By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 10, 2012 at 4:03PM
The last time Matt Damon and Terry Gilliam worked together, the results weren't so hot. "The Brothers Grimm" was promising on paper, but a bit of mess in execution, a situation only exacerbated by Harvey Weinstein, who famously meddled with Gilliam and disagreed with his approach on the movie. The result? A product that felt compromised when it was released and one that the director lamented. But either way, it seems everyone enjoyed their experience. Damon's 'Grimm' co-star Heath Ledger reteamed with Gilliam for "The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus" before tragically passing in the midst of production, and now Damon will lend a helping hand to "The Zero Theorem."
Rumors of his involvement aren't exactly new, though they've been speculative so far with filmmaker Thibaut Buccellato recently tweeting (via Bleeding Cool) that he had heard that Damon was in the same studio building (and hotel) as he was, working on Gilliam's film. And indeed, Damon has come aboard the project. Speaking to the actor at last night's "Argo" event in Manhattan with a shaved head, many presumed it was for "Elysium" reshoots -- Neill Blomkamp's 2013 sci-fi project of which the "Good Will Hunting" actor stars. But Vulture learned the shaved dome is actually for Gilliam's next movie.
"I'm going to do three days with Terry Gilliam, and now that I have to shave my head," Damon said. "I need to do a wig for Terry's movie."
"I'm just doing a very small part in it," he elaborated to Vulture. "Someone finally gave him money to do this one, thank God. It's with Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton. I'd do anything for Terry. It's been ten years since I last worked with him. I wrote Terry this whole e-mail, because we had this whole conversation about what the character would look like, because the story takes place in the future, but he had a specific look that he wanted, but then I had to [points to shaved head], and I said, 'Terry, what should we do?' And he said, 'Actually, we can take advantage of the fact that your head is shaved. Why don't we change your hairline?' So he mocked up a picture and sent me a real receding hairline, with white spiked hair. 'We might as well take advantage of the fact that you're bald and really do something, present you in a way you've never been seen before.' "
The story centers on an eccentric and reclusive computer genius (Christoph Waltz), plagued with existential angst, who works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence -- or the lack thereof -- once and for all. But his task is constantly diverted and interrupted thanks to the Management, who sends a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him.
Additionally, Gilliam revealed this morning on his Facebook page that actors Peter Stormare ("Fargo") and British Indian comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar had joined the cast that also includes Melanie Thierry. "The Zero Theorem" starts shooting later this month.
Meanwhile, Gilliam, an opera fan, who who put on a terrific production of the opera "The Damnation of Faust'" last year, has teamed up with Blur and Gorillaz singer Damon Albarn to support a plan by the English National Opera (ENO) to entice younger audiences into the artform. In a recent promo Gilliam tried to dispel the notion that opera is an"art for the rich, the successful and the almost dead."