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Robert Duvall Confusingly Talks Terry Gilliam's Don Quixote

by
April 26, 2010
Source: Movieline

Robert Duvall

Though his failure in getting the project off the ground was an epic enough venture to make an entire tragic documentary, Keith Fulton & Louis Pepe's Lost in La Mancha, it looks like Terry Gilliam really is back for another round with his Don Quixote project. Back in December, we heard Robert Duvall would be the man from La Mancha, and MovieLine recently caught up with the actor who revealed some details on this iteration of the classic Miguel de Cervantes novel, but it doesn't sound like it's any closer to getting off the ground, and the fact that it has all the craziness we've come to expect from Gilliam doesn't bode well for it.

The film has gone through a few different versions; the first one followed an ad executive who travels back in time and is mistaken for the character Sancho Panza. It later took the form of a story about a filmmaker who ends up joining Quixote as an "unwitting" Panza. But now Gilliam is back again with something completely different, and though Duvall's explanation isn't entirely that clear, it does give us a somewhat better idea of Gilliam's new attempt at the project, and why Duvall is apparently the perfect guy for the job. He explains:

"I did a movie a while back with Richard Harris (Wrestling Ernest Hemingway) where I played a Cuban barber. And they accepted what I did in Cuba. I worked really hard on it — the accent. And he saw it and said, 'I want you to play Don Quixote.' Or a guy from a village whom they make Don Quixote for a commercial. He's really a shoemaker. This is a guy who was going to become like Don Quixote. And in the end he goes back to shoemaking. But it's a different take on the guy: He really begins to believe he's Don Quixote, even though he's a shoemaker. I don't even understand the script, totally, because he's just so out there, Gilliam. You know, with dwarfs on the ground and everything."

Uh, "dwarfs on the ground?" Right. So it makes a bit of sense at least (I guess?), but I'm only slightly less confused than Duvall is, and he's actually talked to Gilliam about the project (calling the filmmaker both "interesting" and a  "wacko"). Apparently the big hold-up on this project (aside from the lack of a real greenlight) is Gilliam's search for the man to play Sancho Panza, and Duvall says they need a real name for that part in addition to some more money. Apparently Gilliam asked Colin Farrell (who recently appeared in Gilliam's Dr. Parnassus) to take the role, but he turned him down. Duvall says the search has been going on for six months, and though Gilliam has two more people on his radar for the part, he won't reveal them.

Honestly, this is a project I'd like to be interested in since Gilliam has such a unique vision, even if it's not always entirely comprehensible, but since it's taken so long for this project to get where it is now (which is essentially nowhere), I don't have a lot of hope. Basically when it comes to this project, I'm on-board with Duvall's attitude towards it: "I can't really start preparing for it until it’s greenlit. Until it's really greenlit."

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  • vladimir
    seems pretty clear to me...he's saying its not a traditional take on don quixote, in the sense that, they get a guy to play Don Quixote for a commercial, and he starts to believe he really is Quixote....so he suffers delusions, the way Quixote did.
  • Zantorian
    Gilliam is brilliant. Gilliam is twisted. Gilliam is a Python. I hope this gets made - the very hollywood types that crank out cheezy hollywood bombs for 50 million ought to toss Gilliam $25 million and pocket the other 25 million as a bonus and they'd make out better.
  • DoomCanoe
    hell yeah #1
  • brou
    Duvall says Gilliam needs to find someone from England who is bankable... Jude Law anyone ?
  • shadow
    Gilliam needs to rein in himself, Imaginerium was horrible because it lacked a clear conflict in the story. Pretty visuals are nothing without some dramatic weight behind them.
  • Craig Fairbrass
    Lacked a clear conflict? Are you seriously talking out of your ass? What movie did you watch? Avatar or something? There was a clear, underlying and strong conflict within Imaginarium, and the film is layered with meanings. I guess you're the type who needs movies explained to them because you let go of cognitive ordeals before you exited the womb. Go and cuddle up with Zombieland.
  • vladimir
    I too thought the plot in Parnassus was pretty weak. But watching Heath at his best was worth the ticket. He's so amazing in that movie. Better than he was in Brokeback.
  • twittwit
    The problem with Gilliam is his reach extends well beyond his grasp. I think most people know this, which is why films like Parnassus, Grimm and Don Quixote either tanked or never got off the ground and why films like Fisher King and Tideland work so well, even if they weren't huge blockbuster hits. With a modest budget and a clear focus, Gilliam is at his true best.

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