Is Robert Duvall the new Quixote for Terry Gilliam?

12.02.09 8 years ago

Sony Pictures Classics

I’ll be bringing you three lovely interviews with the cast of “Crazy Heart” in the days ahead, but before I do, I wanted to run one particular bit of information that I got from one of the actors.

As I spoke with Robert Duvall, a real treat for anyone who has grown up on the films of this remarkable character actor, I asked him what projects he had coming up, either as a producer or as an actor, and he dropped a bombshell on me that I totally wasn’t expecting.

“I’m talking to Terry Gilliam about that film of his… I’m going to play Quixote for him.”

Wha wha WHA!?

That’s right.  We’ve been hearing since Comic-Con that Gilliam was inching ever closer to getting his long in development “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” off the ground again.  If you’ve never seen “Lost In La Mancha,” the movie about his first attempt to make the film, it’s essential viewing.   

It’s also one long heartbreak, because there’s no happy ending in that film.  Eventually, “Quixote” shuts down completely and Gilliam appears to be truly defeated by the experience.  He’s obviously bounced back since then, but I can’t help thinking that every one of these experiences where a film almost happens but then doesn’t has to take a toll on a filmmaker, especially when you have many of these incidents over the years.  Poor Gilliam… there’s no one more talented who finds himself as destroyed as often by his creative endeavors.  Hollywood is like one great big practical joke on Terry, and it would be nice to see a different punchline for once, one where Gilliam actually makes this film that has haunted him for all these years.

Robert Duvall is a positively inspired choice, and according to Duvall, it was the film “Wrestling Ernest Hemingway,” where he played a Cuban, that got Gilliam thinking about him in the first place.  They’ve spoken a few times now, and if Terry can put the money together to make the film, then it sound like Duvall wants the role and likes Gilliam, and there’s a good chance we’re going to see him saddle up and make the movie.

I wonder if he’s asked Bridges about working with Gilliam.  I still say “Fisher King” is one of the best things Bridges has ever done.  Duvall’s on a roll these days, and when you see “Get Low,” I think you’ll agree that this actor is still, pound for pound, one of the best in the business, with plenty of surprises still in store for audiences.

We’ll have the video of Duvall talking about the film along with the rest of that interview, an interview with Maggie Gyllenhaal, and my sit-down with the Dude himself, all in the days ahead right here for you on HitFix.

“Crazy Heart” opens December 16th in limited release.

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