As Empire’s old man used to say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Evidently it was the kind of cheesy maxim bandied about in the Gilliam household too, because, fresh from wrapping Doctor Parnassus, Terry Gilliam has started work on a new script for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a reprise of his ill-fated 2000 production.
Now, as anyone who’s seen Lost In La Mancha will testify, Gilliam’s original attempt to film Cervantes’ novel spiralled into ‘the movie that didn’t want to get made’, with flash floods, injuries to key cast-members and the Spanish Air Force all intervening to end the shoot after just five days.
Much legal wrangling with the insurers ensued, before rights to the script were eventually ceded back to Gilliam and writing partner Tony Grisoni (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas). “Tony and I have started rewriting Don Quixote just this last week. [We] finally got the script back. I re-read the greatest script ever written and realise we gotta get rewriting! I really wanna knock that one out in the next month or so.”
Gilliam was vaguer on details, saying only that he had “some very different ideas” for the movie, but he has not lost any of his enthusiasm for the lance-wielding Spaniard. “[I’m] starting to think I was lucky, because maybe the film will be better seven years later. It will have matured a bit longer.”
Shooting on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is likely to begin later this year. Hopefully it won't end shortly afterwards with the on-set appearance of a locust plague and a 100-foot Marshmallow Man.