Most film fans know of filmmaker and Monty Python member Terry Gilliam’s repeated attempts to direct a movie called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. They know that he has made many attempts to create the film since the 1990s, but for one reason or another it continued to seem like a doomed project. But now, Amazon.com may be Gilliam’s chance to finally to tell the world this story.
The movie is not meant to be a straight retelling of the classic tale written by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes in the 1600s. It tells the story of a young marketing man from the 21st century who travels back in time and runs into Don Quixote, a person who wishes to be like the knights in his fantasy books and becomes a makeshift man in shining armor.
In 1998 Gilliam co-wrote the script with Tony Grisoni (whom he worked with on the scripts for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Tideland), production began in 2000 with Johnny Depp as the main character and Jean Rochefort as Don Quixote.
As shown in Lost in La Mancha, a documentary about the making of the film, the director was trying to fund the movie with independent financing and so at times money was hard to come by. They also had trouble with getting insurance for the production, locations were not the best, a flood that ruined equipment and Jean Rochefort having a double herniated disc that forced him to leave, are some of the few problems that plagued them.
After that, an insurance claim lead to the director losing the rights to the film for a number of years. In 2008, production started again with Robert Duvall as Don. That soon fell through and Depp left the project as well.
Cut to now, Amazon.com has began funding movies for a number of noted directors like Spike Lee, Woody Allen, and Jim Jarmusch. While talking about the Criterion Collection re-releasing his 1994 film the Fisher King with Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams, he told the world about their hopes for Quixote. The plan for now is for the shopping site to help fund the production and then release it to theaters and on-line. When asked about the plan, Gilliam had this to say:
“They go into the cinemas first and then a month or two afterwards they go into streaming. And I think that’s good because you get a chance to see it on the big screen, and yet I know that more people have seen my films on DVD than they have in the cinemas and that’s the reality of life now.”
According to the latest casting news, John Hurt will be the new Don Quixote and Jack O’Connell will be the time traveler. No release date has been announced.
Don Quixote is a book that is on the pile of books that I need to read. Other titles include The Three Musketeers, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Count Of Monte Cristo, and many more. With that out of the way, I really hope that Terry Gilliam gets to create this movie. I love his work, from Monty Python to a number of his films, I love his kooky humor, his amazing visuals and the off the wall stories he wants to tell. I have seen Lost in La Mancha and it is just sad. If you are a person who works in or wants to work in a creative field (movies, books, design, etc..) and you watch this, you will relate to it, you will feel the pain of everything that happens to the crew, and you will see why many would like to see this film get made. Lets hope it works out.
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