Johnny Depp to Produce Modern Day Don Quixote Film for Disney

December 5, 2012

Johnny Depp

Most film nerds are probably aware that Terry Gilliam, the director of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, has been trying to make a film about Miguel de Cervantes' classic character Don Quixote for years. The excellent documentary Lost in La Mancha details Gilliam's attempt to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a project that had Johnny Depp attached but ultimately fell through due to storms, injuries, and a whirlwind of other issues. Now Deadline reports that Depp will produce a separate project for Disney involving Quixote without Gilliam's involvement. That won't be a fun conversation the next time they meet.

There's no word yet if Depp plans to star in the movie, but he'll produce the untitled film alongside Christi Dembrowski through his Infinitum Nihil banner. The official news here is that Disney has acquired a pitch for a modern re-imagining of the story of the iconic delusional knight and his trusty squire, with Hot Tub Time Machine director Steve Pink writing the screenplay with writer Jeff Morris. Pink may seem like a strange choice for a screenwriter, but his work on High Fidelity and Grosse Pointe Blank give him a pass in many people's eyes, so we'll have to wait and see what he comes up with here.

Gilliam certainly doesn't have any legal monopoly on the character of Don Quixote, but one would assume that Depp might give him a bit of professional courtesy and allow him to finish his longtime passion project before the actor jumps in to steals the director's thunder. It makes this whole thing look even worse because Depp was actually set to star in Gilliam's previous effort, so it's not like he can even claim ignorance to Gilliam's plans as an excuse for moving forward here. There's always the chance that Depp steps up and demands that Gilliam be put in the director's chair for this project, but it seems unlikely that Gilliam would yield to other screenwriters on a project he's carried with him for so long. It just goes to show that Hollywood can still be a cutthroat place, even for former co-workers. Thoughts?

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  • This is pretty funny actually. Poor Gilliam...
  • son_et_lumiere
    it would be nice if Depp involved him somehow, but it's not Gilliam's birthright to make a Don Quixote film, anyone can, and we'll probably have more than one new version eventually (we already have several). but i know that i'd undoubtedly prefer to watch a Gilliam Don Quixote than a Disney one. also, Ben, you mention Holy Grail but not Brazil or 12 Monkeys?!
    • conradthegreat
      I know, I was like, he only referenced 'Holy Grail?
  • Dexter
    Just a point out is not "Don Quixote" but "Don Quijote". Unless they purposely changed the name of the main character.
    • Libby Magee
      It depends if you are looking at the name in English or Spanish. Both ways are correct.
  • Gilliam isn't the owner of this story. It's an universal patrimony. So whoever want to do something with the story can. Good luck Depp
  • Gilliam had his shot at directing his Don Quixote movie idea and decided to scrap the project. Since then, he's had over 10 years to re-launch the project and has neither done that nor found anyone to finance it for him. I don't think Johnny Depp or anyone else making a movie about Don Quixote necessarily owes him an invitation to direct their versions too. I will be looking forward to this movie very eagerly - with Johnny's creativity and Disney's resources it should be a great one. As much as I would like for Johnny Depp to explore other directors for his acting career I think that Tim Burton may actually be the perfect choice to direct a modern look at the story of Don Quixote.
  • Sean
    Never mind a Don Quixote movie with Johnny Depp. What about Pirates of the Caribbean 5 with Johnny Depp?
  • wow!!!




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