Terry Gilliam has two films he still wants to make, one will “offend everybody”

Terry Gilliam
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Filmmaker Terry Gilliam is still trying to get The Defective Detective made – and he has another project up his sleeve too.


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Terry Gilliam’s last film as director remains The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, that finally released in 2018 after an elongated struggle – and that’s no understatement – to get the movie shot and completed. In each of the last two decades he’s directed two features, and by the sounds of it, he wouldn’t mind getting to the same number in the 2020s.

The 82-year old filmmaker has been chatting on local radio this week, popping up on the BBC’s Radio London. There, Gilliam was talking to presenter Robert Elms, and when asked if he was done with films, he said “I’ve got two scripts sitting there that I want to do”.

The first is one he’s had for 30 years, that he’d developed after the success of The Fisher King. He wrote it with Richard LaGravenese, who also penned The Fisher King, and it’s one that’s a bit in limbo. “The thing has been stuck in the bowels of one of the film studios for years. They’re not going to let it out, but they’re not going to make it either”, Gilliam explained.

“They don’t want to let it go because somebody might make it, and they don’t want to feel embarrassed”.

However, he’s not given up. “I’ve got a producer who’s done very well in LA, and he’s trying to retrieve the thing”, he said.

The film in question is almost certainly The Defective Detective, even though he doesn’t name it. Paramount nearly made the film back in 1997, and at various stages, Bruce Willis, Nicolas Cage, Danny DeVito, Cameron Diaz and Nick Nolte have been linked to the film. It follows a New York cop who has a nervous breakdown, and ends up in a fantasy world, and clearly Gilliam views it as some degree of unfinished business.

The second project? Well, in his words, “there’s another one I wrote with a young British playwrite called Christopher Brett Bailey. I thought I wanted to work with somebody younger, and I was becoming too much of an old fart. And I wrote this thing wanting to offend everybody”.

He seems to have been getting half-decent at that in recent years, but he did admit of the script that “I’m afraid I’ve failed, because it’s a much jollier picture than I originally planned. But I’m sure there will have been many I will have offended in the course of it”.

Quite what that project is, and whether it’s close to being funded, was left unexplored. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.

Thanks to Fred Connelly for the heads up. The conversation, for the next couple of weeks, can be found here, around the two hour 37 minute mark.

Image: BigStock

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