Terry Gilliam on 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote': "We’ve almost finished the cut"


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I won't go into great detail about the bad luck and mishaps that have hampered Terry Gilliam's passion project "The Man who Killed Don Quixote" for the better part of three decades, but, suffice to say, it seems like the cursed project finished production on June 4th and is now practically completed in the editing room. The last setback, if you remember, was John Hurt's death, which was settled with Gilliam regular Jonathan Pryce taking over the role.

“Well, we’ve almost finished the cut,” Gillima recently told The New York Times. “We’re just fiddling now, figuring out a few things here and there so it’s pretty much what it is. We’ve got still months of work to do on visual effects, sound, music. But as far as the tale, it’s pretty tight now and it’s surprisingly wonderful."

“I always hesitate to get too optimistic or too excited about the work I’m doing,” he told The Times. “I’d rather try to stay cynical and slightly distant from it. When you fall in love with something, it’s painful when it doesn’t work for everybody else. But all the people who’ve seen it so far — they used the words, ‘We’re in love with this.’ So let’s see if they’re right.”

Gilliam's struggles to make the film were well documented in the 2002 documentary "Lost in La Mancha." Here is an excerpt from my review which summarizies the plight Gilliam's had in making the movie:

"Terry Gilliam was able to start shooting his dream project about Don Quixote  "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," in 2000, starring Johnny Depp and, in the title role of Don Quixote, French actor Jean Rochefort. That was the only positive news that happened it seems because, due to budget problems, shooting schedule problems, horrible weather problems, and the unfortunate ill health of actor Rochefort, the production was a disaster before production even began. There were only 6 days of shooting before the entire thing was scraped and "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" was completely abandoned."

"Lost In La Mancha," a documentary that captures the first eight weeks of pre-production (another nightmare experience for Gilliam) to the disastrous six-day shoot that followed. It is frustrating to watch because one moment we see Gilliam all giddy and ready to go, and the next minute he's having a mental breakdown over the sheer bad luck happening all around his dream project."

"A feeling of what could have been exudes throughout the picture, the terrific sets, costumes and production design that were created for the movie (including perfectly synchronized Gilliam-esque life-size marionette puppets) give out an over all feeling of what might have been. Maybe there will be a day when it can be realized, but it seems like the dark cloud looming over this picture at the moment is too compromised to just easily go away"

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