better, there’s a video featuring the Monty Python crew (Terry Jones, Michael Palin, John Cleese, and Terry Gilliam, who is thankfully very much alive) playing with the modestly-sized weapon. The glee with which Michael Palin puts the catapult to work might be the best thing I’ve seen today.

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Don Quixote at Amazon

Not long ago details leaked out indicating that Terry Gilliam was among the filmmakers who had signed a deal with Amazon to create movies and/or TV for the online retail giant’s increasingly ambitious streaming service. (Which now includes theatrical distribution, at least in some cases.) I thought it might all be a fever dream, or one of those Gilliam-esque flights of fancy that is grounded all too soon.

But the deal is real! Terry Gilliam has that sweet, sweet Amazon money, and he’s going to use some of it to finally — finally! — put The Man Who Killed Don Quixote out into the world. Read More »

Amazon Jim Jarmusch

Amazon has made deals with two filmmakers whose work helped define rebellion against studio control and the American independent film movement. And today, Deadline wins the no-prize for burying the lede. In a wide-ranging piece about the film market landscape, specifically oriented around Cannes deals, the site mentions that Amazon has signed deals with Jim Jarmusch and Terry Gilliam, bringing the two filmmakers to the same label that already boasted Spike Lee and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Read More »