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Film Studies 101
Feature
The A-Z Of Terry Gilliam
An alphabetical guide to the singular - and possibly cursed - director

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INJURY

Lost In La Mancha

A Gilliam set is a dangerous place to be. After working on Munchausen, former Python Eric Idle gave some sage advice about the director’s films: “You don’t ever be in them. Go and see them by all means – but to be in them, fucking madness!” On that very film, a nine-year-old Sarah Polley (now best known for Stories We Tell) found the experience “physically grueling and unsafe”. On the notorious – and abandoned – The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, lead actor Jean Rochefort (then 70 years old) injured himself riding a horse and was flown back to Paris with a double herniated disc. And even the great man himself hasn’t escaped without battle scars. As he revealed to Wired, he broke his back on the set of Doctor Parnassus when a bus backed into him. “Vertebrae [were] cracked, muscles were ripped to shreds... I didn’t sue the company, I hate that sort of thing, so they gave me physical therapy and all that stuff, plus they gave me free transport, which was very useful to finish the film up.”
 

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