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Milk the Franchise | July 20, 2017

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One More Time for Terry Gilliam and Don Quixote

One More Time for Terry Gilliam and Don Quixote
Ron Seifried

Terry Gilliam sometimes needs to be restrained and told if something is too complicated on his movie sets. We have been in on this dirty little secret for years, but can’t look away from the visual spectacles his films are.

Gilliam is an auteur, visionary and brilliant artist. He is also a madman. Not in the babbling psychotic form that pops up in his films, although those roles could of been sliced from Gillian’s brain and laid out on the script for the world to see, like one of his early Monty Python animations.

No, Gilliam is embarking once again on his adaptation of “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” For twenty years, Terry Gilliam is a man obsessed with the modern retelling of a 500 year old Spanish novel. Will the seventh attempt be the keeper?

Terry Gilliam is remaking an unmade film for the seventh time.

The infamous time was in 2000 with Vanessa Paradis, Jean Rochefort and Johnny Depp in the cast and production taking place in southern Spain.

The first day of shooting the crew realized the area was literally bombarded with constant noise from a nearby NATO aircraft target practice area. We can fix it in post, says Gilliam.

Did the Location Scout work again?

Then the flash flood came.

Followed by the hail.

The equipment inevitably breaks down thanks to the flood and hail.

The lead actor Jean Rochefort suffers a herniated disc.

Production shuts down. Sets are scrapped. The cast goes home.

The insurance company pays out a $15 million claim.

Gilliam loses the rights for several years.

In 2008, he reacquired those rights.

Then in January, Gilliam posts on Facebook Art Director David Warren’s new concept drawing for Quixote, stating”Dreams of Don Quixote have begun again. Dave Warren has started doodling. Will we get the old bastard back on his horse this year? Human sacrifices welcomed. Stay tuned.”

For those interested in the disastrous production, look no further than the fly-on-the-wall documentary “Lost in La Mancha.” It should be required viewing for all students of film.

Production is scheduled to begin on Sept. 29 on the Canary Islands.

No Johnny Depp this time. He’s been assimilated in the Disney Empire and has a deal for a modern reboot of the “Don Quixote” story.

It’s probably a deal with the devil so “Pirates of the Caribbean 5” can move forward.

Adapting Miguel de Cervantes’ novel has been Gilliam’s dream for decades. A few years ago, Gilliam had Robert Duvall in the lead role with Ewan McGregor, but financing once again fell apart. No word on the cast for the latest revision, but last fall Duvall has hinted he was still on board.

Never intending to adapt Cervantes full text, Gilliam has trimmed down the script to a more manageable version than the 2000 production.

In 2010, Gilliam told Movieline “It’s a different take on [Quixote]:
He really begins to believe he’s Don Quixote, even though he’s a shoemaker.
I don’t even understand the script, totally, because he’s just so out there,
Gilliam. You know, with dwarfs on the ground and everything. I told him,
‘You can’t have too many dwarfs!’ “

Don Quixote was also an obsession for Orson Welles. Principal
photography took place between 1957 and 1969; while test footage was filmed as
early as 1955, second-unit photography was done as late as 1972, and Welles
was working on the film on and off until his death in 1985.

Let’s hope Terry Gilliam is more successful than Orson Welles. I really want to see this movie.

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