In Conversation with Terry Gilliam
ID: 3DD-01-0008
Format: HD

Film director Terry Gilliam discusses his early days as an animator for Monty Python, becoming an original cast member and ultimately breaking out as a filmmaker. He talks about Lost in La Mancha 2002 a documentary about his epic struggle to make a film of the classic story of Don Quixote starring Johnny Depp and the project being hit by a series of unfortunate events that scuppered the entire production and leaving his already chequered reputation in tatters. Time Bandits 1981 his debut as film director is now discussed. Gilliam says ‘…it was hugely successful, bringing in 50 Million Dollars’ adding that went on to make Brazil 1985 and was finally out of the shadows of Monty Python and into Hollywood. However, the studios hated Brazil, it was too political and dark and because he Gilliam refused to change it, he gained a reputation for being difficult in Hollywood, even though Steven Spielberg was blown away and the studio boss Sidney Sheinberg was ‘intrigued’ by it. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1988 Gilliam talks about the film getting way out of control budget wise, due to his producers unprofessionalism, they ran out of money 6 weeks into a 21 week shoot. Gilliam says he paid an enormous price for this and was black listed. Gilliam goes on to talk about the big Hollywood films he has turned down, including Harry Potter and Forrest Gump. Although he did go on to make some hugely successful films both critically and financially, The Fisher King 1991 and 12 Monkeys 1995. Gilliam’s new strategy to get films off the ground was to lure big stars knowing the studios would follow, actors like Robin Williams and Brad Pitt. The next film discussed is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1998, Gilliam had a strong creative connection with Johnny Depp, Depp being a huge Python fan and an performer with great comic timing and understanding, 'a joy to work with.' Again, the studios didn't know what to make of the film, and marketed it incorrectly. Gilliam discusses his love of film growing up and his interest in numerous and various different genres as he grew older, in particular European cinema, Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman 'being like gods' to him. A self taught director who sees himself being caught somewhere in the middle of mainstream and arthouse, Gilliam says he sees this as being liberating but also misunderstood. His new love of Pixar films are his next topic, however much he would love to direct one, he loves working with real life actors too much - the spontaneity of it. The last film discussed is The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus 2009 during which the star Heath Ledger passed away half way through filming, Gilliam had the tools from other past failures and pain to help deal with the situation and finish to movie, his team kept things going until he had the strength to carry on without his friend 'Heath's vitality, energy and talent suddenly gone'.