'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' wins court battle, set for Cannes curtain-closing premiere
Terry Gilliam's dream project will finally see the light of day after the courts removed an injunction filed by the producer to not have the movie shown at Cannes
Terry Gilliam's 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,' a project which has been close to three decades in the making, seems to have cleared its final hurdle and will receive a curtain-closing world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, i.e. any unforeseen circumstances notwithstanding.
Following many failed attempts, Gilliam, and producer Paulo Branco's Alfama Films announced at Cannes 2016 that the film, which the Monty Python legend has been obsessed with since 1989, would be going into production. Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, and Olga Kurylenko were cast in the leading roles but just as it seemed as though it would be smooth sailing from there on out, Gilliam and Branco fell out.
Gilliam's lawyer claimed that the funds promised by Branco never came through and the producer left the project before filming began. But after its completion - the film wrapped up production last June - Branco stated that Gilliam had been making the film illegally. Branco said that his Alfama film owned exclusive rights and filed an injunction at a Parisian court to prevent the film from being shown at Cannes and French cinemas.
However, the Hollywood Reporter has now written that the court has dismissed the said injunction and that festival director Thierry Fremaux confirmed that the film will premiere as planned as the closing act of the Cannes. The dismissal also means that 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' can open in France on May 19 as planned.
Branco had previously announced that he would respect the court's ruling but did hit out at the festival for choosing to host the film and terming Fremaux a 'puppet.' French distributor Philippe Aigle of Ocean Films, however, hailed the decision as 'a big victory for the festival' and a 'big victory for Terry.'
Aigle's sentiment is one likely to be shared by many. 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' has had to jump through a plethora of hurdles, with the most recent blow coming with Amazon Studios' announcement that it would be pulling out of its agreement for the U.S distribution of the film.
Furthermore, the news came on the same day it was revealed that Gilliam suffered a minor stroke while awaiting the French court's verdict, though he was said to later have been discharged from the hospital and recuperating at home.
Gilliam is famed for directing films such as 'Brazil,' 'Time Bandits,' and 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas', but 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' seemed to have been cursed from the start. With its constant setbacks, the film developed a reputation as one of the most unlucky productions in screen history.
Multiple changes in cast, problems with funding, difficulties on the set, destroyed filming equipment, and a host of other issues meant that production only got off the ground last year. The original production was even the subject of a documentary, 'Lost in La Mancha.' But with the conclusion of the court battle, fans will hope that no further obstacles crop up between now and its screening.