After More Than a Decade, Terry Gilliam‘s ‘Don Quixote’ Is Back on Track
After 17 years spent milling around development hell, Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Don Quixote ranks among the greatest films never made. The celebrated director of such wild-eyed satires as Brazil and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas took on a mad mission of his own in tackling the legendary picaresque novel from Miguel Cervantes, landing Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort to star in the tale of a deluded knight pursuing farcical missions around the Spanish countryside while providing subtle critiques of class and religion. The 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha chronicles Gilliam’s long and arduous road to realizing this vision, which included everything from flash floods to technical hassles to a serious illness from Rochefort that would ultimately table the entire production and result in a $15 million insurance claim.
Now, Gilliam’s patience and perseverance have been rewarded. In what is either exhilarating news or the cruelest April Fools’ Day prank in recent memory, his Don Quixote has gotten back on track thanks to an co-production deal spanning several countries, with companies in Spain, Portugal, and France coming together to finance Gilliam’s film, which has, ironically, become a more quixotic pursuit than anything Don Quixote actually did. Returning to the original title of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, the film will begin production in September, with Gilliam regular John Hurt and Jack O’Connell assuming the roles once reserved for Rochefort and Depp, respectively. The Hollywood Reporter has the full story, detailing an $18.2 million budget (a substantial step up from his allotment for his recent The Zero Theorem, estimated at somewhere between $8 and $13 million), as well as plans to shoot in the rolling hills of Spain and Portugal. So long as the mighty hand of God doesn’t descend from the heavens to crush Gilliam’s dreams into dust once again, it looks like this could actually happen.