Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has become something of a legend. The director—who has helmed such classic films as Brazil and 12 Monkeys—has been trying to make the movie for 17 years. The film can almost legally buy its own handgun and cigarettes. And now finally, after all this time, Gilliam’s film has finished principal photography, as THR reports—that is, the part that needs cameras is basically over. After aborted attempts with such big-name actors as Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, Robert Duvall, Jack O’Connell and John Hurt, the film’s cast now includes Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgard and Olga Kurylenko.
Don Quixote has languished in “development hell” for so long, there’s actually a well-received documentary about the film’s first attempt titled Lost in La Mancha. The documentary itself is worth watching for a glimpse into a production shoot gone horribly wrong. On their first day of filming, Gilliam and his crew realized that NATO aircraft would constantly fly overhead, ruining any and all audio. Gilliam decided he’d just add audio back in later. On the second day there was a massive flood that not only damaged a lot of the equipment, but actually so significantly altered the landscape, that they were forced to do reshoots, rather than try and explain why a scene’s landscape was altered so dramatically mid conversation. Several mishaps later, production shut down, resulting in a $15 million insurance claim that was one of the highest ever recorded. Since then, Gilliam has tried to reboot the film with little success, until now.
Gilliam’s Don Quixote follows a crazy old man who believes himself to be the windmill-fighting, titular hero from the seventeenth-century novel. As he begins his adventures, he mistakes an advertising executive for Quixote’s dimwitted companion, Sancho Panza. Yes, the film is set in modern times, despite the novel being set 400 years earlier. Will Don Quixote attack solar panels instead of windmills? Ride a golf cart instead of a horse? All excellent questions to be sure, and, hopefully, answers will be forthcoming sooner rather than later.
But, of course, the long-suffering film isn’t quite out of the woods. Because God apparently hates the film, the French company Alfa’s CEO, Paulo Branco, claimed the film is “illegal”, and that his company actually has the rights to it. For their part, the film’s producers assert that Branco’s claims are “preposterous” and that “he has no rights whatsoever in Don Quixote.” Since the film has already been shot, it’s likely that Branco is just angling for a cut of the film, so either way, it’s unlikely that the film will actually be shelved. But then again, nobody thought it would take 17 years for a pretty straightforward film made by a highly respected director to get off the ground, so anything is possible.
Find out more about the film right here.