The incomparable Terry Gilliam is 73 years old and shows no signs of slowing down. His latest film, “The Zero Theorem” starring Christoph Waltz, is in the can and comes out soon (read our festival review here), a passion project is in the works and the filmmaker even has an autobiography on the way.
“It’s done, it’s being heavily designed right now. To make it more irritating, the [publishers] decided to put it out next year,” the filmmaker told The Playlist in a recent interview, laughing about his upcoming tome. “I did it by interviews essentially. My daughter was clever, kind of like a Rorschach test, she assembled a lot of pictures and artwork about my past and that would be transcribed and tidied up.”
“When I first read it, I did not like me,” he chuckled. “Because I kept talking about me the whole time. I thought, ‘that’s a bit selfish,’ but then what the hell else are you supposed to do with an autobiography?”
Of course, his long-gestating, oft-delayed “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” is still in the works, and next. The director said the movie should—knock on wood—shoot in spring 2015.
“I’m surprised that I’m still this stupid and pig-headed,” Gilliam said in his self-deprecating manner, talking about continuing to pursue the often postponed project. “I thought by now I would have learned something, but I haven’t. So [‘Quixote’] is what we’re working on again. The plan was to shoot in October, but I had to push it because of the [‘Monty] Python’ show. I had to shift everything so it’s planned for next spring time, I have a Spanish producer who is doing deals with a couple actors whose names will not be mentioned.”
“We’re told we have the money,” Gilliam continued. “We’ll see. I don’t believe anything anymore."
"Excited is the wrong word for it,” the helmer said about gearing up for the movie once again. “I’m just trying to get it out of my fucking system. It’s driven my crazy for so long and I just want to get it done. I keep rewriting it, that’s key, but if feels vaguely fresh. It’s a very weird sensation, but I do know once I get into it the fun will start.”
The movie will also be very modernized, with a meta twist that should keep it fresh. “I keep incorporating my own life into it and shifting it,” Gilliam told The Wrap in an separate interview. “It all takes place now, it's contemporary. It's more about how movies can damage people. Our main character actually made a ‘Don Quixote’ movie a lot earlier in his history and the effect it had on many people wasn't very nice. Some people go mad, some people turn to drink, some people become whores.”
Gilliam told us screen tests were recently done, and as characters came to life ‘Quixote’ began to become “fun” again. Hopefully that means casting announcements soon. We'll post more from this interview closer to release, but in case you want it now, you can settle in with two longer-form Terry Gilliam interviews we conducted earlier this year. You can also check out our feature Terry Gilliam: My Life In 8 Movies.
“The Zero Theorem” opens on September 19th and will be available early On Demand and on iTunes August 19th. Watch the U.S. trailer here.
Interview by Alex Suskind