Terry Gilliam's Latest Existential Head Trip Will Star Christoph Waltz
Since it looks like Terry Gilliam's long-awaited, long-troubled Don Quixote project is back in development hell, the filmmaker has already lined up something else while that festers yet again. Deadline reports that Terry Gilliam (his last film was Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) is set to direct a project titled The Zero Theorem, about an eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst who works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence once and for all. Pre-production is already underway in Romania with shooting starting in October, meaning this had no trouble coming together. Now it looks like he's cast Christoph Waltz to star in the lead role as Qohen Leth (what an awesome name).
In The Zero Theorem, from a screenplay by Pat Rushin, Gilliam will again take us on a head trip, or more appropriately, a mind fuck. "Living in an Orwellian corporate world where 'mancams' serve as the eyes of a shadowy figure known only as Management, Leth (Waltz) works on a solution to the strange theorem while living as a virtual cloistered monk in his home—the shattered interior of a fire-damaged chapel. His isolation and work are interrupted now and then by surprise visits from Bainsley, a flamboyantly lusty love interest who tempts him with 'tantric biotelemetric interfacing' (virtual sex) and Bob, the 'whiz-kid' son of Management who spurs on Qohen’s efforts at solving the theorem." Here's where it gets really trippy:
"Bob creates a virtual reality 'inner-space' suit that will carry Qohen on an inward voyage, a close encounter with the hidden dimensions and truth of his own soul, wherein lie the answers both he and Management are seeking. The suit and supporting computer technology will perform an inventory of Qohen's soul, either proving or disproving the Zero Theorem."
What the…? Of course Terry Gilliam is directing this, who else? (Cronenberg?) I have no idea what exactly we're going to see in Zero Theorem, with a mix between the "Orwellian corporate world", virtual reality inner-space suits and tantric biotelemetric interfacing, mancams, and existential theories, but I can assure you it's going to be utterly fascinating to watch. This almost sounds like Gilliam, Cronenberg & Kubrick got together to brainstorm this concept and push the limits of cinematic storytelling. I would not have thought of Christoph Waltz for this kind of role, but the man is a genius and an incredibly talented actor, and I'm sure will come up with something crazy and unique with Gilliam. We'll wait to see who else they cast in this.
Production is slated to start at Mediapro Studios in Romania in late October this year. Dean Zanuck (Road to Perdition, Get Low), son of legendary producer Richard Zanuck who started this project, is producing and Christoph Waltz will also co-produce. Voltage Pictures is selling the film at TIFF this year, so sales are ramping up, and it looks like The Zero Theorem will indeed be the next movie from Terry Gilliam. You in?