Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.
Director Terry Gilliam is the latest filmmaker to try and bring Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra's "Don Quixote de la Mancha" to the big screen, the movie to be called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Before filming even begins, Gilliam, who has moved from Hollywood studio to European financing, will have to scale back his vision as his budget has been slashed from $40 million to $32 million, still astronomical by European standards. But Gilliam is a dreamer, much like his title character, and his vision for the movie is uncompromising, meaning with the reduced budget that there is no margin for error and that some of his department heads may have to achieve miracles with their allotted moneys. During pre-production and actual filming, what Gilliam does not foresee is contractual and health issues with his actors, and the effects of Mother Nature. The question is does Gilliam have a Plan B if/when things go wrong. Written by
Fulton and Pepe embarked on their second feature about director Terry Gilliam intending to make a television documentary about the development and pre-production of Gilliam's long-awaited passion project. Having intimate knowledge of Gilliam's chaotic working methods, they knew they were in for something dramatic. But they had no idea that the story would develop into its own quixotic tragedy. After the failure of Gilliam's production, Fulton and Pepe were wary of finishing their film. Gilliam assured them that "someone has to get a film out of this. I guess it's going to be you." See more »
At the end of the credits we see the footage of the giants running menacingly towards the screen (which Gilliam admitted would make a great trailer). Just before it fades to black, the words "COMING SOON" are emblazoned across the screen. At the fadeout, we hear Gilliam's distinctive laugh. See more »
Important for anyone who's ever wanted to direct a film
Terry Gilliam's had a controversial career. His "Brazil" in 1985 upset Universal because it had a "sad" ending, so they cut it apart and replaced the finale with a "happier" version. Gilliam hated their hack job of his work, and illegally screened his original version for a critics' circle -- they voted it one of the best films of the year. Soon Gilliam got his way and the film was released as he had originally intended, and it's now considered a classic.
A few years later he released "The Adventures of Baron Manchusen," a fantasy flop that went some $20 million over budget and collapsed at the box office. He quit directing for a while and, when he returned, started work on "Twelve Monkeys." It wasn't the best of shoots and his perfectionism resulted in eccentric, intolerable shooting schedules.
In 1998 "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" was released and the MPAA hated it, threatening to give it an X rating for its drug content. Released alongside "Godzilla," it flopped, but to this day remains a cult classic.
So it's reasonable to say Gilliam is quite an eccentric personality and has had a tumultuous career.
"The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" was going to be his new film until it crashed. The production was halted because Gilliam couldn't find an actor to play Quixote, flash floods destroyed equipment and one of his shooting locations was in fact a NATO airfield which created quite a problem for the filmmakers.
Gilliam's film probably would have been a great twist on the classic tale and I'm sure his eccentric vision would have suited it well. He also had a cameo by Johnny Depp in the movie and it's quite funny as shown in this documentary detailing the events of the production.
Gilliam recently said he's going to start production on this again and finish it up. I hope so, it really does look like a promising film.
In terms of this documentary itself, it's very insightful and a must-see for any Gilliam fan or aspiring director -- it's entertaining and important, and a great guide on how NOT to make a movie.
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