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‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ May Not Screen at Cannes Due to a Lawsuit Claiming Terry Gilliam Doesn’t Own the Rights to It

Paolo Branco and his production company claim they own the rights.

"The Man Who Killed Don Quixote"

Adam Driver in “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”

Amazon Studios

After a tortured production process that lasted two decades, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” was recently announced as the closing-night selection at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Anyone who knows how difficult it was for Terry Gilliam to complete his passion project inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ timeless novel will be unsurprised by the news that it’s hit yet another snag, this time in the form of a lawsuit from a producer who claims he owns the rights to the film.

Paolo Branco and his company Alfama Films Production are seeking an injunction to prevent Cannes from screening “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” with a statement claiming that its rights to the project “have been confirmed in three separate legal rulings.”

“Alfama Films Production has been granted permission to obtain a writ against the Cannes Film Festival and will ask the president of the Paris District Court to impose a ban on the screening of the film by Terry Gilliam, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, due to the violation of its rights, rights which have been confirmed in three separate legal rulings,” AFP said in a statement. “For legal reasons, this film cannot be exploited in any way without pre-agreement from Alfama Films Production.”

Pre-production on the film began a full 20 years ago, with Jean Rochefort, Johnny Depp, and Vanessa Paradis attached; several other actors have been attached to it in the ensuing years. “Lost in La Mancha,” a documentary about this failed iteration of the project, was released in 2002. Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgård, and Olga Kurylenko star in the film that’s finally been completed.

IndieWire has reached out to Amazon Studios for comment.

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