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Gilliam Restarts Don Quixote with McGregor

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 18, 2010 at 4:49AM

I ran into Terry Gilliam on the Croisette, surrounded by admirers. He had been doing meetings at the Majestic to fill some gaps in the financing for his Don Quixote movie. I find it slightly depressing that world-class filmmakers like Gilliam and Julie Taymor are forced to hawk their wares at Cannes to raise financing for their films. Gilliam laughed. "I'm whoring from one hotel to the other," he said.
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Thompson on Hollywood

I ran into Terry Gilliam on the Croisette, surrounded by admirers. He had been doing meetings at the Majestic to fill some gaps in the financing for his Don Quixote movie. I find it slightly depressing that world-class filmmakers like Gilliam and Julie Taymor are forced to hawk their wares at Cannes to raise financing for their films. Gilliam laughed. "I'm whoring from one hotel to the other," he said.

One of the hazards of the international marketplace is the availability of stars to keep financeers happy. In the case of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Jean Rochefort's ailments prevented him from riding his horse during the filming of Don Quixote, and the project was shut down in 1999. More than a decade later, Gilliam lost Depp (one of the stars who bailed him out on The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus when Heath Ledger died), but explains to Empire how Ewan McGregor stepped into Depp's role as a contemporary ad exec who travels back in time to meet Quixote, played by Robert Duvall.

For the real info on what Gilliam went through on the first go-round of Don Quixote, see the doc Lost in La Mancha. Truly painful.

This article is related to: Festivals, Headliners, In Production, Cannes, Johnny Depp


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.