Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

Terry Gilliam Working On An Adaptation Of Paul Auster's 'Mr. Vertigo'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 28, 2011 at 1:45AM

Perhaps no other filmmaker in recent memory is as talked about for the films they didn't make, as opposed to the ones they did, than director Terry Gilliam. But, you have to admire the man's perseverance. We're now coming on two years since "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" and Gilliam has yet to mount another film, not that he hasn't been busy. He's done a couple of food and drink sponsored short films -- "The Legend of Hallowdega" and "The Wholly Family" -- knocked out a webcast for Arcade Fire, and more recently put on a terrific stage version of "The Damnation Of Faust." But it's those old projects that keep coming back to the surface.
0


Perhaps no other filmmaker in recent memory is as talked about for the films they didn't make, as opposed to the ones they did, than director Terry Gilliam. But, you have to admire the man's perseverance. We're now coming on two years since "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" and Gilliam has yet to mount another film, not that he hasn't been busy. He's done a couple of food and drink sponsored short films -- "The Legend of Hallowdega" and "The Wholly Family" -- knocked out a webcast for Arcade Fire, and more recently put on a terrific stage version of "The Damnation Of Faust." But it's those old projects that keep coming back to the surface.

Back in May, Gilliam revealed he was taking another look at "The Defective Detective," a script he co-wrote with Richard LaGravenese just after "The Fisher King" and last month, he candidly said that's he going to keep trying to get "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" off the ground because "it’s still the best script that I’ve got.” But even Gilliam knows there is only so much kicking of the tires he can give to past projects, and he's now working on something new.

During a Q&A at Era New Horizons Film Festival (via The Real Gillliam Fan) a couple of days ago, the director revealed, "I got a book. It's called 'Mr. Vertigo' by Paul Auster. And I'm actually working on a script of it at the moment. Doesn't mean it will be a film; but I'm working on a script."

Gilliam's note of caution is well taken considering his history, but the material is firmly within his wheelhouse with a mix of fantasy and history. Published in 1994, the 1920s set story follows an orphan who is trained to levitate by a mysterious person known only as Master Yehudi, and they travel across the United States as part of circus sideshow, showing off the wondrous feat. It's a bit of a road saga, as the orphan encounters the Americana of the era, dipping into everything from the Lindbergh's flight, the development of the automobile, the Mob and more. Here's the synopsis from Amazon:

It will come as no surprise to the gifted Auster's ("Moon Palace"; "The Music of Chance") many fans that walking on air, the implausible premise of his marvelously whimsical seventh novel, is treated with convincing gravity. Walt Rawley recounts his life: an orphan born in 1924 with "the gift," he was seized by his master, Mr. Yehudi, a Hungarian Jew who taught him to levitate. Yehudi takes the boy from St. Louis to his own Kansas menage, which consists of Mother Sioux and Aesop, a young black genius. (Also influencing Walt's life is classy, henna-headed Marion Witherspoon, a seductive mom figure from Wichita.) After harsh training, Walt tours with his mentor as "the Wonder Boy," aka Mr. Vertigo. Crammed into this road saga is the potent Americana of myth: the 1920s carnival circuit, Lindbergh's solo, the motorcar, the ethnic mix, the Ku Klux Klan and the Mob, baseball and Kansas, "land of Oz." Diverse mishaps descend, but eventually Walt glides into old age and writing. The characters speak a lusty lingo peppered with vintage slang, while a postmodern authorial irony tugs their innocence askew. The prose grows particularly electric when demystifying "loft and locomotion." Implicit is an analogy between levitation and the construct of fiction: both require fierce discipline to maintain a fleeting illusion.

Given the rich source material based on the work of a highly acclaimed author, it's no surprise that a movie adaptation has been in the works previously. Back in 1997, Agnieska Holland ("Copying Beethoven," "Europa Europa") was attached to direct, while in 2000 "Run Lola Run" helmer Tom Tykwer was said to be considering it as well. But it has been a decade since then so perhaps Gilliam will be able to crack the proverbial nut in order to get this one on the big screen. It's definitely an intriguing prospect so let's hope the pieces start coming together for this to happen.

This article is related to: Films, Terry Gilliam, Mr. Vertigo


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates