One of the most heartbreaking films I think I’ve ever seen was the 2002 documentary Lost In La Mancha. As a fan of Terry Gilliam, just reading about the dissolution of his long-in-gestation project The Men Who Killed Don Quixote during its first week of actual production was disheartening enough, but seeing the agony and aggravation on Gilliam’s face as setback after setback piled onto the project to the point where they had no choice but to call it off was just plain awful to sit through.
Although the rights to Gilliam’s screenplay reverted to the company that was insuring the production when it was shut down, Gilliam and producer Jeremy Thomas have been working hard at getting those rights back in order to remount the film. Is all that hard work coming to a conclusion? Gilliam seems to think so and told EmpireOnLine about it-
Jeremy Thomas is very close to getting all the pieces of paper signed from all the people who you gotta get signed. He’s been on it for a year now, and he’s come the closest to getting it untangled from the legal swamp it was in. And, um, I don’t see why, I don’t see anything that’s gonna stop it now. He’s just gotta get all the paperwork done and then I call Mr. Depp and see which pirate film he’s still on.
Although Johnny Depp has stated he would be ready to join a remount of the film in his role of a modern day man who travels back in time and is mistaken for Quixote’s loyal sidekick Sancho Panza, French actor Jean Rochefort, who was cast in the role of Quixote and whose health issues where the final nail in the production’s coffin, won’t be back.
Physically, he can’t do it. It’s a real tragedy, but he can’t. His arse is broken.
Currently, Gilliam is in the middle of production on The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus. If he were able to wrest the rights to the script back, he would still need to secure new financing for the film, but the budget should be less as much of the original pre-production work should be able to be reused. It seems obvious to point out that Gilliam’s own quest to make this film has become something like Quixote’s own quest for adventure. Here’s hoping that Gilliam’s quest ends more successfully.