Terry Gilliam’s long-delayed passion project, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, will finally get to be seen by stateside audiences.
Screen Media has picked up Don Quixote for US distribution, setting a release month of next March for the film.
Don Quixote stars frequent Gilliam collaborator Jonathan Pryce as a Spanish cobbler who believes that he is the famous knight errant of Cervantes’ classic novel and mistakes frustrated filmmaker Adam driver as his trusty squire Sancho Panza. Stellan Skarsgard, Olga Kurylenko and Jordi Molla also star.
Gilliam first started work on the film in the mid-1990s, developing the screenplay. A first attempt to film it with Johnny Depp and French actor Jean Rochefort fell apart just days into production thanks to a series of bad luck that included a flood that wiped out a set, jets from a nearby air base on maneuvers ruining take after take and a back injury for Rochefort which forced him to leave the set. The complete breakdown of this attempt was captured for the heartbreaking 2002 documentary Lost In La Mancha.
After a number of attempts to remount the film fell through, with the likes of Ewan McGregor, Jack O’Connell, Robert Duvall, Michael Palin and John Hurt attached at various points, Gilliam finally got the film into production – and finished – in 2016.
However, shortly before the film was set to premier at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, Paulo Branco, a producer attached to an earlier, unsuccessful attempt to mount the film, filed suit against Gilliam in a French court claiming that he owned the rights to the film. Gilliam countered that Branco had not invested any money in that version of the project and therefore, as per his contract, was not entitled to any rights to the film. A French court ultimately only partially sided with Branco, resulting in Gilliam having to pay him approximately $11,600, but ruled that Gilliam owns the rights to the film.