10 things you need to know about Terry Gilliam

We bring you trivia about the director of THE ZERO THEOREM

THE ZERO THEOREM, the latest film from the ever intriguing Terry Gilliam, is released in Irish cinemas. Gilliam began his career as an animator and sometime actor with the MONTY PYHTON troupe, and we decided to find out more about the man behind the camera.

The only member of the MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS troupe not born in Britain, Gilliam became a naturalised British citizen in 1968. In 2006, he formally renounced his American citizenship
… Gilliam has always been outspoken politically, and in an interview with Der Tagesspiegel, he described the action as a protest against then-President George W. Bush. Gilliam has also hinted that the decision had to do with tax concerns for his family.

JK Rowling is a long time fan of Gilliam’s, and originally wanted him to direct HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE, but the studio wanted a more family friendly film and tapped Chris Columbus to direct.
… It’s hard to imagine what a Gilliam HARRY POTTER film would have been like, but Gilliam himself said that Alfonso Cuarón’s film HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN was pretty close to what he would have done.

In 2011, Gilliam made a short film called THE WHOLLY FAMILY, for which he won a European Film Award.
… The film was totally financed by an Italian pasta company, however Gilliam maintained creative control; ‘‘It wasn’t selling out; the only stipulations were the film had to be made in Naples and nobody gets killed in it. I did exactly what I wanted to do’.

Although there are several different versions of BRAZIL available, Gilliam recently said that he is happiest with the endings on the Criterion Collection DVD.
… Both the US and European endings are on the DVD, and Gilliam says he was very unhappy with the ending devised for the cinema release of BRAZIL in 1985.

Gilliam will appear in the forthcoming Wachowski siblings’ film JUPITER ASCENDING, in an as yet unnamed role.
… He writes! He animates! He directs! He’s a generally nice guy! Is there anything Gilliam can’t turn his hand to?

Terry has tried, since 1998, to make a film called THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE. In 2002, when the film was being shot, flash floods and injuries meant that production completely unravelled within days of it starting, leading to a $15 million insurance payout.
… The insurance company owned the rights to the film for several years as a result but they have now transferred back to Gilliam, who is still passionate about the project, and hoping to shoot the film this year.

The 2002 failure to make THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE is the subject of the documentary film LOST IN LA MANCHA.
… LOST IN LA MANCHA was very positively received, with Leonard Maltin calling it one of the best films about the process of making a film.

Terry Gilliam directed TIDELAND while on a 6-month break from THE BROTHERS GRIMM and Gilliam and Harvey Weinstein quarrelled about the final cut of the film.
… It’s unclear who won the argument, but David Cronenberg later called TIDELAND ‘A poetic horror film’ and Rian Johnson named it one of his favourite films of 2006.

Due to Because of problems with the Writers Guild of America, Terry Gilliam and Tony Grisoni were not able to credit themselves as writers of the screenplay of THE BROTHERS GRIMM, despite the many changes they made to Ehren Kruger’s original script.
… Instead, they invented a credit for themselves as ‘Dress Pattern Makers’ and were quoted as saying that the film was made from a ‘dress pattern,’ not necessarily made a ‘screenplay.’

In TWELVE MONKEYS, in the scene where Cole is drawing blood from himself, the shadow of a hamster in a hamster wheel can be seen on the wall. This scene would normally be shot in 5 minutes, but took a whole day because the hamster would not move.
… Gilliam is such a perfectionist that he insisted that even this detail should work as intended. For the rest of the production Gilliam’s perfectionism was nicknamed ‘the Hamster Factor’.

THE ZERO THEOREM is released in Irish cinemas on March 14th

Words: Brogen Hayes