It’s actually quite moving to finally see a trailer for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Terry Gilliam’s long in gestation passion project, even if it seems that we won’t be seeing it just yet thanks to the machinations of some goddamn suit. Gilliam, one of modern cinemas greatest fantasists and one of its most unpredictable mavericks, has been slaving away on this thing for almost 20 years – what’s another court case? The film now exists – apparently in a much different form to what was initially attempted and abandoned – and it is only a matter of time before it gets in front of audiences. Sure, it won;t be Cannes this year, but it’ll be soon.
So what is the film? Well, strap in:
“Once upon a time, Toby was an idealistic young film student. His great achievement, a lyrical re-working of the Don Quixote story set in a quaint old Spanish village. But that was then; these days he is a jaded, arrogant and over-sexed commercials director. Money and glamour have derailed him, and now he juggles his boss’s wife Jacqui, a biblical storm and his own ego as he tries to complete a new commercial shoot in Spain. Until a mysterious Gypsy approaches him with an ancient copy of Toby’s student film: Toby is moved and sets off to find the little village where he made his primary opus all those years ago.
“To Toby’s horror, his little film has had a terrible effect on the sleepy village; Angelica, the young girl who was innocence personified, now works as a high class call-girl, and the old man who played Quixote has now gone completely mad, believing he really is the ‘Knight of the Mournful Countenance’.
“A series of accidents leads to a fire that threatens to destroy the village. The police come for Toby, but he is ‘rescued’ by the deluded old man, who, mistaking him for his loyal squire Sancho, leads Toby away into the countryside on the quest for his perfect lady, Dulcinea. On their quest, Toby comes face to face with demons, both real and imagined, modern and medieval. Damsels are rescued, jousts are fought, giants are slain and women have beards! Reality and fantasy blur on this bizarre road trip which leads to a phantasmagorical finale.”
Holy hell. That is a long way off from what we saw back in Lost in La Mancha. Back in the day, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote saw an advertising executive played by Johnny Depp whisked back in time to take the place of sidekick Sancho Panza at the heel of Jean Rochefort’s actual Don Quixote. Clearly there’s been some serious rewriting over the last 17 years.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, starring Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, and Olga Kurylenko, is due in cinemas… at some point. In the meantime, have a poster: