The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

name= The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
director=Terry Gilliam
writer=Tony Grisoni
Terry Gilliam
starring=Johnny Depp
Michael Palin (rumored)
producer=Jeremy Thomas
cinematography= Nicola Pecorini
distributor= Recorded Picture Company
released= 2010 (tentative)

"The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" is an upcoming feature film project by director Terry Gilliam starring Johnny Depp. The production originally commenced filming in November 2000, but stopped within a week due to a serious injury to Jean Rochefort, who had originally been cast for the title role of Don Quixote. Production was soon cancelled completely due to several on-set mishaps. After regaining the rights to the screenplay Gilliam restarted pre-production in 2008, with Johnny Depp still attached to the project. [cite web | title = Pandora: Don Quixote rides again, says delighted Gilliam | author = Alica-Azania Jarvis | publisher = The Independent | date = 2008-08-04 | url = | accessdate = 2008-08-04] The film will be reshot completely, and Rochefort's role will be recast. Michael Palin reportedly entered talks with Gilliam to step in for Rochefort and play Don Quixote. Main production start is planned for 2009. [cite web | title = Monty Python - Palin to act alongside Depp? | publisher = Contact Music | date = 2008-05-26 | url = | accessdate = 2008-07-25]

The cancelled 2000 production


"Quixote" was set to have been one of the biggest continental European films ever made, with a budget of $32.1 million (scaled back from $40 million) and it was to have been one of Gilliam's most ambitious films, made without any American money. Finding the source material by Cervantes too vast, Gilliam and his co-writer Tony Grisoni decided to create their own version of the Quixote story, including a major change inspired by "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". The character of Sancho Panza would appear only very early in the film, to be replaced by Tony Grisoni, a twenty-first century marketing executive thrown back through time, whom Quixote mistakes for Panza.


Terry Gilliam was very excited to make this movie, since "Don Quixote" embodies many of the themes that run through his own work (such as the individual versus society, the concept of sanity, etc.). The entire movie would have been filmed in Spain and throughout Europe. Jean Rochefort was picked to play Don Quixote, in preparation for which he spent seven months learning English. Tony was to be played by Johnny Depp, and Vanessa Paradis would have been his love interest. Other actors who were to appear in the film included Miranda Richardson, Christopher Eccleston, Bill Paterson, Jonathan Pryce, Ian Holm and Peter Vaughan.


The first location shoot was at a scenic, barren area north of Madrid, Spain, near a military base. Military fighter jets flew overhead repeatedly, ruining the audio recording and mandating a later re-dubbing in post-production. A flash flood on the second day of filming washed away equipment and changed the color of the barren cliffs, making the previous filming unusable. Rochefort, an able horseman, attempted to ride and act, but was obviously wincing in pain, and required assistance dismounting and walking. He flew to his doctor in Paris, where he was diagnosed with a double herniated disc. The crew attempted to shoot scenes that did not involve Rochefort for several days, but as the days passed, it became apparent he would not be able to return. Gilliam decided this was a fatal wound: He had spent two years casting the role of Don Quixote, and Rochefort had then spent seven months learning the English language for the part.

The production was finally cancelled, and the only result that was ever officially released was included in the 2002 documentary "Lost in La Mancha", a film that chronicles the attempts to make this "film that didn't want to be made".

Since the failed 2000 production

After production was cancelled, an insurance claim was filed on behalf of the film's investors. US$15 million were reportedly paid, and the rights to the screenplay passed on to the insurance companies. Since 2003 rumors had occasionally claimed that Gilliam and his producers were lining up support to restart production.

At the Cannes Film Festival in 2005 there was at last some conclusive news. After working with British producer Jeremy Thomas on "Tideland", it was announced that Thomas was interested in getting the project up and running again. In July 2006, after nearly six years of legalities between the French producers and German insurers, the issue over the rights was settled. Terry Gilliam announced this at the Munich International Documentary Film Festival, saying that the production company was willing to give Gilliam the rights, and that Jeremy Thomas was still interested in producing. In August 2006 Gilliam indicated at a post-screening Q&A for "Tideland" that the complex legal case concerning the film's collapse was finally being wrapped up, and that the rights to the script would hopefully be given back to Gilliam and co-writer Grisoni in the near future.

In 2008 Gilliam restarted pre-production on the film.

ee also

* The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
* Lost in La Mancha


External links

* [ The Man Who Killed Don Quixote]
* [,6903,432993,00.html My latest is a disaster movie]
* [ Edited and scored version of the complete footage from the cancelled 2000 production "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote"] on director of photography Nicola Pecorini's website

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