In one week, the Venice Film Festival will kick off the fall festival season, and among the may buzz-worthy titles making their premiere is one that, as of yet, hasn't booked a stateside date: Terry Gilliam's "The Zero Theorem." The director's latest offering, an ambitious sci-fi effort in the spiritual vein of "Brazil," brings together a star-laden cast — Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Melanie Thierry, Ben Whishaw, David Thewlis, Matt Damon, and Peter Stormare — to tell the story of an eccentric and reclusive computer genius (Waltz) plagued with existential angst. While working on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence, Waltz's recluse finds himself continually diverted and interrupted by The Management.
It all sounds right in Gilliam's distinct wheelhouse, and as always he's keeping out of step with Hollywood's fashionable trends. "Hopefully, it’s unlike any film you have seen recently; no zombies, no caped crusaders, no aliens," he says in his director's statement about the movie, and given the glut of that stuff we've had already this year, it's a welcome announcement. We'll have more about the film in the coming days, but until then, here's Gilliam's full statement followed by the first rather eye-catching poster for the movie.
Update 08/22: We've received Terry Gilliam's new director's statement about the film. Read it below.
When I made Brazil in 1984, I was trying to paint a picture of the world I thought we were living in then. The Zero Theorem is a glimpse of the world I think we are living in now.
Pat Rushin's script intrigued me with the many pertinent questions raised in his funny, philosophic, and touching tale.
For example: What gives meaning to our lives, brings us happiness? Can we ever find solitude in an increasingly connected, constricted world? Is that world under control or simply chaotic?
We’ve tried to make a film that is honest, funny, beautiful, smart and surprising; a simple film about a complex modern man waiting for a call to give meaning to his life; about inescapable relationships and the longing for love; peopled with captivating characters, mouthfuls of wise and witty dialogue; raising questions without offering easy answers. Hopefully, it's unlike any film you have seen recently; no zombies, no caped crusaders, no aliens or gigantic explosions. Actually, I might have lied about that last item.
Having not worked with a budget this small for several decades, I was forced to work fast and instinctively, pressured only by the lack of time and money. We relied on the freedom to spin on a dime, to make outrageous creative leaps. The results surprised even me. I'm proud to have been part of The Zero Theorem.