January 28, 2008

More Quixotic Filmmaking: Terry Gilliam's role in Heath Ledger's Fate

Friends of the Blog - (Hello, there!) - who know of Itwaslost.org's keen interest in the development of the film The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, point me to this article from People Magazine, which I will quote below in full. Besides our beloved Terry Gilliam's horrendous luck with certain projects - please see the film Lost in La Mancha (about the death of his Quixote), & all of the documentaries on the Criterion edition of Brazil, & the awful & incorrect reviews for his wonderful Baron M√ľnchhausen, for the full cursed story of his career - he is an intense director, who demands a lot from his actors. Here is the latest about the effort to keep the Imaginarium alive after the death of Heath Ledger:

Director Terry Gilliam is feverishly working to figure out how to keep Heath Ledger alive on film, according to one of the late actor's costars in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which Ledger was still shooting when he died last week.

"Terry's throwing himself into the job of trying to salvage the picture," veteran actor Christopher Plummer told PEOPLE over the weekend.

Despite earlier reports that the director might shelve the $30 million production, Gilliam, whom Plummer describes as "terribly saddened" by Ledger’s death is "trying to work out at this moment how to continue on. Fortunately, because the film deals with magic, there is a way, perhaps, of turning Heath into other people and then, using stills and I think they call it CGI…

"Terry was a very good friend [of Heath's]," adds Plummer. "He very wants to go on with the movie, and I can very much understand why. Because he wants to dedicate it to Heath, of course."

Ledger and Plummer both left the London portion of the movie's shoot last weekend and were due to continue filming next week in Vancouver. Leaving England, says Plummer, "Heath was in very high spirits. He was just enjoying himself tremendously. It's a rather fanciful script, and he was wonderful in this role."

Confirming earlier reports that Ledger hadn't been feeling well on set, Plummer says, "we all caught colds because we were shooting outside on horrible, damp nights. But Heath's went on and I don't think he dealt with it immediately with the antibiotics.…I think what he did have was the walking pneumonia."

On top of that, "He was saying all the time, 'dammit, I can't sleep'…and he was taking all these pills [to help him]."

As well as the damp cold and lack of sleep, Plummer describes the shoot as rigorous. "We had to shoot every second we were out there…there was hardly any time to go into the tent or the car to keep warm. We just kept shooting…boom, boom, boom…there was no pause. It was very, very hard work."

Ledger would have appreciated the show-must-go-on mentality, says his co-star. "He was terribly likeable and obviously enormously talented…and the combination was terrific. It's such a shame these things have to happen to the good ones."

As for reports that Gilliam has approached Johnny Depp to step into Ledger's role, the actor's rep tells PEOPLE: "There have been no official talks, and he is currently working on Public Enemies for Michael Mann for Universal."

I love the implication that a combination of Johnny Depp & computer graphics can save any movie, so long as it's about MAGIC. I would prefer to see Gilliam use some of his more signature techniques - old-fashion camera tricks, models, puppets, & animation - to put Ledger's head on Depp's body. Put that in the promo, & they can easily make back their $30 Million.

1 comment:

Sam said...

i agree that gilliam is a director who's been really harmed by the advent of computer graphics, even though brother's grimm had some beautiful stuff in it. did you see tideland?