At the Deauville American Film Festival filmmaker Terry Gilliam, who is in production in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, admitted the project has stalled – again. Gilliam conceded, “The financing collapsed about a month and a half ago.”
Of course, this is Gilliam’s second attempt at mounting his Don Quixote film. The first’s production and collapse was heartbreakingly documented in Lost in La Mancha in 2002. That time around, Gilliam had Jean Rochefort (Tell No One) and Johnny Depp on board. Notably, this was before Depp became box office gold with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Personally, I thought that after the blockbuster success of Pirates – Gilliam could get Depp back and have no troubles with funding. However, while Depp did come on board to help fill the role of the departed Heath Ledger in Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, it was Ewan McGregor who was ultimately cast in Depp’s old role, with Robert Duvall as Don Quixote.
Gilliam’s been trying to make his imagined Don Quixote production for decades. And despite this most recent setback, he gives no credence to the “curse of Quixote,” a superstition that those who attempt to bring the Cervantes’ novel to life are doomed to fail.
While frustrated, telling the film festival’s audience, “I shouldn’t be here. The plan was to be shooting ‘Quixote‘ right now,” Gilliam insisted he will continue to seek funding, and hopes to be in production soon, saying, “Don Quixote gives me something to look forward to, always. Maybe the most frightening thing is to actually make the film.”
Another worrisome factor for Gilliam’s production is that Joel Silver, with Warner Bros., has his own Don Quixote project in the works. Silver’s version will be a swashbuckler looking to capitalize on the Pirates frenzy. This action-adventure Don Quixote will in fact be a knight fighting dragons – not a nut tilting at windmills. The two films are undoubtedly very different takes on Don Quixote, but can Gilliam’s odd underdog undertaking make it through production when Silver’s got a better box office track record and easier access to funding?
Is Gilliam tilting at windmills?