One of the repercussions of yesterday's untimely death of Heath Ledger was that Gilliam's latest film "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" had to shut down after only one week of filming.
"The movie is produced by Samuel Hadida, Bill Vince and Amy Gilliam, and largely financed through Hadida's Paris-based Davis Film.
Ledger's involvement in the project was a key factor in raising the finance. He had a strong relationship with Gilliam from their last pic together, The Brothers Grimm.
In November 2000, Gilliam was forced to abandon his $32 million indie project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote after just a week of shooting, when his star Jean Rochefort was too ill to continue. "
An incredible filmmaker, Gilliam has pretty much refused to play by the Hollywood rules. His most commercial project to date was probably The Brothers Grimm which featured a scene in which a kitten was kicked into a ceiling fan. A ceiling fan! Try and explain that to the kiddies.
But Gilliam's films have been visionary in scope and production. His "Fisher King" included a beautiful imaginary ballroom dance scene that facilitated the shut-down of Grand Central Station in New York at the cost of millions to the production company. The scene only takes up a few minutes of screen time but is hardly integral to the plot. It was integral to Gilliam's vision of the characters.
It doesn't look to me like there's much chance that Parnassus will get made at this time, which is a real shame. It's a horrible twist of fate that someone as creative as Terry Gilliam is constantly having to confront such huge obstacles. I'm not sure I'd call it a curse but the man certainly has some bad Karma going.