Terry Gilliam will attempt to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote a seventh and final time
Terry Gilliam is not giving up on his doomed film THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE despite multiple false starts and a rotating cast. Originally conceived back in 2000, the movie was indefinitely postponed after his star, Jean Rochefort, fell ill, sets were destroyed, and budget issues ballooned. The failed attempt to first film the movie became the documentary LOST IN LA MANCHA, a fascinating look at Gilliam's style and the movie itself.
With stars including Johnny Depp, Robert Duvall, Michael Palin, and Christopher Eccleston all linked at one time or another, THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE seemed like it would eventually get made. Now, 13 years later, Gilliam is thinking about trying one more time. Despite telling Deadline he was unsure if the movie could be made, Gilliam has reversed and may make it his next project.
"I'm going to try to do 'Don Quixote' again," Gilliam responded when asked about what he's working on now. "I think this is the seventh time. Lucky seven, maybe. We'll see if it happens. This is kind of my default position, going back to that. I actually just want to make it and get rid of it. Get it out of my life."
Based on the Miguel Cervantes novel about a Spanish knight who goes on a series of satirical adventures, DON QUIXOTE is often considered one of the greatest books of all time. It is also widely considered to be unfilmable due to the complicated plot elements. Orson Welles once attempted a version of the story. It has most famously been adapted as the musical MAN OF LA MANCHA. For Gilliam's version, he combined a time travel plot device where a modern day advertising executive is transported back and becomes Quixote's sidekick, Sancho Panza.
Gilliam has often bucked the studio system and has worked primarily in Europe. Despite a cult following who love his works, Gilliam has not enjoyed much box office success since FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS and 12 MONKEYS in the late 1990s. Since then he has released THE BROTHERS GRIMM, TIDELAND, and THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, all movies with troubled productions. His upcoming THE ZERO THEOREM is generating a lot of buzz and could be Gilliam's ticket back.
I would not hold my breath for THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE based on the past results, but I would be very excited to see if he can finally get it made, even with Johnny Depp likely unavailable to star.