February 3, 2009

"Gilliam... was standing outside a restaurant in Soho when a car backed into him. 'Yes, a man can fly,' observed a bystander as he flew past."

Hilarious assholes they have in England, it seems.
He broke his back, but seems fine now, despite a cracked vertebra and dislodged disc. "Yeah, I'm a lizard," he says, cackling.
From an article on Terry Gilliam's seemingly cursed movie "The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus." Other problems: The producer died suddenly. And so did the star — Heath Ledger.
"It just isn't possible that he's dead," [said Gilliam.] "There's nothing he can't do, it just flows out of him with ease and grace. He lifted everybody. He wasn't like Marlon Brando or James Dean or any of the more neurotic actors, his was all positive energy. I knew he was tired but that Saturday he had been doing all his own stunts, he was leaping off wagons, indestructible. On no level did his death make sense.... "
We're not all flying men/lizards.
"I ... looked at how to do the remaining scenes without Heath, and realised that, since his character goes through a magic mirror three times, we could get three actors to play the role."
He got Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell, who are all donating their compensation to Ledger's 3-year-old child Matilda.

Other interesting things in the linked article:

1. George Harrison believed that the soul of The Beatles transmigrated into Monty Python when The Beatles died.

2. Monty Python broke up because the guys "got bored of each other."

3. "[Gilliam] renounced his American citizenship in 'disillusionment' with the Bush years, but he retains a pigtail which makes him look like an ageing hippy." You know what I don't understand? The role of "but" in that sentence.

4. Gilliam has never taken drugs, out of sheer fear of losing the distinction "between fantasy and reality." "It was only 15 years ago that I discovered I couldn't fly. I have such a 'sense memory' of flying around the world at the height of a table that when someone asked me to show them, I really thought I could do it."

5. In lieu of drugs: Dali, Ernst, Breughel, Bosch, and Mad magazine.

30 comments:

Ron said...

The role of 'but' is knowing what to kiss...and when.

traditionalguy said...

No one who reads Mad Magazine can be all bad. It sounds like Gilliam would be the hit of any party. He also serves well by playing that much needed role of a "bad example" for us all to learn from.

Tibore said...

Wow. First, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, then Imaginarium. Gilliam has the worst luck; it's like he's a walking curse for his projects.

That man somehow makes the indecipherable brilliant, and I love his movies. It's too bad he crowds the same political bandwagon with 80% of the rest of Hollywood.

Original George said...

When Monty Python "died" (pfffft!) into what artist (or artists) soul or souls did the the souls of The Beatles and the Python migrate?

Bob said...

Interesting that JK Rowling wanted Gilliam to direct the Harry Potter films.

ricpic said...

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

Couldn't a "genius" come up with a less unappealing title?

Oligonicella said...

"Gilliam has the worst luck"

No. Watch Lost in La Mancha to see why his 'luck' is bad.

Bill White said...

Now this is a well-labeled post - bravo!

bw, obsessive blogspot labeler

Glen said...

Gilliam was the weakest of the Python performers (and that's saying something). Oddly, he seems to be the only Python who had the will or the skill to get out and create his own long form pieces. He seems to have some special fascination with dwarfs. Perhaps he should direct a film about Joseph Mengele.

I always preferred David Lynch.

Ann Althouse said...

"Now this is a well-labeled post - bravo!"

Thanks. I added a couple more for your pleasure.

Sean E said...

"When Monty Python "died" (pfffft!) into what artist (or artists) soul or souls did the the souls of The Beatles and the Python migrate?"

Internet spammers.

Henry said...

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen was another fiasco of sorts.

Said Eric Idle, "Up until Munchausen, I'd always been very smart about Terry Gilliam films. You don't ever be in them. Go and see them by all means - but to be in them, fucking madness!!!"

TMink said...

"Gilliam was the weakest of the Python performers (and that's saying something)."

Yeah, those folks had NO talent. Nobody knows their stuff, they have influenced nobody, and their work languishes in neglect.

Trey - who lives in Glenn's alternate universe where Jerry Lewis is funny and Monty Python is not.

Christy said...

I always want to love Gilliam movies. Sometimes I do.

fcai said...

I liked Munchausen. May have seen another of his movies, but I don't know which one.

But the quality of that film was very uneven. I guess that I mainly liked that it was about keeping muslims out of Europe. Those days are gone...

Xmas said...

Gilliam's primary role was being the animator for the cartoony bits of the Monty Python show and movies. It doesn't really matter if he was the weakest actor, his animations helped make Monty Python what it is.

sonicfrog said...

"Gilliam was the weakest of the Python performers"

What on Earth would make you think that? OK, I think I know what you're getting at, but it's inaccurate. Yes, he didn't appear in the sketches nearly as often as the other guys, yet all those brilliant animations came from his hand / his head, so, in toto, he may have been on screen MORE than the other guys. He may have been the BEST performer on the show!

MayBee said...

3. "[Gilliam] renounced his American citizenship in 'disillusionment' with the Bush years, but he retains a pigtail which makes him look like an ageing hippy." You know what I don't understand? The role of "but" in that sentence.

That's what I love about Althouse. That's funny.

He was born in the US, but obtained British citizenship in 1968. Renouncing his American citizenship may seem so very brave, but it also saves him a bundle in taxes. Win-win!

TitusWantsToRecruitU said...

First of all I would do Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. Here is the order in which I would like to do them:

1)Colin-have you seen the video of his hog-beautiful
2)Johnny
3)Jude Law

Thank you.

former law student said...

You know what I don't understand? The role of "but" in that sentence.

It's like, "You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the 'country' out of the boy." Perhaps no Brit/sexagenarian Brit would wear a pigtail/choose to resemble an "ageing hippy."

Joe said...

I find Gilliam only occasionally funny. I have a DVD collection with a DVD for each of the Python's. Gilliam's is unbearable--the only one I can't sit through.

I agree with Christy; I wanted to like Gilliam's non-Python movies, but I found them all dreadful (I didn't even know he directed Brothers Grimm when I saw it--wow, was that a stinker.) Watching the documentary on his failure to make Don Quixote did show that he was basically bat shit crazy--why anyone would work for him is beyond me.

TMink said...

Brazil and Time Bandits are two of my favorite movies. Some artists are really quite different than you and me. I would not want to marry them, but I sure enjoy their work.

Trey

cardeblu said...

I like Gilliam's "plastic drapes and pipes" films, i.e., "Time Bandits," "Brazil," and "12 Monkeys." I always considered the plastic to be kind of his signature, like Tim Burton's black and white stripes. "Time Bandits" is one of my all-time favorite movies.

I didn't think "Munchausen" and "Brothers Grimm" were as bad as others do. They have Gilliam's quirkiness to them, which admittedly can get very tiring really easily.

What I find funny is the way he lambasts Hollywood execs (on commentaries, featurettes, etc, on the DVDs), but he seems to be the biggest blowhard of all.

Hope he recovers soon...

pete-who said...

Brazil is an all-time classic. I mean c'mon: De Niro as a commando plumber? Awesome.

Christy said...

I do love Brazil, Time Bandits, and 12 Monkeys. I once watched Brazil late one night on a 2nd tier broadcast network. They ended the movie with De Niro repelling down into the interrogation room. I was furious for days.

blake said...

I love Munchausen. Saw it in a packed theater on opening weekend. (I guess I know why it was packed if there were only 117 prints.)

Shame about Connery dropping out; the only part of that movie I don't like is Robin Williams doing Robin Williams.

fcai said...

What or whom was Deniro repelling? Oh, he was rappelling. My bad...

As for Robin Williams in Munchausen - I was going to mention that - his shtick was jarring in its incongruity.

Death was well depicted in that movie.

Revenant said...

As for Robin Williams in Munchausen - I was going to mention that - his shtick was jarring in its incongruity.

His schtick is jarring in every movie I've ever seen him in. That being said, I loved the movie, as well as the other two parts of his "informal trilogy", "Time Bandits" and "Brazil".

And I'd still rate "Twelve Monkeys" as probably one of the top ten, and definitely top twenty, science-fiction films.

Christy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christy said...

What or whom was Deniro repelling? Oh, he was rappelling. My bad...

Hanging my head in shame. Just call me Mrs. Malaprop.