One of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen is the documentary Lost In LaMancha, which chronicles the disastrous week that was director Terry Gilliam’s attempt to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Gilliam and his crew struggled to get the film made but bad weather, uncooperative nearby air force bases and a star suffering from a double herniated disc all conspired against them, resulting in the film’s financiers pulling the plug on the project just days after it had started. (Gilliam’s Director of Photography Nicola Pecorini has posted edited together footage of what they did manage to shoot over on his website.)
But now, Gilliam is finally gearing up to give the film a second shot. Unfortunately original stars Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort are unable to come back, due to Rochefort’s advancing age and Depp’s busy work schedule. It has already been announced that Robert Duvall is stepping in to Rochefort’s role of Quixote. Now Empire has learned that Gilliam has cast Ewan McGregor into Depp’s role as a man from the present tossed backwards in time and mistaken by Quixote for his loyal retainer Sancho Panza.
Gilliam had this to say about his new cast –
Robert Duvall is one of the greats, no question – and he can ride a horse! And Ewan has gotten better over the years. He was wonderful in The Ghost. There’s a lot of colours to Ewan that he’s not been showing recently and it’s time for him to show them again. He’s got a great sense of humour and he’s a wonderful actor. He’s wonderfully boyish and can be charming – when he flashes a smile, everybody melts. He wields it like a nuclear bomb!
Following the dissolution of the first attempt to make the film, Gilliam had to wrestle with insurance company lawyers for a few years before he regained the rights to the script to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in July 2006. Reportedly Gilliam and and his co-writer Tony Grisoni have gone back and done some revisions to the screenplay, though presumably the original’s spine remains intact.
Gilliam is set to begin production on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote this September for a release sometime in 2011.