Of all the famous “unfinished” or unrealized films out there in the cinematic Holy Grail ephemera – Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ‘Dune,’ Tim Burton’s ‘Geek Love,’ David Lynch’s ‘Ronnie Rocket’ – perhaps none have become more famous than Terry Gilliam’s on-again, almost always off-again take on Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s famed Man of La Mancha.
Reimagined as something called ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,’ the original version of this long-gestating project saw famed sidekick Sancho Panza replaced by a 21st century marketing executive who was somehow thrown back in time. As both a paean to the novel as well as a social satire, it featured famed French film star Jean Rochefort in the title role and Johnny Depp as his “modern” man servant. Things did not go well, and the troubled first attempt at getting this movie off the ground wound up the subject of the stunning documentary, ‘Lost in La Mancha.’
Since then – and we’re talking 14 years ago – Gilliam has struggled with script rights issues, insurance and completion bond aggravations, and continual casting changes. The closest he came to getting ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ made was in 2008 when Robert Duvall stepped in for Rochefort and Ewan McGregor agreed to Depp’s role. As usual, funding collapsed and the famed expat member of Monty Python was again left to fight the windmills alone. Now, according to several news outlets (including Film Buff Online) and his own Facebook page, Gilliam is ready to try again. Quoting from his post of on Jan. 12:
“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.”
He also included this bit of production art by Warren:
With his latest film, the well received (and reviewed) ‘The Zero Theorem‘ hitting theaters this year, it seems this might be Gilliam’s time. Of course, he is also supposed to be starring along with the other surviving members of Python in a series of sold out live shows this summer. Since he announced back in November that he would like to shoot “in the Canary Islands next Autumn,” his work with his old mates presumably won’t interfere. Of course, since this is ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ we’re talking about, there’s a good chance that something odd or stupefyingly surreal will come along to mess things up. Maybe it’s the ghost of Cervantes trying to keep Gilliam from messing with his madman.
Source: Film Buff Online