Gilliam has spent nearly two decades trying to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a subject that has been covered in an acclaimed documentary from over 15 years ago titled Lost In La Mancha. But the first trailer for the completed film has just landed, which at least proves it does indeed existence but when could we possibly see it?
Toby, a jaded commercials director who travels to Spain for a shoot and comes across a gypsy who gives a copy of his student film – a lyrical re-working of the Don Quixote story set in a quaint old Spanish village. Moved by the discovery, Toby sets off on a bizarre road trip to find the little village where the student film was shot and gets caught up in a series of catastrophes.
Alas, the film may never be released (we’ll get to that a little later), so enjoy this trailer for the film while you can as it isn’t out of the realm of possibility this will be the closest we’ll get to see it.
Albeit a short trailer, it is nevertheless the first official footage we’ve seen of the film, and even though it looks like it needs a bit of polishing (remember its budgetary constraints and troubled production) it still has that Gilliam flare for high-minded fantasy and low-brow humor. Driver and Pryce look right at home in this world, and the blending of modern and period settings create a dusty, withered but altogether lively feel to it.
In addition to Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote also stars Olga Kurylenko, Stellan Skarsgård and Joana Ribeiro,
As mentioned above, the film may have released its first trailer but its far from being released. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is facing another legal dispute and won’t debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May as originally expected. Producer Paulo Branco reached an agreement about the production with Gilliam that stipulated the necessary funding for the project, allowing Gilliam to have the creative freedom to fully realize his vision, in exchange for the rights to the film. After none of the promised funding came through, Gilliam found another producer that helped get the film finished. Unfortunately, Branco came back, claiming that the film is not to be released until he gives permission since he owns the rights to the project, based on that 2016 contract. Gilliam feels that the contract was null and void due to the lack of funding on Branco’s part.
This is yet another clog in the gears of Gilliam’s Herculean effort to bring Cervantes tale to the big screen. The film’s production was documented once before in the 2002 documentary Lost In La Mancha, originally starring Jean Rochefort as Quixote and Johnny Depp as Toby Grisoni, which also followed a 21st-century marketing executive thrown back through time shot and soon fell apart in 2000. Gilliam’s been trying to make it ever since with versions that included Robert Duvall, Michael Palin, and John Hurt as Quixote, and Depp, Ewan McGregor, Jack O’Connell, as Grisoni.
Hopefully, this can all be put aside and at least a limited amount of people can have the opportunity to see what Gilliam has been cooking up for the better part of two decades.