October 15, 2009

Good Riddance to Heath Ledger - there are always three A-list actors to replace you

Damn it all, I was ready to go see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus tonight at midnight, but I had some misinformation about when it came out - I think only an advance UK Premier is tonight. There were some great quotes in this joint interview with Terry Gilliam & Tom Waits in the October 6th London Times. About the late Heath Ledger:

We hated him. An idiot. Asshole. Good riddance.
-Terry Gilliam
Ledger of course died midway thru shooting Doctor Parnassus, a cruel twist to another of Mr Gilliam's cursed projects. I loudly recommend the documentary Lost in La Mancha as a back-story to Terry Gilliam's strange bad luck with quixotic productions. (I'm never quite sure if parts of that film aren't 100% authentic...) & also The Battle of Brazil, which can be found on the Criterion edition of Brazil. Having Mr Ledger die so mysteriously was par for the course for any of Gilliam's major doomed masterpieces.
I’ve always said, with every film, I’m not making it, the film is making itself. The film gods are up there doing what they do, and this film was making itself. So Heath dies in the middle of the movie. The last roll of film goes through the camera and Bill Vince, the producer, dies. Then a few months later, I get hit by a car and break my back. The gods failed! They weren’t so lucky the third time. They tried to clear away the star, the producer and the director! Wouldn’t that have been tidy? But the world is not so tidy.
-Terry Gilliam
He scrapped the project, but then his daughter made him finish it. "Together they hit upon the inspired notion of using other actors to play different facets of Ledger’s slippery, shape-shifting character," it says in the Times. "It is testament to the huge goodwill enjoyed by both star and director that Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell all signed on at short notice, donating their fees to Ledger’s young daughter, Matilda Rose."
That’s my warning to all young actors now: Don’t ever not turn up for work, because there are three A-list actors ready to take your part.
-Terry Gilliam
Tom Waits, who plays the devil, has cameo'd in a few interesting movies - Gilliam's The Fisher King (where he's uncredited), Mystery Men (what a bizarre, bad movie, right?), & his work with Jim Jarmusch. I wonder what he'll be like in this one.
I said yes because Terry wanted me in the movie. I didn’t care what he wanted me to do. I probably would have painted sets, honestly.
-Tom Waits
Pitchfork was just discussing the live album Waits is about to release, Glitter & Doom, the second disc of which, labeled "Tom Tales", will be "entirely Tom Waits stage patter!" I fear that Mr Waits, after his monster Orphans, is getting a bit too encyclopedic in his later years.

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