Terry Gilliam Reveals Don Quixote Start Date

'It’s obsessive... desperate... foolish!'

The tale of Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is movie lore by now. Not-quite-making-of doc Lost In La Mancha charted the foiling of his first attempt to make it due to a combination of injury, NATO fly-bys and rotten luck. Undeterred, and with a refusal to surrender that would impress even the Spanish hidalgo, Gilliam is having another crack and has concept art to show for it and a new start date lined up.

When Empire caught up with Gilliam to talk The Zero Theorem, he revealed that production on Don Quixote will kick off on September 29 in the Canary Islands. Gilliam now has Spanish producer Adrián Guerra, veteran of Buried, Red Lights and Elijah Wood’s Grand Piano (movies made under similarly restrained circumstances) to run interference for him, help raise capital and shoot down any errant fighter jets.

“He’s really smart, loves movies,” explains the director. “He’s young enough to still love movies. But we’ve still got to cast it and get the money but other than that, that’s the deal.”

So how many Quixote casts has this film had now? “I’m hoping it’s the lucky 11," he laughs. "We keep rewriting the script each time, too, so it’s a slightly different film each time. It's the same film but the details change. Maybe it’s better, it’s certainly slightly smaller to fit into the new clothing we wear,” he said, adding wryly: “Which are cheap clothes these days.”

For Gilliam, it’s become more than just an itch that needs scratching. “It’s obsessive… desperate… pathetic… foolish,” laughs the director of his yen to make the film. “It's this growth, this tumour that's become part of my system that has to get out if I’m to survive.”

“I’ve got the opera (the ENO’s Benvenuto Cellini) to get out the way first and we start rehearsals in April. That’s for June, and there’s a week between the opera opening and Python rehearsals. And then we are at the moment starting shooting Quixote in the last week of September. If it's happening. Or not.”

With a little long-overdue luck, some handy financing and a fair wind, he’ll start shooting later this year. The Zero Theorem, meanwhile, is set for UK release on March 14