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Terry Gilliam Scraps His Sci-Fi Project Zero Theorem

by
July 1, 2009
Source: Dreams

Terry Gilliam

And another one down for Terry Gilliam. The overly ambitious and terribly unlucky filmmaker has told the fansite Dreams that yet another of his projects is going in the trash bin. Zero Theorem was the title of the project, a science fiction film supposedly about a reclusive and tortured data processing genius working on a mysterious project. The last we heard it was due to begin filming this year with Billy Bob Thornton set to star. But apparently due to all the extra work and publicity put into Gilliam's latest, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the project got delayed and eventually had to be scrapped in the end. Very sad news.

"I thought I could do it quite quickly and cheaply," the filmmaker said in an interview conducted at Cannes last month, "and that would be a nice one, rather than getting caught in more expensive, more complicated or hard-to-finance things. But the year just got swallowed up by Parnassus and publicity, and preparation for Don Quixote. I just didn't think it would be viable and I pulled the plug earlier this year."

A plot synopsis at the Voltage Pictures site made Zero Theorem sound like a cross between Gilliam's Brazil and The Matrix, which doesn't really seem like something we needed anyway, but then again, as with most of the director's work, it would have been the visuals that attracted us more than the story, and we can only now wonder what the guy might have shown us with his "Orwellian corporate world."

So the rebooted Man Who Killed Don Quixote will be Gilliam's next movie, with or without Johnny Depp, who still "gets first dibs," according to Gilliam The filmmaker assures us that another actor could replace Depp because the film has changed so much, and the character is different, more rounded than what we saw the first go-around. As for other new projects, Gilliam admits he hasn't been able to think of anything else due to the lengthy concentration on Parnassus, which Alex called "another great Gilliam success, even with some flaws" in his review from Cannes. The rest of us will have to wait until the fall to see for ourselves.

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  • Voice of Reason
    He hit a stride with 12 monkeys & Fear and Loathing, and as much as I hate to say it, I think he's on his way out....this decision makes me feel as though he's spared himself a flop.
  • Anano
    I don't totally agree with the Voice of reason. He's not at his best at the moment but I don't think he ever was a good filmmaker. He's not one of those filmmakers that are great at creating new atmospheres or universes, but more a guy who can see a good story and make it not fail in a film. Take Fear and loathing, that already was a brilliant story, and he took it into the cinema in such a genious way. He's more a tweaker than a director.
  • http://www.twitter.com/brotodeau Brandon Lee Tenney
    Really disappointed by this. The script is really solid. What a shame.
  • Squiggly
    @Anano: I think he's a great filmmaker. Any other director would have taken a story like that or Brazil and made it dull and lifeless. I think his best abilities are knowing when to envelop you in the mindset of a character and when to let you observe it from the outside, and knowing how to get the most out of both of those scenarios. I think his Don Quixote film is a perfect match, as is something like Parnassus. However, I'd love to see him finally tackle "Good Omens". He started working on it ages and ages ago, never got a green light and as far as I know never really gave up on it. The fact that Gaiman co-authored the book, and the fact that Gaiman's writing is now getting more attention from Hollywood, you'd think something like Good Omens would be a sure thing to an investor. Top tier writers, a top-shelf book and Terry Gilliam, who really only has a couple of critical bombs, regardless of money made. Granted, tho, I've not seen more than clips of Tidelend, so I can't make a judgement on it. I heard it was pretty awful, tho... Or at least very hard to watch...
  • brou
    Squiggly, you should watch Tideland, it isn't so hard to watch... Actually I found it pretty magical.

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