The plot thickens — again. After losing his trial in the Paris Court of Appeals last week, Terry Gilliam also appeared to have lost the rights to his long-in-the-making passion project “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” Former producer Paulo Branco claimed both victory and the rights to the film, which premiered at Cannes last month, but now Gilliam’s producer Mariela Besuievsky is firing back: “We have the rights of ‘Don Quixote’ and it will be released all over the world,” she tells El Español in a new interview.
Branco “had the option to buy, but never exercised that right of purchase,” Besuievsky adds in her translated conversation. Branco and Gilliam have been embroiled in a protracted legal battle over “Don Quixote,” which Gilliam has been laboring to make in one form or another for 25 years; Johnny Depp was originally attached to star, but the version that was finally completed stars Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce.
Besuievsky concedes that “there will be damages and prejudices for having badly rescinded” after last week’s ruling, but that doesn’t mean Gilliam can’t release the movie.
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As for why Branco now claims to have the rights to “Don Quixote,”Besuievsky says that the producer “makes a balloon of everything” and goes so far as to invoke slavery when describing working with him: “The era of slavery is over and if I do not want to work with you, you can not force me. You can force me to pay for what you ask, but not for me to work for you because that is slavery and it is impossible to force Terry to make the film, even if it is still in force, and that is what we explain, because the judge leaves open the subject of content.”
Besuievsky also claims that Branco harbors a “desire for revenge” and “against something so irrational, you cannot fight.”
IndieWire has reached out to Gilliam’s reps for comment.