Television & Film

One More Tilt at the Windmill: Terry Gilliam to make DON QUIXOTE. Again.


There’s development hell, and there’s Terry Gilliam development hell. Gilliam, the intensely visual ex-Python turned filmmaker, has over the years garnered a reputation for creating amazing movies which behind the scenes make Burden of Dreams look like a five minute tutorial on YouTube. Books have been written about his struggles with studios to get final cut. Legends have grown about his films going over budget. And he may be the only person to have a movie made about about a movie he (thus far) has failed to make.

This movie, Lost in La Mancha (2002), documents one of Gilliam’s many attempts to get his film version of Don Quixote off the ground. The story, tentatively titled The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, has morphed repeatedly over the many years it has percolated as a Gilliam dream project, but generally falls back to the idea of the protagonist (at various times Josh Brolin, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr, Daniel Craig, and Colin Farrell, among others) finding himself riding alongside the Man of La Mancha himself, who has mistaken him for his faithful squire Sancho Panza.

This time around, the name of the hour is Adam Driver — that’s right, Kylo Ren himself. A trio of companies out of France, Spain, and Portugal are putting together financing for this latest foray, which will star Driver as a former idealistic filmmaker turned jaded publicist. While shooting a commercial in Spain, he revisits the village where he shot his own student adaptation of the Miguel de Cervantes novel, only to find that the film has practically ruined the town. It is not long before he finds himself swept into the company of Quixote (now confirmed to be fellow Python alumnus Michael Palin) in search of the legendary Dulcinea.

(Right this minute—this very minute, mark you—somebody on the internet is making a drawing of Kylo Ren savagely attacking a windmill with his lightsaber.)

The plan is to begin shooting around about September, but Gilliam fans have been here before — most recently in 2014, and before that in 2008. It seems that every few years or so, Gilliam takes another crack at this project. Perhaps this will be the the one, perhaps this time the stars will line up once and for all, and movie gods smile on this project at long, long last. Or perhaps this will simply turn out to be only the latest in a series of false starts and dead attempts in a quest that can only be described as…

No. We just can’t say it.


(Kelly Luck can’t stop humming “The Impossible Dream” for some reason. Her other SciFi4Me work can be read here.)


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