Dreams News Bulletin: October 2003
Edited by Phil Stubbs. Updated 13 October 2003
At the end of June 2003, principal photography began on Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm. Matt Damon and Heath Ledger star as the two Grimm brothers. The picture also features Lena Headey, Jonathan Pryce and Peter Stormare. And Monica Bellucci was recently cast as an evil queen. It is being filmed at Barrandov Studios in Prague. It is set to wrap in November, after which the post-production will be brought back to London. For the latest information, consult this website's The Brothers Grimm page. Dreams spent two days on the set of the picture, and a full report will soon appear at this website.
2. New Peter Ackroyd-based project linked to Gilliam
In May 2003, it was announced that Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem might be a future Gilliam film. Stephen Woolley is set to produce a film based on Peter Ackroyd's novel of the same name. The project is described as a psychological murder mystery set in Victorian London. The script will be written by Tony Grisoni with Gilliam, and it is understood that the UK's Film Council has purchased the rights to the book on behalf of the filmmakers.
3. Lost in La Mancha news
Earlier this year, Lost in La Mancha, the documentary feature about Gilliam's failure to make his dream project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, had a successful run in American cinemas. It was followed by a 2-disc DVD release featuring hours of extras. The film was also theatrically released in France later in the year, and it opened second in the box office to Charlie's Angels 2 on its release. Lucy Darwin, the film's producer, gained a BAFTA award nomination for the picture.
4. Gilliam's Quixote dream still alive
In September 2003, Terry Gilliam reaffirmed to Dreams his desire to have another go at starting the ill-fated The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. And it looks as though Johnny Depp would be there to star in the film.
In August 2003, the BBC reported Depp recalling the aborted Quixote shoot in 2000, "We were having a ball in spite of everything that was going on around us - the curse! Torrential downpour, hail, equipment floating off into the desert, F-14s dropping test bombs between the set and the caravans. It was shocking! It was like an endless parade of, like, 'What?!' Every time I speak to Terry he's still very, very enthusiastic about getting Quixote back on the block. If he wants to do that and if he's able to do that, I'd be right there."
Meanwhile, Depp has apparently signed up to star in a filmed version of Hunter S Thompson's novel The Rum Diary.
5. Gilliam retrospectives
Due to The Brothers Grimm commitments, Terry Gilliam was unable to attend a French retrospective of his work. The Paris cinema film festival, which took place in July 2003, also celebrated the work of Leslie Cheung and Michelangelo Antonioni. In declining the opportunity to attend, Gilliam sent the following letter...
Dear Paris Cinema Festival Folk and Fans,
Directors invariably say what a great honour it is to be given a retrospective of their work. I was hoping this time to avoid repeating that old cliché, but unfortunately I can't.... because it is a great honour.....especially here in Paris. Of all the cities of the world, Paris is the one that seems to truly love and respect cinema. When I'm in Paris I feel that what we do as film makers is actually important. I get encouraged to continue.
It was in Paris where I began the first day's shooting of Brazil...to be precise it was actually Marne-le-Vallée, but it was Paris where we stayed... and it was in our hotel in the Place de la Republic that, as we were checking in, a wedding orchestra in some distant ballroom suddenly started playing the song, Brazil.
This struck me as a particularly magical omen. Possibly a marriage between Paris and our film. In a strange way it was true. When we finished the film, I had no idea what we had made. I was confused and lost. It was the Paris critics who were the first to articulate intelligently what we achieved. Luckily, they decided it was not a bad film. They even thought it was poetic... something I had never been accused of before. They gave me the confidence to fight a long and, ultimately, successful battle against Universal Pictures when the studio tried to disembowel the film for the American release. So Brazil and I owe a lot to Paris.
I'm very sad not to be able to be with you tonight. I had made all my plans, but, unfortunately, something very painful and surprising occurred making it impossible for me to come. I HAVE A JOB! I'M SHOOTING A MOVIE!
Someone has been foolish enough to give me the money.. and I'm stuck in Prague. Tonight we are finishing our first week of filming on The Brothers Grimm. Matt Damon, Heath Ledger and Jonathan Pryce won't let me leave. They think they need a director. I should be with you in Paris saying, "what a great honour it is" but they insist I stay here, up to my neck in mud and freezing rain while violent enchanted trees attack us from all sides. These are selfish people. But, they can't help themselves. They are actors. So from darkest Prague, I wish you well... and hope you survive the ordeal of having to watch all my films. You are braver than me. TERRY GILLIAM
In October and November, there is a Gilliam retrospective in Dayton, Ohio. And at the end of December 2003 & early January 2004 there is another in Astor cinema in Windsor, Melbourne, Australia.
6. The making of The Brothers Grimm
Bob McCabe is writing a book about the making of The Brothers Grimm. The book starts as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas receives its premiere in 1998, and follows the subsequent six years up to the opening of The Brothers Grimm in 2004.
McCabe has also completed editing an enormous book charting the Monty Python team - this has now been published, and there is a page on Dreams about the book, featuring a competition to win it.
The French magazine Brazil, named after Gilliam's film has reached its tenth edition. In this latest edition, the magazine's editor writes about his visit to the set of The Brothers Grimm in Prague.
The editor of Brazil, Christophe Goffette tells Dreams that one can obtain a copy of the magazine by sending a 10 Euro banknote with complete address to:
Brazil, Chemin du Haut des Buissons, 95430 Auvers sur Oise, France.
Make sure you state that you want the The Brothers Grimm edition. Available while stocks last.
8. Gilliam DVD releases
There has been a number of new releases on DVD of Terry Gilliam's films.
Fisher King - this is released in the UK at the end of October with no extras
Brazil - this has been released in the UK, with few extras (when compared to the Criterion release in the US)
Monty Python's Meaning of Life - in the US, a DVD has been released of this feature film, supervised by producer John Goldstone, which includes Gilliam's short film The Crimson Permanent Assurance. Much new material is included in the release. Customers in the USA have found technical problems with their discs, and I understand that Universal have arranged for the inferior DVDs to be exchanged with ones that work properly. This DVD - with the same extras - is set for release in the UK in 2004.
Time Bandits - The Anchor Bay DVD release is now available in the US
Jabberwocky - The film is now available on DVD in the UK.
The actor Michael Jeter, who appeared in two of Terry Gilliam's films, died in March 2003. He put in a very memorable performance as the diva bum in The Fisher King. He also featured in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Several years ago, it was annouced that Terry Gilliam was going to direct a musical theatre project for the Tiger Lillies, based around writings of Edward Gorey. The latest on this is that there will be no theatre show at present, but the songs have been recorded by the Tiger Lillies together with the Kronos Quartet. A CD has been released called The Gorey End. See this article in The Grauniad for more details.
Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman revealed how Gilliam helped out in the development of their movie MirrorMask.
Terry Gilliam appears to have lent his voice to an audio version of Douglas Adams' last book, The Salmon of Doubt.
Gilliam has penned an introduction to a book on Alan Moore. Called Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman, and edited by Gary Spencer Millidge, it is a "massive 272-page trade paperback contains contributions from a star-studded line-up of over 100 of the world's top authors, artists and comics creators paying tribute to the master of comics writing to celebrate his 50th year, with all proceeds being donated to charity."
Gilliam opposed the war in Iraq. Here's another report from The Grauniad.
Terry Gilliam appears in the movie Concert for George. It is a film of the tribute concert for George Harrison that was held in the Royal Albert Hall, featured in a previous news page. The film, directed by David Leland and produced by Ray Cooper and the Harrison family, has a limited theatrical run before a home release before Christmas 2003.
10. Recent Interviews and Interesting Links
Gilliam interviewed by The Daily Telegraph in Prague - October 2003
Total DVD interview with Gilliam
Radio interview with Gilliam, January 2003 [30 minutes]
The Onion AV Club interview with Gilliam
Gilliam, Fulton and Pepe talk to Cinefantasique
Welcome Stranger (Interview from 2001/2002)
Salman Rushdie & Terry Gilliam chat at the 2002 Telluride Film Festival
Tom Waits and Terry Gilliam chat
Another Radio interview
"This much I know" - Gilliam interviewed by The Observer, March 2003
Gilliam interview - 95 minutes, audio or text, from 1996
Dreams welcomes contributions. If you wish to send relevant comment, letters, analysis, news - then please email me. Thank you to everyone who has emailed - keep in touch. Tell me what you think of Dreams, good or bad. Send your comments to me at email@example.com
Dreams is one of the smart.co.uk family of websites. Phil Stubbs, Manchester, UK. October 2003.