Dreams: 2006 News Blog

Edited by Phil Stubbs

A news review of Gilliam's work during 2006.

As 2006 started, The Brothers Grimm had already been released around the world, and all work on Tideland had been completed. Tideland's producer Jeremy Thomas was still trying to sell the Tideland's distribution rights to a number of territories. At the end of 2005, during British publicity interviews for Grimm, Gilliam had mentioned three projects that might be his next project:
  • The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, but there was to be no progress on this until Jeremy Thomas was able to get hold of the script
  • Good Omens, a version of the Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman book for which Gilliam has already performed significant preparation
  • Anything for Billy, a western scripted by Larry McMurtry
Terry Gilliam appeared in a documentary feature film about singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson, who died in 1994. Entitled Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?), the picture includes new and archive audio and film including interviews with Robin Williams, Yoko Ono, Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman, Ray Cooper, the Smothers Brothers, and Micky Dolenz. Directed by John Scheinfeld, the film has an official website (beware of flashing effects), and was shown in February at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Harry Nilsson
At the end of January, Gilliam took Tideland to the Rotterdam Film Festival. In an interview at Rotterdam, Gilliam bemoaned the way in which Grimm was released by Miramax. He also confirmed that he was working on several projects:
  • The Man Who Killed Don Quixote – with Jeremy Thomas still seeking to win back the rights to the script
  • Good Omens
  • The Defective Detective, with Gilliam mentioning possibly working with Dave Mckean
  • Anything for Billy
Filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk, whose work was a key influence for Gilliam and the Brothers Quay, died on 3 February. His feature film Goto, Isle of Love was important influence to Gilliam and Terry Jones for the look and feel of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Here's an obituary from the Grauniad.

At the end of February, Gilliam declared to Dreams, "I've joined the circus. I am co-directing Slava Polunin's new show, Diabolo. Slava is the most famous, most wonderfully profound Russian clown. He is very famous for his current show, Snowshow, which has played all over the world and is still playing in New York" . There is a page in Dreams dedicated to the relaunching of Slava's show Diablo in Tel Aviv, if the reader wishes to find out more.

Slava Polunin performing Snowshow
While in Israel, Gilliam did a couple of Q&A sessions. He revealed that he had offered George Clooney the lead in a future version of The Defective Detective, to which Clooney "very charmingly refused". Also, Johnny Depp is most likely to be in Good Omens, yet Robin Williams is most likely to be out of the project. Gilliam also revealed that he had voted for Crash at the Academy Awards.

There were several interviews with Gilliam in the Israeli press while he was there. The most notable was with The Jerusalem Post's David Horovitz, who took issue with Gilliam's views on Arab/Israeli relations.

Gilliam visited the Bangkok International Film Festival with Tideland. There, he was interviewed by BBC News Online. He said the following about movie piracy, ""It's hard for me to worry about the studios losing money. I'm not very sympathetic to their money problems, because they certainly haven't been sympathetic to mine. When you look at one of their accounting sheets you realise you're never going to see a penny, so if someone wants to rip them off that's fine with me. If you're going to pirate, though, make sure the quality's good. Have some respect for what you're pirating!"

Terry Gilliam's Personal Best selection of Monty Python material was released on DVD in the USA. This includes Gilliam's all-animation selection of his Monty Python highlights.

In March, the UK distributor of Tideland was announced as Revolver, a company that had released Herzog's Grizzly Man in Britain.

The Tideland website was given a Webby Nomination, but the award was eventually given to the Sundance Film Festival.

Gilliam, together with Python colleague Terry Jones, both acted in Albert Dupontel's latest feature film. Called Enferme Dehors, it was released in France in April 2006. There is an official website and also on the director's own site, Gilliam and Jones give their views on the film together with further behind-the-scenes footage of Gilliam and Jones in their costumes. Gilliam appears to have played a menacing baby.

Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones in character in Enferme Dehors

Gilliam worked with a group of German artists to create an installation in Berlin called Past People of Potsdamer Platz. Click on this link for a page within Dreams with pictures and video of the project. Gilliam told Dreams that, "It involves four headless figures which, if you stick your head in their necks, you learn about the history of the place and, at the same time, have your photo taken to be combined with faces from the past on 10 floor-high light display on the side of a building facing the square."

Part of Past People of Potsdamer Platz

In June, the UK publicity for Tideland began with Terry Gilliam and author Mitch Cullin appearing together at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival. They presented a screening of Tideland and answer questions afterwards. "Susan" left a few notes at the Dreams Messageboard... without spoilers...

I saw Tideland in Hay last night... It was brilliant. First, it's a bit worrying when the director of a film stands up before a screening and asks the audience to bear with the movie and not to walk out. It came across as a bit defensive. Nevertheless, some people did leave. And I suppose the film is rather challenging for the squeamish, whether physically, morally or emotionally.

I did stay and the more I've thought about it over the past 24 hours the more impressed I am. Visually, it's very beautiful. It's different too, because while it has many of the visual trademarks you'd expect, the overwhelming impression is of the landscape and the way the characters (humans, dolls, houses etc) exist within it. The colours are stunning. Jodelle Ferland is really amazing. She held my attention for the entire film and drew me completely into her world. For those who couldn't get to Hay, I promise it will be worth the wait.

A recording of Gilliam and Cullin's chat has been made available at the Grauniad's website. Right click on this link and then select "Save Target As" in order to download the mp3 file onto your own computer drive.

Also this month, Gilliam took Tideland to Brussels, from where a positive review was provided to Aint-it-Cool-News. In Brussels there was also a retrospective of Gilliam's work. Further, the director was asked to select his favourite films, which were all screened as a "Carte Blanche" season in the city. The films Gilliam selected were:

Seven Samurai
The Birth of a Nation
Edward Scissorhands
The Party
Baron Prasil
The Seventh Seal
The Saragossa Manuscript
El Angel Exterminador
La Jetée
Sherlock Jr.
Lost Highway
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Citizen Kane
Jason and the Argonauts
2001: a Space Odyssey

Tideland went in general release in France in June.

Just before the opening of Tideland in the UK, Dreams invited fans of Terry Gilliam's work to think up questions they would like to ask Terry. Hundreds arrived in the Dreams mailbox, and a selection of these were fired at Gilliam. The resulting interview, stretching over two webpages, is a click away within Dreams.

Terry Gilliam with Phil Stubbs in Manchester
In the Ask Terry feature, Gilliam talked about how frustrated he was with Good Omens. He also said that he had talked with Michael Palin about a project called Water Music. Gilliam's response about Water Music from this interview was nicked from Dreams and featured extensively in the world's media... here it is in the UK's Daily Express (which has the nerve to call itself the World's Greatest Newspaper!).

In August, Tideland went on general release in the UK. There were a series of events, which were summarised on another page within Dreams. Terry Gilliam came up to Manchester to present the picture at the Cornerhouse cinema and arts centre. He introduced the film and was interviewed by Dreams editor Phil Stubbs after the screening. This whole event is available for download. Click here to watch the video (this should open up your default media player).

Also that week there was an interview with Gilliam on BBC News 24. Gavin Esler interviewed Gilliam for the programme HardTalk.

Gilliam in NYC, Oct 2006
Tideland played in Harry Knowles's Fantastic Fest festival in Texas in September. Knowles raved about the film, describing it as a masterpiece, and going on to say that it is "a film that challenges you, offends you and shakes up your perception of the world."

Early in October, Gilliam toured several US cities to publicise Tideland's American release. For further details of this, including a stunt in New York City, where Gilliam appeared outside the recording of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, see the relevant Dreams webpage

In a substantial and intelligent radio interview with The Future Sound of America, Gilliam told Jesse Thorn that his next project would likely be a relatively small $20million picture, because that is the funding level that he can more easily acquire than the middle-range $80m projects. This interview is available to download.

Many short films featuring Terry Gilliam and his work have now been uploaded to YouTube. Here are a selection:
In mid-October Spamalot, the stage musicial based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, received its opening night in London's West End. The BBC covered its first night, which Gilliam and three other Pythons attended.

In November, the British Film Institute released a wonderful 2-disc DVD collection of the short films of the Brothers Quay.

In the November issue of Uncut magazine, there was an interview with Blur and Gorillaz musician Damon Albarn, who said he was working with Terry Gilliam on a Gorillaz picture. Albarn said that Gorillaz "has been a fantastic journey which isn't over, because we're making a film. We've got Terry Gilliam involved. But as far as being in a big band and putting pop music out there, it's finished. We won't be doing that any more." No further information about the project was available.

In November, the Royal College of Art held its annual postcard sale to support its students. Gilliam's cartoon was one of many postcards, all of which had the same price: £35.

In December, Gilliam gave an interview to FilmFour, primarily to publicise the Python Personal Best DVDs' release in the UK. Gilliam says that he had no project in the pipeline, except for the Tideland DVD. He regrets that the stars he wants for Good Omens (and whose commitment would secure funding) are not available. Also, he says that he's hoping that the script for Quixote will be back before Christmas. Gilliam added, "When we do get it back, I'll make one phone call and that'll be to Johnny Depp: 'When are you available?' "

There was an interview with Gilliam in Creativity magazine, in which the director talked about what his next film might be. Gilliam said that he was in the final stages of resecuring the script rights to Quixote, and also that he's working on a script for a new film, about "a person with eternal life who's basically a storyteller, but the world has moved on, and his brand of storytelling is of no interest." This new script is presumably aimed at the $20m budget, the level at which Gilliam thinks his films are likely to gain funding.

Max Evry interviewed the scriptwriter of The Fisher King, Richard LaGravenese, in December. In the interview, LaGravenese gave an update on The Defective Detective. He said, "There's no status, we're just still trying. There's another draft that we have and we're still trying to push it through the system... I still have faith in it, [Terry's] not so sure. His heart's gotten broken a few times."

Click here for a piece of art that Gilliam created for Christmas 2006.
Gilliam's postcard

[Dreams home] [News] [Movies] [Interviews] [Detail] [Links]