Long Awaited: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Recently, an international trailer was released for the upcoming movie The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. The trailer looks promising; it shows us adventure, humor, and even some famous faces that we have come to know and love. To an untrained eye, this simply looks like another promising movie to add to 2018’s already rather impressive roster.

However, anyone familiar with the project can tell you that this trailer is the culmination of decades worth of work by director Terry Gilliam. What we have seen in recent days is the result of a project that Gilliam started filming in 2000.


What Is The Man Who Killed Don Quixote About?


The first thing to know about this movie is, of course, the plot of what you are going to be watching.


It is important to note that this movie is not a direct adaptation of the 1615 story by Miguel de Cervantes. In the original book, fully titled The Ingenious Nobleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha, focuses on a main character – Alonso Quixano / Don Quixote – who is a romantic. So much so, that he loses his grasp on reality. As a result, he and his “squire”, a farmhand he employs, Sancho Panza, go forth on an adventure where Don Quixote fights like a knight of old. Unfortunately, his detachment from reality makes him see things a little differently so his enemies end up being windmills rather than monsters.


The movie, though, puts a bit of a fantasy twist on this story. While we don’t see it in the trailer, the movies plot has been described to actually revolve around an advertising executive in 21st century London. However, he continues to flash between modern-day London and 17th century La Mancha. During his time there, he meets Don Quixote who mistakes him for his squire, Sancho Panza.


So, unlike the book, we can expect the film to focus on Don Quixote’s sidekick, Sancho Panza or rather his 21st century counterpart, Toby. In the final version of the film, the role of Don Quixote went to Jonathan Pryce and the role of Sancho Panza/Toby went to Star Wars actor, Adam Driver.


What Took So Long?


The original filming of this movie started in 2000 but director Terry Gilliam has been nurturing the idea behind this movie since the early 1990s. The production of the movie has been turbulent to say the least and has been plagued with lost cast members, scandals, and funding difficulties. It has been so turbulent, in fact, that it is the subject of a documentary following the movie’s troubles titled Lost in La Mancha.


In the original production, Adam Driver wasn’t even a twinkle in Gilliam’s eye and Jonathan Pryce was slated for a different, smaller role. Instead of these stars, Johnny Depp was set to play Sancho Panza with Jean Rochefort starring as Don Quixote. Rochefort, though, had to quit the movie due to health issues and the location of the set – located in close proximity to a military base – offered both loud jets flying overhead and a flood that swept half the set away. Depp, who was very busy at the time, couldn’t wait around for the movie to get back on track. Since then, Ewan McGregor, John Hurt, Robert Duvall, and Jack O’Connell have all come and gone as lead actors.


Rochefort also made complaints that he had “no sympathy” for Gilliam and blamed him for animal abuse on set. This included starving Quixote’s horse to make it look leaner and more emaciated. Unfortunately, the horse in question died on set only one day after Rochefort left the production.


Now That We Have A Trailer, When Is The Movie?


Right now, there isn’t a specific release date for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. The film, though, is expected within the year.


The film’s troubles aren’t over quite yet, though. Among the many production problems that hit the movie was the repetitive change in production companies. One of the former producers, Paulo Branco, is now working to delay the release one more time.


This issue stems from a 2016 contract to produce the film. The deal was that Gilliam would get monetary backing for the film but, in the end, the money was never delivered. As such, Gilliam moved on and found a production company that would provide the backing. Gilliam, though, did sign onto the contract with Branco. As such, Branco argues that the film cannot be released without his seal of approval. The issue is currently in court and is slated to be resolved in June.

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