As we move towards what would have been the 400th anniversary of the publication of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, news filters through that The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, the film Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Brothers Grimm, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) has been working on on and off for many years, isn’t dead yet. From Cinema Blend:
Gilliam has been trying to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote for, literally, decades, and now it looks like he’s going to have to delay it again, as one of his leads can’t be insured.
The current iteration of Gilliam’s windmill tilting epic is set to star Jack O’Connell and John Hurt. However, Hurt was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. While the actor’s prognosis is actually quite good, the larger issue, according to The Times, is that there’s no insurance company in the world that will cover a 75 year old man with pancreatic cancer. Hurt says that Gilliam is “optimistic” about starting to film soon, although it’s unclear if the optimism comes from an actual belief they’ll be able to get Hurt insured or if it’s more the positive thinking of a man at his wits end.
This is not the first time Gilliam’s passion project has been plagued by health problems:
Gilliam returned for a second attempt to make the film, this time with Ewan McGregor in the role that would have been Depp’s, (Colin Farrell turned it down, which also caused a fair share of problems) and also included Robert Duvall. That film fell apart due to a lack of funding. Gilliam was ready to give the film a third try, with Jack O’Connell as his lead, and John Hurt in the role that was previously Duvall’s.
Book projects have been more successful. Restless Books has announced a 400th anniversary edition of Don Quixote, scheduled to go on sale October 6. With an introduction by leading Quixote scholar Ilan Stavans, and the inclusion of some multimedia elements, this is a new packaging of what is considered to be the first modern novel and is one of the most popular books in history. The book can be pre-ordered here.