Dreams: 2007 News Blog

Edited by Phil Stubbs


A news review of Gilliam's work during 2007... in reverse chronological order.

December 2007
The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus started shooting on the evening of December 9. Location shooting in December and January 2008 will be followed by studio work in Vancouver. After that a model unit will shoot and CGI work will be performed in London.

Variety reported the start of the Dr Parnassus shoot. In an article by Adam Dawtrey. Gilliam is quoted as saying:

"It's autobiographical. I'm trying to bring a bit of fantasticality to London, an antidote to modern lives. I loved this idea of an ancient travelling show offering the kind of storytelling and wonder that we used to get, to people who are just into shoot-em-up action films. Parnassus is trying to bring amazement to people, and not doing a very good job of it, because they aren't paying attention to him. But if they will enter his mirror, and allow their imagination to mix with his, they enter these extraordinary worlds, and they come back transcendent -- or they strangely disappear."

Later in December, two websites had reports from the shooting of the new Gilliam film, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus:

Website London SE1 has two pictures of the Imaginarium itself...

...and Just Jared has pictures from the night shoot at Blackfriars bridge on 15 December - but beware there are SPOILERS.

October 2007
It's been confirmed to Dreams that Terry Gilliam's new project The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus is to start shooting in December. With Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer and Tom Waits, Verne Toyer, Andrew Garfield and Lily Cole. A special preview has been added to Dreams, featuring a synopsis and a concept drawing. This Dreams preview has been featured on dozens of movie websites around the world, including Aint-it-Cool and Empire Online.

September 2007
A Belgian website called Digg has a new interview with Terry Gilliam. Regarding his next project, Dr Parnassus, the filmmaker says, “this week is the critical week. By the end of the week, I think I'll know whether we have the financing for the next one”.

June 2007
A fresh interview with Terry Gilliam at The Roundhouse is now available at YouTube. No new information about projects, but a few thoughts from the filmmaker about the studies one should do to become a filmmaker.

It's been announced that Terry Gilliam will direct an opera at La Scala in July 2008. He will tackle Umberto Giordano's Andrea Chénier, about a poet guillotined during the French revolution, the story which also provided Charles Dickens with material for A Tale of Two Cities. Stéphane Lissner, the opera house's superintendent, said, "Even in this historic venue there is room for innovation and the choice of interesting directors who can work well with established conductors."

"They want me for my cinematic eye, but the fact remains that I am a complete amateur when it comes to opera, so we will be leaving out vegetables and fruit for the audience to throw," Gilliam told The Grauniad. The director was unimpressed by previous versions of Andrea Chénier, which debuted at La Scala in 1896, and added, "I saw all the prettily coloured scenery and said, 'This isn't right, what about the Reign of Terror?' Nobody shows the guillotine. How about a huge sword of Damocles-like guillotine hanging over the stage?"

A Time Out correspondent, not a fan of the opera, said that "Chénier is a conventional stand-and-bawl 1896 melodrama where lung-power disguises mediocre music. Italians know what they like in these horsehair-stuffed antiques: celebs who line up and hit the high notes. Gilliam’s brilliant visual sense and designs by Dante Ferretti may be wasted on such tosh."

Over in Spain for Tideland's general release, Gilliam did several interviews in which he was asked about his latest project. In El Pais (an interview in Spanish), he revealed that Tom Waits and Heath Ledger were lined up for roles in The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. Further, in a video interview (in English), Gilliam said that his producers were in LA looking to raise the money to make Parnassus. The producers are William Vince (a producer of Capote), and Amy Gilliam, who has worked on the last three of the director's films.

The Saturn Awards were held in May. Jodelle Ferland received a nomination for her performance in Tideland, but did not win an award.

Modest Mouse


Gilliam was given an award at this year's 23rd Fantastic Film Festival in Amsterdam. Video of the award presentation is here.

In April, there was rumour that Gilliam and Heath Ledger would team up to make a video for American indie rock band Modest Mouse. Frontman Isaac Brook told Dose that the selected track is King Rat, and added, "We kind of befriended Heath Ledger a while back through our tour manager, and he'd been wanting to do a video. Just recently, a couple of days ago, he [Ledger] said Terry Gilliam wants to animate it. So, that's really fucking exciting."

Also in April, Damon Albarn again talked about the prospect of working with Gilliam on a forthcoming Gorillaz movie, though at this point nothing appeared firm about this project going ahead.

On St George's Day, April 23, Gilliam joined fellow Python Terry Jones and mayor of London Ken Livingstone to conduct an "orchestra" of coconut bangers. There's more information on this at the BBC News website.

Gilliam with
Ken Livingstone
with Terry Jones

Early in March, Gilliam was in Rome to publicise the release of Tideland.

The movie news website Film Ick managed to get its hands on a script for The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. It's not the latest draft of the script that Film Ick has obtained, but the article contains significant details of the setup and plot of the movie... so read the article if you would like such information at this early stage of the project.

Terry Gilliam has written an article for Dreams. Entitled The Joys of Independent Filmmaking, it features the filmmaker's experiences of indie distribution in the USA.

The release of the DVD of Tideland in America and Canada has brought complaints from fans of the film. The US release was cropped left and right, and the frame was opened up at the top to reveal more information, which was not intended to be shown by Gilliam. For the full story, read the Dreams article, featuring the views of director.

Terry Gilliam was given a special award at the Art Directors' Guild bash in February. Gilliam told Dreams, "The Art Directors' Guild gave me an award for something... probably for hiring art directors. They called it Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery. So it was a not-too-heavy award, before the Oscar chaos."

In an interview with UK-based magazine SFX, Gilliam spoke about his Heroes and Inspirations. Click on SFX PART ONE and SFX PART TWO to read about the director's interest in Philip K. Dick, the Bible and cardboard boxes.

At the end of February, Gilliam revealed to Dreams the title of his new project, written with Charles McKeown: The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus.

In February, the Canadian Genie awards were held. There were six nominations for Gilliam's Tideland, including Best Actress for Jodelle Ferland. No awards were given to the picture.

A still from
The Miracle of Flight
At a screening of Tideland in Hatfield, UK, on January 23, Terry Gilliam revealed that he and writing partner Charles McKeown had just finished a new original script. McKeown has collaborated on several projects with Gilliam before, most notably on the 1989 fantasy The Adventures of Baron Munchasen. McKeown also worked on Brazil's shooting script and also the Watchmen script when Gilliam and Joel Silver were attempting to get it to screen.

This is likely to be the script Gilliam has been talking about for a while, 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."

An early animation by Gilliam, called The Miracle of Flight, has been uploaded to YouTube. Click here to watch the short film, first featured in Marty Feldman's Comedy Machine, a television programme from the early 1970s.

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