It appears that Terry Gilliam has secured financing for his next film- the fantasy The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus. The Gilliam news site Dreams reports that pre-production for the film is underway with Christopher Plummer cast in the title role.
Earlier in the year, Gilliam had described the movie as being about “a person with eternal life who’s basically a storyteller, but the world has moved on and his brand of storytelling is of no interest.”
This definitely sounds as if there will be some autobiographical subtext in the film, as the past decade has not been kind Gilliam. Coming off the one-two punch of box office and critical hits The Fisher King (1991) and Twelve Monkeys (1995), Gilliam had trouble launching his next project, an adaptation of the landmark graphic novel Watchmen. Finally, in perhaps desperation to do some work, he accepted the position as director on 1998’s Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, based on the Hunter S. Thompson novel. The project’s previous director, Alex Cox, had left just a few weeks before principal photography was scheduled to begin. Although Gilliam took a few days to rewrite the script to bring it closer to his own sensibilities, the film was uneven at best and a dud at the boxoffice.
In 2000, Gilliam’s pet project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote fell apart during its first week of filming, as painfully detailed in the 2002 documentary Lost In La Mancha. His next film, the fantasy The Brothers Grimm (2005), was hobbled by constant interference from studio honcho Harvey Weinstein. Gilliam also managed to turn out one of the best films – if not the most challenging to its viewers – of his career that same year in Tideland. Unfortunately, the film got scant distribution outside of a few major cities.
Joining Plummer in the cast are Heather Ledger, Verne Troyer, Andrew Garfield, Lily Cole and Tom Waits as the devil, Mr. Nick. The script was written by Gilliam and his long time collaborator Charles McKeown. Dreams also managed to score a production illustration of Parnassus’s horse-drawn Imaginarium parked in front of a modern, industrial building.
The film is expected in early 2009, which seems very far away.