Robert Duvall Confusingly Talks Terry Gilliam's Don Quixote
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."