Matt Damon did a movie with Terry Gilliam once, and sadly, it… was not very good. At all. But despite all the evident problems with The Brothers Grimm, there is no bad blood between actor and director. In fact, Damon is now set to go back to work with Gilliam. And even if it’s just for a couple days, for a small role in Gilliam’s new film The Zero Theorem, it’s a pretty great thing.

The film stars Christoph Waltz as a computer scientist waiting for a phone call as he is preoccupied with puzzling out a theorem to determine the reason for human existence. It also features Tilda Swinton and Melanie Thierry, and today Gilliam announced via Facebook that Peter Stormare and Sanjeev Bhaskar also have roles. But until we have more idea of what they’ll be doing, let’s get to the comments from Damon about his gig.

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After many delays trying to (re)make the film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, financing for that project fell through and it seemed that Terry Gilliam was without a next feature project. So we were surprised not long ago when he announced that his next film, The Zero Theorem, is in pre-production and ready to shoot within weeks. Christoph Waltz is set to star as a man named Qohen, who works under the thumb of an organization referred to as Management, and who is trying to find the reason for human existence.

Sounds very Gilliam, and rather dark and heavy. But the director says it isn’t quite as overbearing as all that, and explains “it’s very funny. That synopsis sounds much darker and broodier than it is.” Gilliam compares the film to 12 Monkeys which, sure, is relatively light for Gilliam, but not exactly easy going on the whole.

His comments on the script — in development back in 2009 and thought scrapped since then — aren’t limited to that, however. After the break, get the lowdown on how The Zero Theorem is almost a one-room show, and what else it has to offer. Read More »

It might have been as fat back as 2009 when we last heard about The Zero Theorem, a sort of sci-fi exploration into the existence, or lack thereof, of meaning in life. Written by Pat Rushin, the script was once in development by Terry Gilliam, but it seemed like he had scrapped it quite a while ago.

Just because Gilliam pushes pause on something doesn’t mean it is gone, however, and now The Zero Theorem is back, and with Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained) replacing the once-attached Billy Bob Thornton as the man set to play Qohen Leth, “an eccentric and reclusive computer genius.” Read More »

Is there any film project more tenacious than Terry Gilliam‘s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote? The film just cannot be, er, killed, no matter what happens. Casting problems? It will overcome. Funding and script issues? This movie shrugs them off. Acts of God aren’t even enough.

The film first came together in 2000, with Gilliam directing Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort in the lead roles. The production was beset by disastrous weather, interruption from planes, and injury to Rochefort. The production was scrapped, inspiring the documentary Lost in La Mancha.

The film was revived in 2009 with a rewritten script and possible new casting, with Robert Duvall replacing Rochefort and Ewan McGregor eventually taking Depp’s role. But financing for that version dried up and the project went dormant again. Now the film’s screenwriter, Tony Grisoni, says the film is potentially happening once more. Read More »

The surviving members of the Monty Python troupe –  John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin – have very rarely appeared as Monty Python since the death of Graham Chapman in 1989.

But the five actors have shown up together in various configurations in a few projects over the years. Now a new one is brewing: Absolutely Anything, a hybrid live-action/CG sci-fi farce that is planning to feature the living Pythons as “a group of aliens who endow an earthling with the power to do “absolutely anything” to see what a mess he’ll make of things.” Read More »

Briefly: You might remember that we’ve covered the new short from Terry Gilliam, The Wholly Family, a couple times in the past. It’s a weird setup, where Gilliam was one of a number of filmmakers hired by Italian pasta company Garofalo to make short films set in or otherwise concerning Naples. Gilliam’s movie is probably the most high-profile of the efforts, and it follows “an American family vacationing in Naples and the surreal visions of their young son after he steals a Pulcinella—the black masked unofficial mascot of the city—from a street cart.”

Most of us haven’t yet had a chance to see the short, but Anne Thompson passes along word that the film will stream from The Guardian for two weeks starting 7pm GMT on January 23, at a price of £1.99. (Currently about $3 US.) The offer isn’t available to residents of Italy, likely because of licensing concerns, but all other countries can access the stream. Those who check it out right when the film goes live will also get a live interview and Q&A with Gilliam.

Hit the break to check out the teaser for the short, in case you missed it when it ran last year. Read More »

Novelist Paul Auster has seen his work on screen through a variety of processes: The Music of Chance adapts his novel of the same name (not very well); Smoke and Blue in the Face are the product of a collaborative writing/directing process with Wayne Wang, and Mr. Wang also filmed The Center of the World, on which Mr. Auster was a story collaborator.

So: several films, but few direct novel adaptations. That could be in part due to the fact that his books aren’t quite straight fiction, but rather a blend of genre tropes, existential curiosity and magical realism. Not the easiest adaptations. Those elements also make up a good part of the ingredient list for Terry Gilliam‘s scripts, however, and so it makes sense that he is now writing a script based on Mr. Auster’s novel Mr. Vertigo. Read More »

One of Terry Gilliam‘s many recent non-feature projects is The Wholly Family, a short film funded by Italian pasta company Garofalo. The company commissioned a set of short films set in or otherwise concerning Naples, and Gilliam is one of the people tapped to take advantage of the option. We haven’t seen anything from the film since some stills hit in February, but a teaser trailer hit the web a week or two back, and you can see it below. Read More »

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