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Terry Gilliam Shares Big Details on ‘Zero Theorem’

Written by on August 20, 2012 

Many were taken aback when word dropped that Terry Gilliam was not only gearing up for a new film, but would also be doing so with Christoph Waltz as the star. Lo and behold, the director will really be doing Zero Theorem, a wild-sounding sci-fi picture which the director, in speaking to fansite Dreams (via ThePlaylist), promises will be far more humorous than the original logline — that, we should understand, is “much darker and broodier than it is.”

In fact, Gilliam feels Theorem, along with recalling 12 Monkeys, is really “much simpler than anything I’ve done,” seeing as about two-thirds of the project is set inside the main character’s habitat: a burned-out chapel. (If you like, this could be seen as “a metaphor for old beliefs and old systems.” I’ll take it.) The creative responsibilities are rather interesting to ponder, then, and in a problem that would be relished by the likes of David Cronenberg, this means he’s forced to direct in a confined space; this, apparently, can only force Gilliam to master an ability “to keep it interesting.” Seeing as Zero Theorem a) has four main characters and b) focuses on “relationships, and discovering what’s really important in life,” though, small conditions might be for the best.

With that in mind, however, here’s what the director said about directing exteriors:

“There are a few scenes outside, but not many. What I’m trying to do within those scenes, is to try to barrage the audience with what the world is really about. A year ago I was talking to Tom Stoppard about what we would do with Brazil now, and neither of us could work out how we’d deal with the way the world works now. But this one is giving me a bit of room to come up with part of what I’m critical about in the world, so I’ll make the most of that.”

(If you, like myself, appreciate the world-building in Brazil — and you should; it’s some of the best ever conceived — that’s a nice little sign.)

While ambitious / strange projects have been both Gilliam‘s forte and the big stopgap in many projects getting anywhere, Theorem has been greenlit; actors are coming aboard, too, though he can’t publicly reveal who. The designs are done, sets are being constructed, catering companies have been called — it’s really coming together. I’m thrilled.

Does Zero Theorem, with these updates, sound like a project worthy of Gilliam’s talents?

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