Never Give Up, Terry Gilliam

Last night Audrey was writing up a script report for fivespockets.com. It appears that once again Terry Gilliam's long in development The Man who Killed Don Quixote has once again run out of financing and has halted production. While reading her report over her shoulder, I scoffed at Gilliam's pursuits.

"He's never going to get that off the ground," I said.

"Why do you say that," she asked, continuing to write.

"Because he has a stupid story nobody wants to spend money on," I said. "He doesn't need to have the main character go back in time and meet Don Quixote. He should just make the book into a movie."

Audrey glanced at me with a wrinkled brow.


I had no rebuttal. She had a point. One word from my wife's lips had me stumped.

Why couldn't he do whatever he wanted?  And better yet, why had I copped such an attitude toward one of my childhood heroes? Why had I scoffed at the first director who made me really think about how weird this world is? Why had I become a cynical jerk?

Could it be that I haven't seen a Gilliam film in years and that I've pretty much given up on him since Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Could it be that I'd heard Brothers Grimm was terrible, Tideland was terrible for totally different reasons, and that I still hadn't gotten around to seeing The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus because it looked a heck of lot like The Adventures of Baron Munchausen? 

Could it be that I've moved on from Gilliam? That his genius filmmaking in and my subsequent admiration for Brazil, Munchausen, Time Bandits, Twelve Monkeys, Fisher King, of course The Holy Grail had been nothing but a time capsule in my youth and now that I was a grown man with a sweet beard who made movies sometimes I no longer needed him? Could it be that I was over his "damn the man", do whatever it takes mentality?

The answer to all of those questions up until last night was yes. Gilliam's passions had started to annoy me. His never ending quest made me angry. His silly laugh and galavanting around the set ticked me off. You want to know why?


The longer I'm not like Terry Gilliam, the more I become like Michael Palin's character Jack Lint from Brazil who stays in the dystopia rather than join his friend Jonathan Price's Sam Lowry in escaping the madness. Luckily, I'm tired of being angry, annoyed, ticked off. I choose to climb out of the dumps.

So I say this now, never give up Terry Gilliam. Don't listen to bitter dudes like me. Keep at it. Try whatever you can to get Don Quixote back in his saddle. Rocinante is waiting. Sancho Panza doesn't have all day.

Hire unknowns. Find Russian billionaires who liked Jabberwocky and get them to finance your picture. Animate the whole thing if you have just GET IT MADE. It is going to be a classic. And we need more modern classics. More fairytales. More you. Have you been to the theatre lately? They are releasing more and more garbage, Mr. Gilliam. You and others like you have to do it.

What? Did you just ask me what I'm waiting on? Why am I not doing it?

Well I couldn't. You see I've got this sweet beard and a cool Star Wars tattoo. I couldn't possibly.

Start small? Like how small? Shoot a commercial for my friends Smoothie shop? Ok.

Write screenplays when I have time, but don't stress out over it? Sounds good.

Start a blog so I can vent my frustrations and then reconcile with myself that I am ALREADY doing it?  That I am already living the dream? That I've got a great wife who supports my every creative decision? That I am on the road RIGHT NOW?

Gee, thanks Mr. Gilliam. I never knew how inspiring a fake conversation with you could be. Keep in touch, the road may get treacherous... especially if I keep talking to my imaginary heroes. Well in that case, I'm no worse than old Don Quixote after all. Not bad company if you ask me.


  1. You've just written a modern coming of age story. *sniff* I love it.

  2. I don't think you've become a cynical jerk just because you disagreed with what he was doing about the story. At some point, as creative people, we have to start resisting what other people are doing in order to gather our thoughts about how WE would've done it. That doesn't mean you have abandoned Gilliam, it just means you want to start doing your own thing. The more you can make peace with your own opinions, the more quickly you'll get to that I think.