Tuesday, 4 March 2008

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

I'm a keen Terry Gilliam fan. I have been since before I could call myself even close to being a teenager. I think my first Terry Gilliam film was "Jabberwocky", that is stand alone Gilliam and not attached to Monty Python. It was "Time Bandits" that I fell in love with as a kid, saw it at the cinema when I was six, I bought my son a copy when he was seven, and I truly believe that Terry has produced cinema like a connoisseur of the medium, allowing fantasy a surface on which to run wild like the imagination does in the mind.

I was wondering what was going to happen with The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus since Heath Ledger retired to the great studio of the sky and production naturally stopped. It turns out that Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell have attached themselves to the project in order to finish the film as a tribute to Heath. This is brilliant news as each one of these more then capable actors will be transformations of Heath Ledger's character Tony, a very clever way to continue the character and appropriate to the inclusion of magic in the film.

Being that this film is co-written by Charles McKeown who co-wrote with Gilliam "Brazil" and "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen", I do believe we will have a masterful story on our hands when the film is hopefully released in 2009.

I was reading an article on "How to replace lead actors if they snuff it" and it spoke of body-doubles (Particularly Ed Wood's Bella), and using unscreened material of an actor's work to insert into the film, and now days it's the run to the CGI Department - but I agree with Gilliam's biographer Bob McCabe when he says that the idea is "brilliant " and "characteristic of Gilliam's fantastic imagination". I think as Underground Filmmakers we can learn from using these kinds of nuts and bolts approaches to troubleshooting film mishaps, and it doesn't have to be that to make the Mona Lisa vanish we must paint over her, we can simply just turn around the canvass.

You can now visit an official Terry Gilliam website, and there is of course Dreams: The Terry Gilliam Fanzine.

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