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Terry Gilliam Was Adapting a Lost Stanley Kubrick Idea Until Lockdown ‘Ruined Everything’

In an interview as part of the Ventotene Film Festival, Gilliam said he had a cast and script ready to go just as the pandemic hit.

Terry Gilliam attending The Irishman International Premiere and Closing Gala of the 63rd BFI London Film Festival in London, England on October 13, 2019. Photo by Aurore Marechal/Abaca/Sipa USA(Sipa via AP Images)

Terry Gilliam

Sipa USA via AP

Provocateur Terry Gilliam has been wending his way back to filmmaking ever since his long-suffering 2018 Cervantes epic “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” finally hit U.S. theaters last year. However, like many directors who were in the middle of new projects, the pandemic has proven a challenge. As revealed in a new interview with the Ventotene Film Festival, as shared by Italian outlet La Repubblica (via The Playlist), Gilliam said he was at work on a movie inspired by a concept from Stanley Kubrick until lockdown stalled the film, despite having a script and cast ready to go.

“I was doing a film that was originally an idea by Stanley Kubrick,” said Gilliam, who added he was due to begin filming in September. “There was a script and I had a cast, but the lockdown has ruined everything.” The “Brazil” and “12 Monkeys” director also added, “At the moment, what I’ve been doing is working on a book of my storyboards for all the films that I finished.”

Terry Gilliam, who’s based in the U.K., also talked about how the lockdown has affected him personally. “In 2016 I finally got 100% British citizenship, no longer any American, totally British, which I felt meant I was now 100% European,” he said. “And 2016 is when Britain decided to leave the European Union. It’s crazy. I’m stuck in a country that’s not going to be European, and I want to be very much a part of Europe,” adding, meanwhile, that “America is closed down. Trump has destroyed America.”

Gilliam said the state of the world has also reshaped his approach to storytelling. “The problem is the world has become so bizarre that what we thought was satire has become reality, so I don’t even know how to deal with the world anymore.”

The last announced project in the works from Gilliam was as executive producer of a “Time Bandits” series, adapted from his 1981 time-traveling movie of the same name. The series was set to be co-written and directed by “Jojo Rabbit” Academy Award winner Taika Waititi. IndieWire spoke with Gilliam last December in a wide-ranging interview, discussing the long journey for “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” to get to the screen, his thoughts on Marvel movies and “Black Panther,” and much more.

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