The story of Terry Gilliam‘s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has evolved over the years to become the horror story parents tell young filmmakers. Gilliam set out to make his fantastical re-imagining of Cervantes’ legendary novel back in 1998, but a series of increasingly insane on-set disasters halted production and the already stretched financing fell apart, forcing the film to shut down early in its shoot. This story was told in the 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha, which began its life as a future DVD making-of doc and ended up being a tragic and darkly hilarious chronicle of a film production falling apart in slow motion.
And now, after nearly twenty years of false starts, Gilliam is closer than ever to bringing this seemingly cursed passion project to fruition. The film is cast. Location scouting has begun. Shooting starts in October. A bunch of behind-the-scenes photos has been revealed and everything. This could be actually happening.
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Terry Gilliam is like the human punching bag of filmmakers. No matter how many hits he takes — which has been far too many throughout his bumpy career — he remains passionate, persistent, and unwilling to let go of dream projects, such as The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Gilliam’s long-suffering fantastical adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel recently showed new signs of life, when the director acquired financing from overseas, which he couldn’t even get with Ewan McGregor and Robert DuVall attached to the project.
We last heard Jack O’Connell would play the protagonist, Toby, but if — and this is one big if — The Man Who Killed Don Quixote starts principal photography this September it’ll instead star Adam Driver. As for the titular role, Gilliam has enlisted an old collaborator of his, Michael Palin (Monty Python).
Learn more about Gilliam’s passionate project and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote star below.
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Posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2016 by Jacob Hall
A powerful, malevolent force of some kind does not want Terry Gilliam to make The Man Who Killed Quixote. It’s the only angle that makes sense. Something grand and mysterious and unforgiving has set its sights on Gilliam, one of our most fascinating living filmmakers, and declared “This film will not happen.” The evidence exists in headlines that go back for more than a decade – this movie has almost come together, only to be derailed at the last moment, too many times to count.
But Terry Gilliam, the genius/mad man behind Brazil, Time Bandits, The Fisher King, and Twelve Monkeys, won’t let the universe stand in his way. His passion project has officially earned new financing and will go before cameras this September. Or at least that’s the plan. There’s still plenty of time for a higher power to drop an airplane on Gilliam’s house or something.
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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 »
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 »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
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 »
Update: O’Connell has now officially been cast in Gilliam’s film. Our original article follows, and is updated with a new synopsis below.
Jack O’Connell may well be the next big guy to watch. After his stint on Skins, he showed up in 300: Rise of an Empire and ’71, and received rave notes for his work in Starred Up. Holding the lead role in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken means that half the families in the US are going to know his face after that film opens at Christmas. And now he might be the man for Terry Gilliam — The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. He would play, according to the most recent draft of the script, a guy who is connected to a Don Quixote movie which has had a fairly undesirable effect on some audiences. Read More »
If anyone knows how movies can damage people, it’s Terry Gilliam. The director has battled over many a film in his time. He fought Universal brass over Brazil, and Columbia over The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Most catastrophically, he battled weather, disaster, and illness during the original shoot of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Gilliam lost that fight, but he has been trying to make new versions of the film for several years.
Every time Don Quixote comes up for Gilliam, it changes a bit. He and screenwriter Tony Grisoni have constantly revised the movie. What was once the story of an ad man traveling into the past is now a film set entirely in the present day. Gilliam says he has financing and plans to shoot the movie after Christmas this year. He also says the movie is “more about how movies can damage people.” Read More »
Here’s something we missed earlier this week in the deluge of new project news from the marketplace at Cannes: Terry Gilliam has chosen some new actors for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. This project has been going on and off for nearly fifteen years, and the most recent incarnation had Robert Duvall set to star as Quixote, with Ewan McGregor tentatively set to play the modern-day writer who ends up back in Quixote’s time, where the old man mistakes him for Sancho Panza. Those actors are both off the project, but it isn’t dead yet. (Or dead again.)
Now there’s news that Gilliam and Spanish producer Adrian Guerra are going back into casting for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Read More »