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Posts Tagged ‘Terry Gilliam’

Film Production Nightmares

Posted by LiveFor on February 5, 2010

By Richard Bodsworth.

Benicio Del Toro stars in the remake of the 1941 classic horror The Wolfman which is set to open next week but it has not been an easy ride to get the finished product to the screen.  Mark Romanek left the project right before principal photography was about to start citing the old chestnut “creative differences” and was replaced by Jurassic Park 3 helmer, Joe Johnston.  The Wolfman is not the only film due this year which has had major production problems; Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood has also been hit with issues, most notably constant script rewrites resulting in the release date being pushed back numerous times.  Of course this is not a new thing, so let’s take a look at some other films which have struggled in production…

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)

Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer in the tropical rainforests of Australia, what could possibly go wrong? Um, a lot actually.  Three days in to production of the H.G Wells adaptation director Richard Stanley was given the heave-ho (a move apparently forced by Val Kilmer who earlier, for no apparent reason, decided he wanted his part drastically cut) and was replaced by John Frankenheimer, never a good start.  Brando and Frankenheimer then rewrote the majority of the script before later clashing over the direction the film was taking; Frankenheimer would also have heated exchanges with Val Kilmer several times throughout the shoot before vowing never to work with him again. Brando and Kilmer both had their own personal problems on-set, Kilmer being issued divorce papers on location while Brando struggled with the suicide of his daughter.  Amazingly Brando, who by this time had given up on the film, was fed his lines through a frequency radio.  David Thewlis (a late replacement for Rob Morrow) who would later skip the premiere supposedly said “He’d be in the middle of a scene and suddenly he’d be picking up police messages and Marlon would repeat ‘There’s a robbery at Woolworths’”.  The film received negative reviews and barely managed to scrape back its budget, Brando went on to win a Razzie for his performance.   

Twilight Zone: The Movie

Produced by Steven Spielberg, this feature length film of the classic 60’s TV show was split in to four segments, part one directed by John Landis, the second by Spielberg himself, Joe Dante directed the third and George Miller the fourth.  The events that occurred during the filming of Landis’ segment overshadowed the film itself as a freak accident cost the lives of actor Vic Morrow and two child actors.  Whilst filming a scene featuring a helicopter, pyrotechnics were set off but the helicopter was flying too low causing it to spin out of control and crash to the ground killing the trio.  Legal action followed and many regulations were changed including those that featured child and stunts filmed at night. 

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Another well documented Gilliam nightmare, the guy seems to have no luck (here’s a nice article over at Hey You Guys http://tiny.cc/TerryGilliam). Being disrupted by a nearby NATO target area and a flash flood which would destroy equipment and locations were just the start before lead actor Jean Rochefort suffered a herniated disc cancelling production.  A blistering $15m insurance claim would later be brought and resulted in the company owning the rights to the film (these have since been transferred back to Gilliam). If you haven’t already seen Lost in La Mancha I recommend you do so, like now!  Gilliam has since resurrected the project however and hopes to start filming this year. Fingers crossed.

Alien 3.

One of the most obvious choices is Alien 3 because, well, it was a complete nightmare.  The film went through various writers starting with William Gibson, Near Dark scribe Eric Red to David Thwoy before Vincent Ward took over.  Ward had the idea of a wooden planet inhabited by monks, some of the set designs look great and it would have been very intriguing to see the finished product.  Ward however never got his chance as his idea was scrapped and he was replaced by David Fincher for his feature debut.  The script ended up as a mesh of various ideas from previous drafts which was thrown together by series producers Walter Hill and David Giler.  Since Fox wanted to rush the film out to hit their desired release date, Fincher went into the project without a set script and spent most of the time rewriting on set.  Trying the best he could, things got worse for Fincher when the film was reedited without his knowledge leaving him to basically disown the project.  The reception to the final cut was not great and generally regarded as the weakest of the four; you have to wonder how it would have turned out if Ward or Fincher were given full creative control.  If you can, try pick up the special edition DVD which features some interesting interviews and goes into detail about the early ideas and scripts; Fincher sadly does not feature in an interview.  

Apocalypse Now

The finished product may be classed as a cinematic masterpiece but all was not rosy during production of Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War epic.  Martin Sheen replaced Harvey Keitel a few days into production before a typhoon destroyed some of the sets, including the Playboy Playmate set, leaving the project behind schedule and over budget.  That man Brando was at it again after he showed up on set far too fat to play Colonel Kurtz forcing Coppola into rewriting the ending which in itself would prove a mammoth task.  Things didn’t get much easier after star Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack on set and had to crawl in to the middle of the road to get help. But after a lengthy post production the film was released to both financial and critical acclaim winning the Palme d’Or in 1979 and still features on numerous “Best of All Time” lists. 

Caligula

A film starring Malcolm McDowell, Peter O’Toole and Helen Mirren charting the rise and fall of Roman Emperor Caligula sound like a classy affair right? Not quite.  Written by Gore Vidal as a historical drama the only we way to secure funding was by partnering with adult magazine, Penthouse, editor Bob Guccione which should have spelled trouble from the start.  Italian director Tinto Brass was hired but he would argue with both Vidal and art director Danillo Donati over both the script and set design.  Star McDowell and Brass would later try and rewrite the script and Vidal would subsequently have his name removed before launching legal action.  After Guccione saw Brass’ final cut he fired him and brought in Giancarlo Lui to reedit the film and reshoot about six minutes of hardcore pornography to replace Brass’ shots.  Before the film was released Brass would also launch a legal suit further delaying the films release.  When the film finally did make it to the screen it was universally panned.

Others include; almost anything to do with Edward Norton who has a tendency to rewrite his parts onset, he also tried to reedit American History X himself leading to director Tony Kaye unsuccessfully attempting to have his name removed from the credits.  Life on the Blade Runner set was also rather challenging for cast and crew with director Ridley Scott being a notorious hard-ass leading squabbles with Harrison Ford and protests from the crew, oh and then there was the infamous ‘final cut’.  Scott and our old chum Terry Gilliam have both suffered the tragic misfortune of an actor dying mid-shoot, Oliver Reed on Gladiator and Heath Ledger during The Imaginaruim of Dr. Parnassus.  There can’t possibly be anything worse than completing a film, a pretty good film at that, but having it shelved and reshot by Renny Harlin.  Well that’s what happened to Paul Schrader.  His film Dominion, a prequel to horror classic The Exorcist was deemed “too dark” by the studio and Harlin was brought in to hack together Exorcist: The Beginning

 So what others would you like to see on the list? The Wolfman hits cinemas from Friday 12th February (I believe there are advance previews Wednesday and Thursday) keep an eye out for the LFF review.

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Johnny Depp to direct Keith Richards Documentary

Posted by LiveFor on February 3, 2010

Johnny Depp and The Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards have a bit in common. Depp based Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean on Richards and then Richards played Captain Jack’s Dad in the last part of the trilogy.

Now, according to The Playlist, they will have something else to chat about as Depp is apparently a documentary on his Keith Richards.

Depp’s last time behind the camera was back in 1997 for the Marlon Brando film, The Brave. It only played at the Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals and wasn’t distributed as it wasn’t meant to be very good. It sounds as if Depp agrees with this.

“Now that I’m wiser, and that enough time has passed, I can experience directing again,” said Depp. “Already next week I’ll start working on a Keith Richards documentary. While I’m in Drvengrad, my editor is already working on kilometers of archive footage and footage of his concerts. I’m very touched that Keith agreed to show up in front of my cameras.”

The fact it is a documentary this time may also help him get his directing mojo together.

I’ve never seen The Brave (it is for sale over on Amazon UK) so can’t say how bad it is. However, I am a big fan of Depp (check out the time I managed to speak to him at the Public Enemies press conference) and look forward to seeing how he gets on with Keith Richards and what his experiences working with the likes of Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam and Michael Mann bring to the mix.

Do you think Depp will be a good documentary maker?

Posted in Documentary, Film, news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus Poster – Cool poster

Posted by LiveFor on January 5, 2010

This is an amazing poster byartist Martin Ansin. A limited edition of 150 24″x36″ screen prints will be sold for only $35 on MondoTees

Source: /Film

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Korean Poster

Posted by LiveFor on November 6, 2009

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Japanese Poster

Posted by LiveFor on October 29, 2009

imaginarium_of_doctor_parnassus_ver15

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus‎, 2009 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on October 19, 2009

parnassusandmrnick

Director: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole, Andrew Garfield, Heath Ledger, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell

Score: 7 / 10

This review by me.

First things first. With this film there is an elephant in the room and let us get that out the way shall we.

Heath Ledger passed away during the making of this film so sadly this was his last film. He was great as The Joker in The Dark Knight. He was not so good in this as a character called Tony. I am not saying he was bad, he just seemed to be coasting in it. I would go so far as to say that Heath was the weakest link in the cast (well after Verne Troyer) and the fact his accent comes and goes doesn’t help the proceedings, but he does a perfectly acceptable job. Plus, despite what you may have read, this is not Heath Ledger’s film. This is Terry Gilliam’s through and through.

Like all of his films the main characters seem to exist in their own bubble of bizarreness slightly askew from the real world. In this case the real world is London and its environs. Into that world we see a strange horse drawn cart (a fantastic vehicle full of nooks and crannies) that carries the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole), Percy (Verne Troyer) and Anton (a brilliant Andrew Garfield) who is in love with Valentina.

In these first few scenes with the family / troupe all of the actors are fantastic including the model Lily Cole. They all do what they are supposed to do and inhabit their characters so well you are soon drawn into their life, squabbles and dramas as they play to people in back alleys, Homebase car parks and ruined warehouses.

We soon learn that Parnassus made a deal with the Devil or Mr Nick (Tom Waits) for immortality and youth but there was a price. It is this price that is the plot for the film as they make another deal to get out of it.

Plummer and Waits are great together. You get a sense that over the centuries they have become almost wary friends as they are the one constant they have. You see how they first met and I would have loved to have seen more of their interactions throughout the years. Mr Nick is an excellent version of the Devil. Whenever he is around you hear the buzzing of flies and Tom Waits’ gravel toned voice suits him down to the ground (I’ve just remembered he played Renfield in Coppola’s Dracula so the fly thing is mildly ironic). I also loved his reaction when….oh I’ll leave that part out.

On their journey Dr Parnassus and co find Tony (Ledger) hanging by the neck under a bridge on the Thames. They save him, but his memory is lost and we find out bits and bobs as the film progresses.

He also falls for Valentina so conflict ensues between Tony and Anton. I really must say how good Andrew Garfield (Anton) is as Anton. You really feel for the guy as he tries to keep things they same as everything changes. Lily Cole is also a revelation. I always thought she was the ginger haired model with the really young looking face, but she sure can act and looks so much better moving around then in a photograph. Like any child coming of age she wants to spread her wings and get away, but she is stuck in a position and doesn’t realise just how perilous it can be.

Then of course we have the Imaginarium itself. This is what people enter and their imagination shapes it until they are either purified by the good Doctor or taken by Mr Nick depending upon what choices they make.

It is here that Terry Gilliam’s imagination truly takes flight. Like his animated creations from the Monty Python days he basically just goes to town and the CGI fits rather well. From forests full of beer cans, cities made of sweets, endless deserts and infinitely high mountains we get some stunning imagery. We also get a very pythonesque musical number involving policemen and a Zardoz style Parnassus head.

During the film Tony enters the Imaginarium on three occasions and on each occasion we see a different aspect of his personality and learn a bit more of his past. As you no doubt know these scenes where filmed after Heath Ledger had passed away so Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell stepped in.

To be honest it works wonderfully and I feel it is a lot better this way than if Ledger had filmed those scenes. All three of the alternate Tony’s are brilliant with Depp being my favourite, but also having the shortest screen time of the three. In fact I would probably have preferred to see Depp play Tony throughout the film as it almost felt that Ledger was channelling Depp in a few scenes, a slight Jack Sparrow feel to his delivery. That could just be me though.

I do feel that Christopher Plummer is the true star of the film. He is a fantastic actor and the panic, terror, joy and knowledge he brings throughout the film are great. He is a legend.

The main trouble with the film, expecially in the first third, is that I felt my concentration going now and again. Little things kept pulling me out such as seeing the singer Paloma Faith or that bloke from the bank adverts, but that will be because there are lots of English actors in it from the TV so it was bound to happen. However, the main story is told in bits and pieces at the start. That’s usually a good thing as I hate it when you are told everything without having to think, but it could have done with being a little tighter and I think 10 or 15 minutes could have been shaved off the running time.

All in all I enjoyed it and it is always great to see a Gilliam movie with all that Gilliam flights of fancy. Just don’t go and see it to see Heath Ledgers last film. That’s no reason to see it. Go to watch it for the strangeness, the weirdness and quality acting from all of the cast.

Of course everything I have just seen could all be the senile ramblings of an old man wandering the streets of London who thinks he is Doctor Parnassus and Percy is his Jiminy Cricket.

I went to see it with Jinja, Andy M and Del who scored it as follows:

Jinja – 5 / 10
Andy M – 5.5 / 10
Del – 7 /10

Have you seen it? What did you think of it?

Posted in Comedy, Fantasy, Film, news, Review | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – New French Poster

Posted by LiveFor on October 18, 2009

imaginarium_of_doctor_parnassus_ver13

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Featurette – Behind the Mirror

Posted by LiveFor on October 16, 2009

A behind the scenes look at The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus where the cast of the film talk about the characters they play.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


From the excellent Trailer Addict

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The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus – New Poster

Posted by LiveFor on October 15, 2009

parnassusbig
Source: /Film

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Lots of new Character Posters

Posted by LiveFor on October 9, 2009

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Some excellent French character posters for Terry Gilliam’s new film. Christopher Plummer (above) plays the titular Doctor and Tom Waits (below) plays the Devil who is after the soul of Parnassus’ daughter played by Lily Cole (bottom)
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Below we see the late Heath Ledger as Tony and Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp and Jude Law as different incarnations of Tony whenever he enters the Imaginarium. I think we also get a glimpse of what aspect of his character the different actors will be playing.
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Source: IMP

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