Well. It’s out. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is (finally) out.
Lost in La Mancha was an absolutely brilliant documentary made in 2002 (!) about the various production problems that Terry Gilliam had been having making his dream movie (starring Johnny Depp! And Jean Rochefort! And some F-16s! And a flash flood!). Originally intended to be a little “the making of” featurette, it, instead, documented the slow-motion collapse of the movie.
I had always assumed that it’d be a noble “what if?” forever. A movie that you daydreamed about existing in the DVD section of Lucius’s library in The Sandman comic books.
Well, Gilliam refused to let it die. I remember that Robert Duvall was Don Quixote for 20 minutes there a few years back, then John Hurt. Right around the death of John Hurt, I let myself think “I never have to think about that particular what if ever again” and Terry Gilliam was reshuffled into being the guy who made my favorite movie and I found myself wondering if he’d ever make another (and, after Tideland, I thought “mmmmm maybe I’m officially too square for Gilliam now”).
Anyway, I haven’t seen The Man Who Killed Don Quixote yet. (Is it even out in the US yet? Apparently, it’s only been seen at film festivals?)
But now I’m wondering whether it could possibly be the movie that I daydreamed about seeing. The movie that seemed so wonderful in the snippets of the making of documentary. The movie that could have been.
Now it merely is the movie that is. (After, apparently, eight different attempts to make it.)
Last year, he gave an interview to the BBC and said this:
He also has doubts as to whether his film can possibly live up to the extraordinary mythology which has grown around it. “The problem is that people have very high expectations,” he says. “And a lot of people say I’m a fool to make the film, and that it would have been better to let people imagine how great it would have been, rather than making it a reality and disappointing them. People love Roman ruins because they’re not complete and you can imagine them. So I may be making a great mistake. Maybe the film would be better as a fantasy.”
So what keeps him going? “It’s a medical problem. It’s not a film, it’s a tumour, and I have to have it removed. I want it out of my life, frankly.”
Oh my goodness. That’s not a good indicator. Remember Duke Nukem Forever? Or, if more of an audiophile, Guns and Roses’s Chinese Democracy?
I worry that we’ll have one of those.
But I’ll see it. It’ll take wild horses to keep me from seeing it.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?