It became apparent a month or two ago that Terry Gilliam was working with producer Richard Zanuck and screenwriter Pat Rushin on Zero Theorem. Just what that film was going to be wasn’t so apparent.

So I e-mailed Rushin… and he sent me a very nice, polite “Can’t Tell You” type response. But he did send me a short story he had written, in order to demonstrate the sensibility he’d also applied to Zero Theorem – or, to give it his pet-name, Zip-T. I’m happy to report that Vow: A Prolix Parable was wonderful, like an episode from The Phantom of Liberty if written by Borges.

News finally breaks today – in France, for no clear reason other than they are a generally somewhat cine-literate nation and appreciate Gilliam more than many other places – that the project is to go before cameras as of the 1st of May. Thanks, Tout Le Cine, you’ve given me a grin so wide that a mild breeze could blow the top half of my head clean off.

This scheduling is possibly tied in to delays re-mounting The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, delays very probably due to one J. Depp and his crowded schedule. Perhaps Gilliam can’t conceive of Quixote without Johnny… or perhaps the financiers can’t.

The star of Zero Theorem is to be Billy Bob Thornton, apparently playing a tormented, reclusive genius trying to find final answers to the many enigmas of existence. This will not be Transformers 2. This will not be Dance Flick. This will not be The Pink Panther 2. This will actually be worth your hard-earned and foldy, your precious time and your intelligent consideration.

There’s supposedly a Curse of Terry Gilliam – in much the way there is supposedly such a thing as ghosts, or that homeopathy supposedly works – and, rather amusingly, Defamer have also “identified” a Curse of Billy Bob Thornton.  Pat Rushin, Richard Zanuck – triple your life insurance policies now.

Now… how do I get a hold of the Zero Theorem screenplay? Anybody want to e-mail it to me?

To give you a taste of Rushin’s writing, here’s the opening of Vow:

The man hadn’t slept well that night, and at dawn he was already up and dressed.  He opened his bedroom window to the winter air, startling a flock of cackling grackles from the branches of his backyard oak.  His wife, still snugly quilted in bed, murmured a cranky protest at the draft.  “Shut it,” she complained, and at that moment, though he’d be hard pressed to articulate why, the man decided to cease speaking for the rest of his life.

At first, no one seemed to notice.

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