The very occasional working relationship between Tom Waits and Terry Gilliam is something that has given me great pleasure for a long time. It was a thrilling surprise when Waits played a cameo in The Fisher King in 1991; Terry Gilliam then used the Waits track ‘Earth Died Screaming’ for a key point in Twelve Monkeys, and it all lead up to Waits’ big role in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Now the Gilliam/Waits partnership is on again, but with a slightly new twist: the two are providing voices for a 30-minute short called The Monster of Nix, by Dutch artist/director Rosto. Read More »

The Weinstein Co. has released a trailer for Julian Schnabel‘s Miral, starring Slumdog Millionaire actress Freida Pinto. The film covers five decades of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Pinto playing a young woman who falls for a political activist (Omar Metwally, Munich) and becomes involved in the Palestine liberation movement. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Miral, the new film from Julian Schnabel, was picked up recently by The Weinstein Company, who will release the picture in December. That’s far enough out that there isn’t a domestic trailer yet available. But a French trailer has arrived, and you can get a very good idea of the film by checking it out. Read More »


Two stories today about filmmakers hitting the stage. (Well, one of them is about a filmmaker returning to the stage, but close enough.) First, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are working with Robert Lopez on what is likely to be the musical about Mormons that the three guys have been working on for ages. Lopez was one of the composers and lyricists behind Avenue Q, the adult-themed ‘update’ of Sesame Street. That featured numbers about porn, racism and homosexuality, so it should be fun to see what the three come up with on the topic of Mormonism. Oh, people will probably be angry. An August-September run is planned for the New York Theater Workshop. [Variety]

After the break, the man behind In Bruges teams up with the avant-musical duo of Tom Waits and Robert Wilson. Read More »


If anyone remains unsure, Heath Ledger‘s filming and voice work on The Dark Knight were completed before his unfortunate death yesterday (click here for latest updates). However, it would seem that the status of his last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which marked his second collaboration with director Terry Gilliam following 2005’s The Brothers Grimm, is in jeopardy. Variety reports that the film had recently finished up its London leg of the shoot and had moved on to Vancouver to continue filming before the incident stunned the world. Producers of the $30 million indie film have not yet issued a statement regarding how Ledger’s death will impact production. Whether the role will be recast and whether the film can even proceed are not known.

Seeing that Ledger was the film’s largest star, with a sizable lead on co-stars Christopher Plummer and Tom Waits in terms of name recognition, this is detrimental. His casting was pivotal to the financing of the project. As most of us know, Gilliam’s films and almost-films have a long history of unfortunate events, budget issues and creative conflicts that put his latest films’ box office prospects on shaky ground. This was all painfully exemplified in the 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha, which chronicled the downward spiral of Gilliam’s never completed $35 million The Man Who Killed Don Quixote with Johnny Depp in the lead. The final nail in that film’s coffin was the illness of star Jean Rochefort.

Doctor Parnassus follows an ancient traveling theater company “which arrives in modern London with a magical mirror that can transport its audience into fantastical realms of the imagination.” Plummer plays the title doctor, while Ledger’s role is that of an outsider who must fend off the devil in order to rescue the doc’s daughter, played by Lily Cole.

The trade also reports that Ledger was gearing up for his directorial debut, an adaptation of the 1983 Walter Tevis novel The Queen’s Gambit, about a female chess prodigy, rumored to star Juno phenom Ellen Page.

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