One of the most widely-seen making-of documentaries ever made, 2002’s Lost in La Mancha documented Terry Gilliam’s cursed attempt at adapting Miguel Cervantes for his film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Gilliam became the perfect parallel for Don Quixote himself until eventually, beset by a wide variety of problems, the film was ultimately scrapped, resulting in a record $15 million insurance claim.
Just a few years later, Gilliam’s lead actor, Heath Ledger, would die halfway into Gilliam’s Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, proving that Terry Gilliam may be the unluckiest director who ever lived. Nonetheless, he’s still the guy who made Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Brazil, and Amazon was willing to tilt at his windmill, offering Gilliam a deal that will allow him to finally make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote — assuming he doesn’t get hit by lightning or his set invaded by newts or something.
ThePlaylist broke the news:
…if all goes according to plan, the movie will shoot in early 2016 with Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken”) and John Hurt (“Only Lovers Left Alive”) as the two leads. Gilliam wouldn’t comment about any other casting rumors or why the film has experienced so many false starts, but revealed ‘Quixote’ is part of his recently-signed Amazon Studios deal.
According to Gilliam, Amazon’s approach will be a theatrical window and release followed by a streaming Amazon debut at home. “I’m intrigued by their way of doing it,” the director said, noting streaming services were a fair extension of home video. “They go into the cinemas first and then a month or two afterwards they go into streaming. And I think that’s good because you get a chance to see it on the big screen, and yet I know that more people have seen my films on DVD than they have in the cinemas and that’s the reality of life now.”
The challenge with these kinds of releases seems to be how to promote them. Gilliam’s last movie, Zero Theorem (which I thought was better than it got credit for) had an online release, then a limited theatrical run after that, and then back to online, all so spaced out and sparsely promoted that you never really knew where to find it. But maybe Amazon can figure that out, they do know how to mail me sweatpants.
Incidentally, no word on Johnny Depp’s rival Don Quixote project (Depp was once attached to Gilliam’s Quixote movie) since it was announced in late 2012. I’m hoping he just left the script under a pile of feather boas somewhere and forgot about it.