In 2001, director Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Monty Python, Twelve Monkeys), attempted to create a film version of Don Quixote , entitled The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. It became one of the most disastrous filming attempts in history. The never ending problems were captured in detail by film-makers Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe in the fabulous documentary Lost in La Mancha. From natural disasters to the exit of the main actor due to illness, everything that could have gone wrong did and the film was never completed.
Gilliam waited seven years to make his next film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. He decidedly chose to work with only young and healthy actors. He attempted to avoid any possible foreseeable problems. He hired Heath Ledger, who, almost precisely two thirds through the filming died from a drug overdose. Many assumed this film too would end up dead in the water. With creativity and the help from his friends, Gilliam was able to keep the Ledger performance in the film and completed his un-filmed portions with dream-sequence replacements by the actors, Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp and Jude Law playing his part. The actors all donated their salaries to Ledger’s daughter.
Word came out this weekend that Gilliam is once again attempting his lifelong dream of making The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. One has to ask, is this destiny? Is he simply tempting fate? There has been no “official” word yet on the casting of the film but rumors state that Ewan McGregor will play the lead.
“An advertising executive jumps back and forth in time between 21st century London and 17th century La Mancha where Don Quixote mistakes him for Sancho Panza.” (description of the screenplay from IMDb
Hopefully whoever is involved in this attempt of the film has their insurance in line prior to filming. If the film is in fact completed, Don Quixote reckons to become Gilliam’s masterpiece.
(Originally posted on www.redcarpetendings.com on 2/10/14)