Terry Gilliam has been looking hard into the past lately, but I’m not just talking about “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” which I’ll get to in a moment. A couple of years ago, the director’s “Time Bandits” got freshly restored and did the rounds on the big screen again. Prior to that, there were talks of rebooting the movie into a family oriented franchise. That didn’t happen, but it looks Gilliam’s picture is being reconfigured for the place where all movie properties go to have a chance at a second life: television.
In a webchat hosted by The Guardian (via Digital Spy), the director revealed he’s got a couple of TV projects brewing. “We are involved in two possibilities — one, a TV series based on ‘Time Bandits,’ another based on a script Richard LaGravenese and I wrote after ‘Fisher King,’ called ‘The Defective Detective.’ ”
As fans know, “The Defective Detective” has been developing for a long while now. The story follows a private eye as he investigates the disappearance of a young girl. He soon finds that she may have vanished into a fantasy land, one only detailed in story books — a land that he will have to figure his way into and out of if he ever hopes to close the case. It was first put together as a feature film, and though Danny Devito, Nick Nolte, Nicolas Cage, and Bruce Willis were all attached at various points, it never got off the ground. It has expanded into a mini-series that might be part of Gilliam’s Amazon deal, but no word yet.
As for “Time Bandits,” it was actually considered for television before, but it didn’t come together. Hallmark wanted to do it circa 2001, and Gilliam wrote some episodes with Charles McKeown. However, for whatever reason, it fell apart. But now, more than a decade later, it seems to be up and running again, though who will be financing it isn’t yet known.
Meanwhile, Gilliam continues to drag the forever delayed and embattled ‘Don Quixote’ up the mountain, with yet another start date, explaining to BBC Radio 4’s Front Row what the hold up has been. “I’ve waited now for another year, and things go wrong, and the most tragic one is a couple months ago, John Hurt, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,” he said. “And I tried to somehow get it through the system, but we had one go where ‘Don Quixote’ was carted off in a medical helicopter, and the insurance company is not going to let me get away with that twice.”
“We’re supposed to be shooting in April next year, and I’m waiting,” he added. “It’s like I’m in a Beckett play, and just waiting for Godot. I’m waiting for the cast, I”m waiting for the money, I’m waiting for the organization, or I”m waiting for an actor. And that’s the worst thing about making films. I’m really not good at planning far ahead.”