People who’ve seen the documentary Lost in La Mancha know about director Terry Gilliam’s ill-fated efforts to bring the story of Don Quixote to the screen. That film reported on just one of many attempts by Gilliam to bring the story of Quixote to life. Now he’s announced a seventh attempt to complete the seemingly jinxed project.
Terry Gilliam is nothing if not determined. The Monty Python alumni has been doggedly resolute in striving to get his vision of the classic Miguel de Cervantes story “the Misadventures of Don Quixote” made since the 1990s. His script, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” has been a near-obsession of his for almost 20 years. He’s had six failed attempts to realize his dream project and now he’s trying again. You have to admire his stick-to-it-iveness.
While screening his upcoming film Zero Theorem—which stars Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton—at the Camerimage Festival of the Art of Cinematography in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Gilliam spoke to ComingSoon.net about his future projects and he commented prominently on “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”.
“I'm going to try to do 'Don Quixote' again," Gilliam said when asked about what he's working on next. "I think this is the seventh time. Lucky seven, maybe. We'll see if it happens. This is kind of my default position, going back to that. I actually just want to make it and get rid of it. Get it out of my life."
Gilliam first began filming the project in 2000. It was to star French actor Jean Rochefort as Quixote and Johnny Depp as a time-travelling sidekick named Toby. Numerous production disasters and lack of funding doomed the project. The collapse of the film was well-detailed in the excellent documentary film Lost in La Mancha. (2002) Gilliam has tried to revisit the project five times since then. His plans almost came to fruition in 2010, with Robert Duvall as Quixote and Ewan McGregor as the Sancho Panza. Once again, however, the unlucky project died a quick death. Now it’s time for “lucky seven”.
Gilliam isn’t the first one to have bad luck in making an adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’s “the Misadventures of Don Quixote”. Citizen Kane director Orson Welles had written his own adaptation and spent years trying to get the funding to complete it. He did manage to begin filming in Spain, with actor Francisco Reiguera in the title role, but sadly, Reiguera died and Wells ran out of money. He never managed to complete his version of the film.
Gilliam is hoping to have better luck than Welles did. He didn’t give any hints about who he is thinking of casting or if any of the past intended cast members will be recontacted. The ever-determined Gilliam seems hopeful that this time he’ll finally manage to finish his pet project. Let’s wish him luck for a lucky seventh attempt.