As we all know, Terry Gilliam‘s quest to make a film about Cervantes’ Don Quixote is well into its second decade: the original iteration, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” which was to have starred Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort, fell apart years back, and though Gilliam eventually got the rights back, names like Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall and Ewan McGregor have been attached to the project without the film ever getting to the start line.
But fresh off semi-return-to-form “The Zero Theorem,” and the success of the Monty Python reunion, Gilliam’s back for another go, and though he recently talked of a ‘hiccup,’ it seems to have been overcome as Variety confirm recent rumors that fast-rising star Jack O’Connell, from the excellent “Starred Up” and “’71,” is starring in the film.
O’Connell, who’s about to go supernova in Angelina Jolie‘s Oscar hopeful “Unbroken,” will take over the role originally intended for Depp, of a young commercials director who ends up in a retelling of the story. It seems like Tony Grisoni‘s script has been altered over the years, though, as you’ll see from the new synopsis in Variety today. Not mentioned in the trade report is John Hurt, who was thought to be playing the Quixote role, so there may still be kinks to be worked out, but with the film being sold at the AFM, heading for a spring shoot and targeting a May 2016 release (Cannes, perhaps?), we sincerely hope this is about to work out, and having one of Hollywood’s most sought-after young stars on board can only help.
A modern and satirical twist on the tale, “Don Quixote” stars O’Connell as Toby, a jaded commercials director who travels to Spain for a shoot and comes across a gypsy who gives a copy of his student film — a lyrical re-working of the Don Quixote story set in a quaint old Spanish village. Moved by the discovery, Toby sets off on a bizarre road trip to find the little village where the student student film was shot and gets caught up in a series of catastrophies.