After almost two decades of trying to make a Don Quixote movie, while simultaneously talking about the difficulties of trying to make a Don Quixote movie, Terry Gilliam is at last ready to bring it full circle with a Don Quixote movie about the difficulties of trying to make a Don Quixote movie. Not Lost In La Mancha; other directors already did that, hence its completion. Instead, Gilliam tells The Wrap the financing has finally come together to take another run at his beleaguered The Man Who Killed Don Quixote after this Christmas—and this time it’s a movie that is, in part, a meta-commentary on how hard it was to do.
“I keep incorporating my own life into it and shifting it,” Gilliam says of the project that long ago became a real-life meta commentary on Don Quixote, with the director repeatedly tilting at windmills that were occasionally destroyed in a flood. But now Gilliam is truly making Don Quixote his own, with subtext. And hookers. In fact, forget the subtext: “Our main character actually made a Don Quixote movie a lot earlier in his history,” Gilliam says of the revised, modernized script, “and the effect it had on many people wasn’t very nice. Some people go mad, some people turn to drink, some people become whores.”
Perhaps realizing that, by making Don Quixote a movie “about how movies can damage people,” Gilliam is courting ironic disaster even more than before, the director sounds well aware that the odds are still stacked against him. “I’ve done it so many times—or not done it so many times—I’ll believe it when I see it,” Gilliam said, with a laugh that was quickly joined by the whole wide world. Still, if this particular iteration doesn’t come off, perhaps he can try making Don Quixote as a movie about the damaging production of a movie about the damaging production of a movie about Don Quixote, and see if fate can figure
that shit out.