Terry Gilliam
Overview
 
Terrence Vance "Terry" Gilliam (icon; born 22 November 1940) is an American-born British screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

, film director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

, animator
Animator
An animator is an artist who creates multiple images that give an illusion of movement called animation when displayed in rapid sequence; the images are called frames and key frames. Animators can work in a variety of fields including film, television, video games, and the internet. Usually, an...

, actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

 and member of the Monty Python
Monty Python
Monty Python was a British surreal comedy group who created their influential Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series...

 comedy troupe. Gilliam is also known for directing several films, including Brazil
Brazil (film)
Brazil is a 1985 British science fiction fantasy/black comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam. It was written by Gilliam, Charles McKeown, and Tom Stoppard and stars Jonathan Pryce. The film also features Robert De Niro, Kim Greist, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Holm...

(1985), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a 1988 British adventure comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam, starring John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, and Robin Williams.-Plot:...

(1988), The Fisher King
The Fisher King (film)
The Fisher King is a 1991 American comedy-drama film written by Richard LaGravenese and directed by Terry Gilliam. It stars Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer and Michael Jeter...

(1991), and 12 Monkeys (1995). The only "Python" not born in Britain, he took British citizenship in 1968.
Gilliam was born in Medicine Lake
Medicine Lake, Minnesota
Medicine Lake is a city in Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 371 at the 2010 census.-Geography:According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of —0.2 square miles of it is land and of it is water...

, Minnesota, the son of Beatrice (née Vance) and James Hall Gilliam, who was a traveling salesman for Folgers
Folgers
Folgers Coffee is a major brand of coffee in the United States, part of the food and beverage division of The J.M. Smucker Co.-Company history:...

 before becoming a carpenter.

The family moved to Panorama City, California, in 1952.
Encyclopedia
Terrence Vance "Terry" Gilliam (icon; born 22 November 1940) is an American-born British screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

, film director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

, animator
Animator
An animator is an artist who creates multiple images that give an illusion of movement called animation when displayed in rapid sequence; the images are called frames and key frames. Animators can work in a variety of fields including film, television, video games, and the internet. Usually, an...

, actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

 and member of the Monty Python
Monty Python
Monty Python was a British surreal comedy group who created their influential Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series...

 comedy troupe. Gilliam is also known for directing several films, including Brazil
Brazil (film)
Brazil is a 1985 British science fiction fantasy/black comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam. It was written by Gilliam, Charles McKeown, and Tom Stoppard and stars Jonathan Pryce. The film also features Robert De Niro, Kim Greist, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Holm...

(1985), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a 1988 British adventure comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam, starring John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, and Robin Williams.-Plot:...

(1988), The Fisher King
The Fisher King (film)
The Fisher King is a 1991 American comedy-drama film written by Richard LaGravenese and directed by Terry Gilliam. It stars Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer and Michael Jeter...

(1991), and 12 Monkeys (1995). The only "Python" not born in Britain, he took British citizenship in 1968.

Early life

Gilliam was born in Medicine Lake
Medicine Lake, Minnesota
Medicine Lake is a city in Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 371 at the 2010 census.-Geography:According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of —0.2 square miles of it is land and of it is water...

, Minnesota, the son of Beatrice (née Vance) and James Hall Gilliam, who was a traveling salesman for Folgers
Folgers
Folgers Coffee is a major brand of coffee in the United States, part of the food and beverage division of The J.M. Smucker Co.-Company history:...

 before becoming a carpenter.

The family moved to Panorama City, California, in 1952. Gilliam attended Birmingham High School
Birmingham High School
Birmingham Community Charter High School is a public coeducational high school in the neighborhood/district of Lake Balboa in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles, California, United States...

 where he was class president and senior prom
Prom
In the United States and Canada, a prom, short for promenade, is a formal dance, or gathering of high school students. It is typically held near the end of the senior year. It figures greatly in popular culture and is a major event among high school students...

 King, was voted "Most Likely to Succeed", and achieved straight A's. During high school, he began to avidly read Mad
Mad (magazine)
Mad is an American humor magazine founded by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines in 1952. Launched as a comic book before it became a magazine, it was widely imitated and influential, impacting not only satirical media but the entire cultural landscape of the 20th century.The last...

magazine, which was then edited by Harvey Kurtzman
Harvey Kurtzman
Harvey Kurtzman was an American cartoonist and the editor of several comic books and magazines. Kurtzman often signed his name H. Kurtz, followed by a stick figure Harvey Kurtzman (October 3, 1924, Brooklyn, New York – February 21, 1993) was an American cartoonist and the editor of several comic...

; this later influenced his work.

Gilliam later spoke to Salman Rushdie about defining experiences in the 1960s that would set the foundations for his views on the world, later influencing his art and career:

Animations

Terry Gilliam started his career as an animator and strip cartoonist. One of his early photographic strips
Fumetti
Fumetti is an Italian word which refers to all comics. In English, the term refers specifically to photonovels or photographic comics, a genre of comics illustrated with photographs rather than drawings. Italians call these fotoromanzi...

 for Help!
Help! (magazine)
Help! was an American magazine published by James Warren. It wasHarvey Kurtzman's longest-running magazine project after leaving Mad and EC Publications, and during its five years of operation it was always chronically underfunded, yet innovative...

featured future Python cast-member John Cleese
John Cleese
John Marwood Cleese is an English actor, comedian, writer, and film producer. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report...

. When Help! folded, Gilliam went to Europe, jokingly announcing in the very last issue that he was "being transferred to the European branch" of the magazine, which of course did not exist. Moving to England, he animated sequences for the children's series Do Not Adjust Your Set
Do Not Adjust Your Set
Do Not Adjust Your Set was a children's television series produced originally by Rediffusion, London, then by the fledgling Thames Television for British commercial television channel ITV from 26 December 1967 to 14 May 1969....

, which also featured Eric Idle
Eric Idle
Eric Idle is an English comedian, actor, author, singer, writer, and comedic composer. He was as a member of the British comedy group Monty Python, a member of the The Rutles on Saturday Night Live and author of the play, Spamalot....

, Terry Jones
Terry Jones
Terence Graham Parry Jones is a Welsh comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director, children's author, popular historian, political commentator, and TV documentary host. He is best known as a member of the Monty Python comedy team....

, and Michael Palin
Michael Palin
Michael Edward Palin, CBE FRGS is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries....

.

Monty Python

Gilliam was a part of Monty Python's Flying Circus from its outset, at first credited as an animator (his name was listed separately after the other five in the closing credits), later as a full member. His cartoons linked the show's sketches together, and defined the group's visual language in other media (such as LP and book covers, and the title sequences of their films). Gilliam's animations mix his own art, characterized by soft gradients and odd, bulbous shapes, with backgrounds and moving cutouts from antique photographs, mostly from the Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

.

Besides doing the animations, he also appeared in several sketches, though he rarely had any main roles and did considerably less acting in the sketches. He did however have some notable sketch roles such as Cardinal Fang of the Spanish Inquisition
The Spanish Inquisition (Monty Python)
"The Spanish Inquisition" is a series of sketches in Monty Python's Flying Circus, Series 2 Episode 2, first broadcast 22 September 1970, parodying the real-life Spanish Inquisition. This episode is itself entitled "The Spanish Inquisition"...

, "I Want More Beans!" (from "Most Awful Family in Britain 1974", Episode 45) and the Screaming Queen in a cape and mask singing "Ding dong merrily on high."

More frequently, he played parts that no one else wanted to play (generally because they required a lot of make-up or uncomfortable costumes, such as a recurring knight in armour who would end sketches by walking on and hitting one of the other characters over the head with a plucked chicken) and took a number of small roles in the films, including Patsy
Patsy (Monty Python)
Patsy is a character in the film Monty Python and The Holy Grail and the musical Spamalot. He is played by Terry Gilliam in Monty Python and The Holy Grail...

 in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1974 British comedy film written and performed by the comedy group Monty Python , and directed by Gilliam and Jones...

(which he co-directed with Terry Jones
Terry Jones
Terence Graham Parry Jones is a Welsh comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director, children's author, popular historian, political commentator, and TV documentary host. He is best known as a member of the Monty Python comedy team....

, where Gilliam was responsible for photography, while Jones would guide the actors' performances) and the jailer in Monty Python's Life of Brian
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Monty Python's Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, is a 1979 British comedy film written, directed and largely performed by the Monty Python comedy team...

.

Directing

With the gradual break-up of the Python troupe between Life of Brian in 1979 and The Meaning of Life in 1983, Gilliam became a screenwriter and director, building upon the experience he had acquired during the making of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Gilliam says he used to think of his films in terms of trilogies, starting with Time Bandits in 1981. The 1980s saw Gilliam's self-written Trilogy of Imagination about "the ages of man" in Time Bandits (1981), Brazil (1985), and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988). All are about the "craziness of our awkwardly ordered society and the desire to escape it through whatever means possible." All three movies focus on these struggles and attempts to escape them through imagination; Time Bandits, through the eyes of a child, Brazil, through the eyes of a thirty-something year old, and Munchausen, through the eyes of an elderly man.

Throughout the 1990s, Gilliam directed his Trilogy of Americana, The Fisher King (1991), 12 Monkeys (1995), and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), which were based on scripts by other people, played on North American soil, and while still being surreal, had less fantastical plots than his previous trilogy.

Themes and philosophy

As for his philosophical background in screenwriting and directing, Gilliam said on the TV show First Hand
First hand
Firsthand is obtained directly from the original source. The phrase may also refer to:* First Hand , the debut album released by Steven Curtis Chapman* First Hand Foundation, a non-profit organisation...

on RoundhouseTV: "There's so many film schools, so many media courses which I actually am opposed to. Because I think it's more important to be educated, to read, to learn things, because if you're gonna be in the media and if you'll have to say things, you have to know things. If you only know about cameras and 'the media', what're you gonna be talking about except cameras and the media? So it's better learning about philosophy and art and architecture [and] literature, these are the things to be concentrating on it seems to me. Then, you can fly...!"

His films are usually highly imaginative fantasies
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

. His long-time co-writer Charles McKeown comments about Gilliam's recurring interests, "the theme of imagination, and the importance of imagination, to how you live and how you think and so on [...] that's very much a Terry theme." Most of Gilliam's movies include plot-lines that seem to occur partly or completely in the characters' imaginations, raising questions about the definition of identity and sanity. He often shows his opposition to bureaucracy and authoritarian regimes. He also distinguishes "higher" and "lower" layers of society, with a disturbing and ironic style. His movies usually feature a fight or struggle against a great power which may be an emotional situation, a human-made idol
Cult image
In the practice of religion, a cult image is a human-made object that is venerated for the deity, spirit or daemon that it embodies or represents...

, or even the person himself, and the situations do not always end happily. There is often a dark, paranoid
Paranoia
Paranoia [] is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself...

 atmosphere and unusual characters who formerly were normal members of society. His scripts feature black comedy
Black comedy
A black comedy, or dark comedy, is a comic work that employs black humor or gallows humor. The definition of black humor is problematic; it has been argued that it corresponds to the earlier concept of gallows humor; and that, as humor has been defined since Freud as a comedic act that anesthetizes...

 and often end with a dark tragicomic
Tragicomedy
Tragicomedy is fictional work that blends aspects of the genres of tragedy and comedy. In English literature, from Shakespeare's time to the nineteenth century, tragicomedy referred to a serious play with either a happy ending or enough jokes throughout the play to lighten the mood.-Classical...

 twist.

As Gilliam is fascinated with the Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 due to the historical age's pronounced struggle between spirituality and logical rationality, there is often a rich baroqueness and dichotomous eclecticity about his movies, with, for instance, high-tech computer monitors equipped with low-tech magnifying lenses in Brazil, and in The Fisher King
The Fisher King (film)
The Fisher King is a 1991 American comedy-drama film written by Richard LaGravenese and directed by Terry Gilliam. It stars Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer and Michael Jeter...

a red knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

 covered with flapping bits of cloth. He also is given to incongruous juxtapositions of beauty and ugliness, or antique and modern. Regarding Gilliam's theme of modernity's struggle between spirituality and rationality whereas the individual may become dominated by a tyrannical, soulless machinery of disenchanted
Disenchantment
Disenchantment is a term in the social sciences used to describe the cultural rationalization and devaluation of mysticism apparent in modern society...

 society, film critic James Keith Hamel observed a specific affinity of Gilliam's movies with the writings of economic historian Arnold Toynbee
Arnold Toynbee
Arnold Toynbee was a British economic historian also noted for his social commitment and desire to improve the living conditions of the working classes.-Biography:...

 and sociologist Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

, specifically the latter's concept of the Iron cage
Iron cage
Iron cage, a sociological concept introduced by Max Weber, refers to the increased rationalization inherent in social life, particularly in Western capitalist societies. The "iron cage" thus traps individuals in systems based purely on teleological efficiency, rational calculation and control...

of modern rationality.

Look and style

Gilliam's films have a distinctive look not only in mise-en-scene but even more so in photography, often recognizable from just a short clip; in order to create a surreal atmosphere of psychological unrest and a world out-of-balance, Gilliam makes frequent use of unusual camera angles, particularly low-angle shot
Low-angle shot
In cinematography, a low-angle shot, is a shot from a camera positioned low on the vertical axis, anywhere below the eyeline, looking up.-Famous examples:...

s, high-angle shot
High-angle shot
In film, a high angle shot is usually when the camera is located above the eyeline.With this type of angle, the camera looks down on the subject and the point of focus often get "swallowed up" by the setting....

s, and Dutch angle
Dutch angle
Dutch tilt, Dutch angle, Dutch shot, oblique angle, German angle, canted angle, Batman angle, or jaunty angle are terms used for one of many cinematic techniques often used to portray the psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed...

s. Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 has said "his world is always hallucinatory
Hallucination
A hallucination, in the broadest sense of the word, is a perception in the absence of a stimulus. In a stricter sense, hallucinations are defined as perceptions in a conscious and awake state in the absence of external stimuli which have qualities of real perception, in that they are vivid,...

 in its richness of detail." Most of his movies are shot almost entirely with rectilinear
Rectilinear lens
In photography, a rectilinear lens is a photographic lens that yields images where straight features, such as the walls of buildings, appear with straight lines, as opposed to being curved. In other words, it is a lens with little or no barrel or pincushion distortion...

 ultra wide angle lens
Ultra wide angle lens
An ultra wide-angle lens is a lens whose focal length is shorter than the short side of film or sensor.Thus the term denotes a different range of lenses, relative to the size of the sensor in the camera in question....

es of 28 mm focal length
Focal length
The focal length of an optical system is a measure of how strongly the system converges or diverges light. For an optical system in air, it is the distance over which initially collimated rays are brought to a focus...

 or less in order to achieve a distinctive signature style defined by extreme perspective distortion
Perspective distortion (photography)
In photography and cinematography, perspective distortion is a warping or transformation of an object and its surrounding area that differs significantly from what the object would look like with a normal focal length, due to the relative scale of nearby and distant features...

 and extremely deep focus
Deep focus
Deep focus is a photographic and cinematographic technique using a large depth of field. Depth of field is the front-to-back range of focus in an image — that is, how much of it appears sharp and clear. Consequently, in deep focus the foreground, middle-ground and background are all in focus...

. Gilliam's long-time director of photography Nicola Pecorini
Nicola Pecorini
Nicola Pecorini is an Italian-born cinematographer.Pecorini was born in Milan, Lombardy, Italy. He founded, with Garrett Brown, inventor of the steadicam, the Steadicam Operators Association, Inc. , in 1988. Pecorini moved to the States in 1993...

 has said, "with Terry and me, a long lens means something between a 40mm and a 65mm." This attitude markedly differs from the common definition in photography which qualifies 40mm to 65mm as the focal length of a normal lens
Normal lens
In photography and cinematography a normal lens, also called a standard lens, is a lens that reproduces perspective that generally looks "natural" to a human observer under normal viewing conditions, as compared with lenses with longer or shorter focal lengths which produce an expanded or...

 instead due to resembling natural human field of view
Field of view
The field of view is the extent of the observable world that is seen at any given moment....

, unlike Gilliam's signature style defined by extreme perspective distortion due to his usual choice of focal length. In fact, over the years, the 14mm lens has become informally known as "The Gilliam" among film-makers due to the director's frequent use of it since at least Brazil.
In another interview, Gilliam also mentioned, in relation to the 9.8mm Kinoptic lens he had first used on Brazil, that wide-angle lenses make small film sets "look big". The widest lens he has used so far is an 8mm Zeiss lens employed on The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a 2009 fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and Charles McKeown. The film follows a traveling theater troupe whose leader, having made a bet with the Devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations...

.

Production problems

Gilliam has made a few extremely expensive movies beset with production problems. After the lengthy quarreling with Universal Studios
Universal Studios
Universal Pictures , a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, is one of the six major movie studios....

 over Brazil
Brazil (film)
Brazil is a 1985 British science fiction fantasy/black comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam. It was written by Gilliam, Charles McKeown, and Tom Stoppard and stars Jonathan Pryce. The film also features Robert De Niro, Kim Greist, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Holm...

, Gilliam's next picture, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a 1988 British adventure comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam, starring John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, and Robin Williams.-Plot:...

, cost around US$46 million, and then earned only about US$8 million in US ticket sales. The film saw no wide domestic release from Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies...

, which was in the process of being sold at the time.

In the mid-1990s, Gilliam and Charles McKeown
Charles McKeown
Charles McKeown is a British actor and writer, perhaps best known for his collaborations with Terry Gilliam. The two met while shooting Monty Python's Life of Brian, while McKeown was doing bit parts in the film.-Screenwriting career:...

 developed a script for Time Bandits 2, a project that never came to be made. Several of the original actors had died. Gilliam also attempted to direct a version of Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

's A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With well over 200 million copies sold, it ranks among the most famous works in the history of fictional literature....

, which collapsed due to disagreements over its budget and choice of lead actor.

In 1999, Gilliam attempted to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is a planned feature film by director Terry Gilliam. As documented in Lost in La Mancha, production originally commenced in October 2000, but stopped within a week due to a serious injury to Jean Rochefort, who had been cast for the title role of Don Quixote...

, budgeted at US$32.1 million, among the highest-budgeted films to use only European financing; but in the first week of shooting, the actor playing Don Quixote (Jean Rochefort
Jean Rochefort
Jean Rochefort is a French actor, with a career that has spanned over five decades.Rochefort was born in Paris, France. He was educated at the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen He was 19 years old when he entered the Centre d'Art Dramatique de la rue Blanche. Later he joined the Conservatoire National...

) suffered a herniated disc
Spinal disc herniation
A spinal disc herniation , informally and misleadingly called a "slipped disc", is a medical condition affecting the spine due to trauma, lifting injuries, or idiopathic, in which a tear in the outer, fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc allows the soft, central portion A spinal disc herniation...

, and a flood severely damaged the set. The film was cancelled, resulting in an insurance claim of US$15 million. Despite the cancellation, the aborted project did yield the documentary Lost in La Mancha
Lost in La Mancha
Lost in La Mancha is a documentary film narrated by Jeff Bridges about Terry Gilliam's failed first attempt to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a film adaptation of the novel Don Quixote...

, produced from film from a second crew that had been hired by Gilliam to document the making of Quixote. After the cancellation, both Gilliam and the film's co-lead, Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp
John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II is an American actor, producer and musician. He has won the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor. Depp rose to prominence on the 1980s television series 21 Jump Street, becoming a teen idol...

, wanted to revive the project. The insurance company involved in the failed first attempt withheld the rights to the screenplay for several years but the production was finally restarted in 2008.

Gilliam has attempted twice to adapt Alan Moore
Alan Moore
Alan Oswald Moore is an English writer primarily known for his work in comic books, a medium where he has produced a number of critically acclaimed and popular series, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell...

's Watchmen
Watchmen
Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book limited series created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colourist John Higgins. The series was published by DC Comics during 1986 and 1987, and has been subsequently reprinted in collected form...

comics into a film
Watchmen (film)
Watchmen is a 2009 superhero film directed by Zack Snyder and starring Malin Åkerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Patrick Wilson. It is an adaptation of the comic book of the same name by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons...

. Both attempts (in 1989 and 1996) were unsuccessful. Most recently, unforeseeable problems again befell a Gilliam project when actor Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger
Heath Andrew Ledger was an Australian television and film actor. After performing roles in Australian television and film during the 1990s, Ledger moved to the United States in 1998 to develop his film career...

 died in New York City during the filming of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a 2009 fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and Charles McKeown. The film follows a traveling theater troupe whose leader, having made a bet with the Devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations...

.

On the other hand, Gilliam's first successful feature, Time Bandits
Time Bandits
Time Bandits is a 1981 British fantasy film produced and directed by Terry Gilliam.Terry Gilliam wrote the screenplay with fellow Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin, who appears with Shelley Duvall in the small, recurring roles of Vincent and Pansy. The film is one of the most famous of more than...

(1981), earned more than eight times its original budget in the United States alone; The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) was nominated for four Academy Awards (and won, among other European prizes, three BAFTA Awards
British Academy Film Awards
The British Academy Film Awards are presented in an annual award show hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts . It is the British counterpart of the Oscars. As of 2008, it has taken place in the Royal Opera House, having taken over from the flagship Odeon cinema on Leicester Square...

); The Fisher King (1991) (his first film not to feature a member from Python) was nominated for five (and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

); and 12 Monkeys went on to take over US$168 million worldwide; whilst The Brothers Grimm
The Brothers Grimm (film)
The Brothers Grimm is a 2005 fantasy Adventure film directed by Terry Gilliam. The film stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger in an exaggerated and fictitious portrait of the Brothers Grimm as traveling con-artists in French-occupied Germany during the late 18th century...

, despite a mixed critical reception, grossed over US$105 million worldwide. According to Box Office Mojo
Box Office Mojo
Box Office Mojo is a website that tracks box office revenue in a systematic, algorithmic way. Brandon Gray started the site in 1999. In 2002, Gray partnered with Sean Saulsbury and they grew the site to nearly two million readers when, in July 2008, the company was purchased by Amazon.com through...

, his films have grossed an average of $26,009,723.

Recurring collaborators

Ever since his first Python-independent feature Jabberwocky, Gilliam has shown a propensity to work with particular actors in numerous productions. Up until the 1990s, each of Gilliam's non-Python films was to feature at least one of his fellow Monty Python
Monty Python
Monty Python was a British surreal comedy group who created their influential Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series...

 alumni (particularly Palin, Cleese, and Idle), and for his finished projects Gilliam has worked with the following actors more than once (in order of first film appearance):
  • Derrick O'Connor
    Derrick O'Connor
    Derrick O'Connor is an Irish character actor, mostly known for his roles in Terry Gilliam films. He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company....

     (Jabberwocky, Time Bandits, Brazil)
  • Ian Holm
    Ian Holm
    Sir Ian Holm, CBE is an English actor known for his stage work and for many film roles. He received the 1967 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his performance as Lenny in The Homecoming and the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in the title role of King Lear...

     (Time Bandits, Brazil)
  • Peter Vaughan
    Peter Vaughan
    Peter Vaughan is an English character actor, known for many supporting roles in a variety of British film and television productions. He has worked extensively on the stage, becoming known for roles such as police inspectors, Soviet agents and similar parts...

     (Time Bandits, Brazil)
  • Jack Purvis
    Jack Purvis (actor)
    Jack Purvis was a British film actor. Purvis was a dwarf, and thus was mainly cast in roles requiring actors of short stature...

     (Time Bandits, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen)
  • Jim Broadbent
    Jim Broadbent
    James "Jim" Broadbent is an English theatre, film, and television actor. He is known for his roles in Iris, Moulin Rouge!, Topsy-Turvy, Hot Fuzz, and Bridget Jones' Diary...

     (Time Bandits, Brazil)
  • Charles McKeown
    Charles McKeown
    Charles McKeown is a British actor and writer, perhaps best known for his collaborations with Terry Gilliam. The two met while shooting Monty Python's Life of Brian, while McKeown was doing bit parts in the film.-Screenwriting career:...

     (Time Bandits, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus)
  • Katherine Helmond
    Katherine Helmond
    Katherine Marie Helmond is an American film, theater and television actress, who played Emily Dickinson on Meeting of Minds, as well as such fictional characters as Jessica Tate on Soap, Mona Robinson on Who's the Boss?, Doris Sherman on Coach, and Lois Whelan on Everybody Loves...

     (Time Bandits, Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
  • Jonathan Pryce
    Jonathan Pryce
    Jonathan Pryce, CBE is a Welsh stage and film actor and singer. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and meeting his longtime partner English actress Kate Fahy in 1974, he began his career as a stage actor in the 1970s...

     (Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Brothers Grimm)
  • Simon Jones
    Simon Jones (actor)
    Simon Jones is an English actor, most famous for his appearances in the television and radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which he played the lead role of Arthur Dent from 1978 to 2005...

     (Brazil, 12 Monkeys)
  • Robin Williams
    Robin Williams
    Robin McLaurin Williams is an American actor and comedian. Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork and Mindy, and later stand-up comedy work, Williams has performed in many feature films since 1980. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance...

     (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Fisher King; also was to play Cavaldi in The Brothers Grimm until objections by producers Bob
    Bob Weinstein
    Robert "Bob" Weinstein is an American film and theatre producer, the founder and head of Dimension Films, former co-chairman of Miramax Films, and current head, with his brother Harvey Weinstein, of The Weinstein Company.-Career:...

     and Harvey Weinstein
    Harvey Weinstein
    Harvey Weinstein, CBE is an American film producer and movie studio chairman. He is best known as co-founder of Miramax Films. He and his brother Bob have been co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company, their film production company, since 2005...

    )
  • Jeff Bridges
    Jeff Bridges
    Jeffrey Leon "Jeff" Bridges is an American actor and musician. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Otis "Bad" Blake in the 2009 film Crazy Heart....

     (The Fisher King, Tideland)
  • Michael Jeter
    Michael Jeter
    Michael Jeter was an American actor.- Early life :Michael Jeter was born in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. His mother, Virginia , was a housewife...

     (The Fisher King, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
  • Tom Waits
    Tom Waits
    Thomas Alan "Tom" Waits is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car."...

     (The Fisher King, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus)
  • Christopher Plummer
    Christopher Plummer
    Arthur Christopher Orne Plummer, CC is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. He made his film debut in 1957's Stage Struck, and notable early film performances include Night of the Generals, The Return of the Pink Panther and The Man Who Would Be King.In a career that spans over five...

     (12 Monkeys, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus)
  • Christopher Meloni
    Christopher Meloni
    Christopher Peter Meloni is an American actor. He is best known for his television roles as NYPD Detective Elliot Stabler on the NBC police drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and as inmate Chris Keller on the HBO prison drama Oz.-Early life:Meloni was born the youngest of three children in...

     (12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
  • Johnny Depp
    Johnny Depp
    John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II is an American actor, producer and musician. He has won the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor. Depp rose to prominence on the 1980s television series 21 Jump Street, becoming a teen idol...

     (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; held the title role in Gilliam's first attempt at directing The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in 2000)
  • Verne Troyer
    Verne Troyer
    Verne J. Troyer is an American stand-up comedian, actor, stuntman and performer, best known for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers series...

     (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus)
  • Heath Ledger
    Heath Ledger
    Heath Andrew Ledger was an Australian television and film actor. After performing roles in Australian television and film during the 1990s, Ledger moved to the United States in 1998 to develop his film career...

     (The Brothers Grimm, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus)
  • Peter Stormare
    Peter Stormare
    is a Swedish film, stage, voice and television actor as well as a theatrical director, playwright and musician.- Early life :...

     (The Brothers Grimm, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus)


Other recurring collaborators include Gilliam's cinematographers Roger Pratt
Roger Pratt (cinematographer)
Roger Pratt BSC is a British cinematographer. Pratt has been the director of photography for more than 35 films. Among his body of films, he has worked on Batman , Frankenstein , 102 Dalmatians , Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets , Troy , and more recently Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire...

 (Brazil, The Fisher King, 12 Monkeys) and Nicola Pecorini
Nicola Pecorini
Nicola Pecorini is an Italian-born cinematographer.Pecorini was born in Milan, Lombardy, Italy. He founded, with Garrett Brown, inventor of the steadicam, the Steadicam Operators Association, Inc. , in 1988. Pecorini moved to the States in 1993...

 (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Brothers Grimm, Tideland, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), and his co-writer McKeown (Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus).

Gilliam and Harry Potter

J. K. Rowling
J. K. Rowling
Joanne "Jo" Rowling, OBE , better known as J. K. Rowling, is the British author of the Harry Potter fantasy series...

, author of the Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

series, is a fan of Gilliam's work. Consequently, he was Rowling's first choice to direct Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, released in the United States and India as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, is a 2001 fantasy film directed by Chris Columbus and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. The film is the first instalment in the Harry Potter film series,...

in 2000, but Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 ultimately chose Chris Columbus
Chris Columbus (filmmaker)
Christopher Joseph "Chris" Columbus is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Columbus had his largest success with the first two films in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, along with Home Alone, the last...

 for the job. In response to this decision, Gilliam expressed that "I was the perfect guy to do Harry Potter. I remember leaving the meeting, getting in my car, and driving for about two hours along Mulholland Drive
Mulholland Drive
Mulholland Drive is a street and road in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. It is named after Los Angeles pioneer civil engineer William Mulholland...

 just so angry. I mean, Chris Columbus' versions are terrible. Just dull. Pedestrian." In 2006, Gilliam added that he found Alfonso Cuarón
Alfonso Cuarón
Alfonso Cuarón Orozco is a Mexican film director, screenwriter and film producer, best known for his films Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Y tu mamá también, and A Little Princess.- Early life :...

's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 fantasy film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the third instalment in the Harry Potter film series, written by Steve Kloves and produced by Chris Columbus, David Heyman and Mark Radcliffe...

to be "really good...much closer to what I would've done." In retrospect, however, Gilliam has stated that he wouldn't have liked to direct any Potter film
Harry Potter (film series)
The Harry Potter film series is a British-American film series based on the Harry Potter novels by the British author J. K. Rowling...

. In a 2005 interview with Total Film
Total Film
Total Film is a British film magazine published 13 times a year by Future Publishing. The magazine was launched in 1997 and offers film, DVD and Blu-ray news, reviews and features...

magazine, he said that he would not enjoy working on such an expensive project due to interference from studio executives.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, director David Yates
David Yates
David Yates is an English filmmaker who rose to mainstream prominence directing the final four films in the Harry Potter film series. He helmed the series' fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth installments, all of which became an instant blockbuster success and made him the most commercially...

 paid homage to Gilliam's 1985 film Brazil
Brazil (film)
Brazil is a 1985 British science fiction fantasy/black comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam. It was written by Gilliam, Charles McKeown, and Tom Stoppard and stars Jonathan Pryce. The film also features Robert De Niro, Kim Greist, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Holm...

.

Secret Tournament

In 2002, Gilliam directed a series of television advertisements called Secret Tournament
Secret Tournament
"The Secret Tournament" was a Nike advertising campaign coinciding with the 2002 FIFA World Cup. With a marketing budget estimated at US$100 million, the advert featured 24 top contemporary football players and Eric Cantona as the tournament "referee"...

. The advertisements were part of Nike
Nike, Inc.
Nike, Inc. is a major publicly traded sportswear and equipment supplier based in the United States. The company is headquartered near Beaverton, Oregon, which is part of the Portland metropolitan area...

's Football World Cup campaign, and featured a secret three-on-three tournament between the world's best football players inside a huge tanker ship, with the Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

 song "A Little Less Conversation
A Little Less Conversation
"A Little Less Conversation" is a song written by Mac Davis and Billy Strange that was originally performed and written for American rock and roll icon Elvis Presley for the 1968 film Live a Little, Love a Little. When the song was released as a single with "Almost in Love" as the b-side, it became...

" playing during the advertisements.

Slava's Diabolo

In 1996, Gilliam directed the stage show Slava's Diabolo created and staged by Russian clown
Clown
Clowns are comic performers stereotypically characterized by the grotesque image of the circus clown's colored wigs, stylistic makeup, outlandish costumes, unusually large footwear, and red nose, which evolved to project their actions to large audiences. Other less grotesque styles have also...

 artist Slava Polunin. The show combines Polunin's clown style, characterized by deep non-verbal expression and interaction with the audience, with Gilliam's rich visuals and surrealistic imagery. The show premiered at the Noga hall of the Gesher theater in Jaffa, Israel.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a 2009 fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and Charles McKeown. The film follows a traveling theater troupe whose leader, having made a bet with the Devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations...

, directed and co-written by Gilliam, was released in 2009. In January 2007, Gilliam announced that he had been working on a new project with writing partner Charles McKeown. One day later, the fansite Dreams reported that the new project was titled The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. In October 2007, Dreams confirmed that this would be Gilliam's next project and was slated to star Christopher Plummer
Christopher Plummer
Arthur Christopher Orne Plummer, CC is a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. He made his film debut in 1957's Stage Struck, and notable early film performances include Night of the Generals, The Return of the Pink Panther and The Man Who Would Be King.In a career that spans over five...

 and Tom Waits
Tom Waits
Thomas Alan "Tom" Waits is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car."...

. Production began in December 2007 in London.

On 22 January 2008, production of the film was disrupted following the death of Heath Ledger in New York City. Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

reports that Ledger's involvement had been a "key factor" in the film's financing. Production was suspended indefinitely by 24 January, but in February actors Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp
John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II is an American actor, producer and musician. He has won the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor. Depp rose to prominence on the 1980s television series 21 Jump Street, becoming a teen idol...

, Jude Law
Jude Law
David Jude Heyworth Law , known professionally as Jude Law, is an English actor, film producer and director.He began acting with the National Youth Music Theatre in 1987, and had his first television role in 1989...

, and Colin Farrell
Colin Farrell
Colin James Farrell is an Irish actor, who has appeared in such film as Tigerland, Miami Vice, Minority Report, Phone Booth, The Recruit, Alexander and S.W.A.T....

 reportedly signed on to continue Ledger's role, transforming into multiple incarnations of his character in the "magical" world of the film. Thanks to this arrangement principal photography was completed 15 April 2008 on schedule. Editing was completed November 2008. According to the official ParnassusFilm Twitter channel launched on 30 March 2009, the film's post-production FX work finished on 31 March.

During the filming, Gilliam was accidentally hit by a bus and broke his back.

The UK release for the film was scheduled for 6 June 2009 but was pushed back to 16 October 2009. The USA release was on 25 December 2009. The film has had successful screenings including a premiere at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival
2009 Cannes Film Festival
The 62nd annual Cannes Film Festival was held from May 13 to May 24, 2009. French actress Isabelle Huppert was the President of the Jury. It was announced on March 19, 2009, that Pixar's film Up would open the festival...

. The director stated his intent to dedicate the film to Ledger. Depp, Farrell, and Law donated their proceeds from the film to Ledger's daughter.

The Damnation of Faust

Gilliam made his opera debut at London's English National Opera
English National Opera
English National Opera is an opera company based in London, resident at the London Coliseum in St. Martin's Lane. It is one of the two principal opera companies in London, along with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden...

 in May 2011, directing The Damnation of Faust
The Damnation of Faust
La damnation de Faust , Op. 24 is a work for four solo voices, full seven-part chorus, large children's chorus and orchestra by the French composer Hector Berlioz. He called it a "légende dramatique"...

by Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

. The production received positive reviews in the British press

Projects in development or shelved

Gilliam has several projects in various states of development, including an adaptation of Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman
Neil Richard Gaiman born 10 November 1960)is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book...

 and Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett
Sir Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett, OBE is an English novelist, known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels...

's comic fantasy novel Good Omens
Good Omens
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch is a World Fantasy Award nominated novel written in collaboration between the English authors Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman....

. Other projects Gilliam has been trying to get off the ground since the 1990s are an adaptation of Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

' A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With well over 200 million copies sold, it ranks among the most famous works in the history of fictional literature....

(starring Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson
Mel Colm-Cille Gerard Gibson, AO is an American actor, film director, producer and screenwriter. Born in Peekskill, New York, Gibson moved with his parents to Sydney, Australia when he was 12 years old and later studied acting at the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art.After appearing in...

), an adaptation of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is an 1889 novel by American humorist and writer Mark Twain. The book was originally titled A Yankee in King Arthur's Court...

by Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 (which has been adapted into movies several times before), and a script titled The Defective Detective that Gilliam has co-authored with Richard LaGravenese
Richard LaGravenese
Richard LaGravenese is an American screenwriter and occasional film director. He is best known as the writer of The Fisher King.-Personal life:...

 (who wrote Gilliam's The Fisher King
The Fisher King (film)
The Fisher King is a 1991 American comedy-drama film written by Richard LaGravenese and directed by Terry Gilliam. It stars Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer and Michael Jeter...

before).

It was rumoured that Gilliam may direct – or be involved in the production of – the animated band Gorillaz
Gorillaz
Gorillaz is an English musical project created in 1998 by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. This project consists of Gorillaz music itself and an extensive fictional universe depicting a "virtual band" of cartoon characters...

' movie. In a September 2006 interview with Uncut magazine
UNCUT (magazine)
Uncut magazine, trademarked as UNCUT, is a monthly publication based in London. It is available across the English-speaking world, and focuses on music, but also includes film and books sections...

, Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn is an English singer-songwriter and record producer who has been involved in many high profile projects, coming to prominence as the frontman and primary songwriter of Britpop band Blur...

 was reported saying "... we're making a film. We've got Terry Gilliam involved." However, in a more recent interview with Gorillaz-Unofficial, Jamie Hewlett
Jamie Hewlett
Jamie Christopher Hewlett is an English comic book artist and designer. He is known for being the co-creator of the comic Tank Girl and co-creator of the virtual band Gorillaz.-Biography:...

, the co-creator of the band, stated that since the time of the previous interview, Damon's and his own fixation on the film had lessened. In an August 2008 Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

interview, Gorillaz band members Albarn and Hewlett revealed the nature and title of the project, Journey to the West, a movie adaptation of the opera of the same name
Journey to the West
Journey to the West is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. It was written by Wu Cheng'en in the 16th century. In English-speaking countries, the tale is also often known simply as Monkey. This was one title used for a popular, abridged translation by Arthur Waley...

 based on a 16th-century Chinese adventure story also known as Monkey. In January 2008, while on set of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Gilliam stated that he was looking forward to the project, "But I'm still waiting to see a script!"

Zero Theorem was a planned feature film project by Gilliam. The science fiction film
Science fiction film
Science fiction film is a film genre that uses science fiction: speculative, science-based depictions of phenomena that are not necessarily accepted by mainstream science, such as extraterrestrial life forms, alien worlds, extrasensory perception, and time travel, often along with futuristic...

 would have starred Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton
Billy Bob Thornton is an American actor, screenwriter, director and musician. Thornton gained early recognition as a cast member on the CBS sitcom Hearts Afire and in several early 1990s films including On Deadly Ground and Tombstone...

. Participating were producer Richard D. Zanuck
Richard D. Zanuck
Richard Darryl Zanuck is an American film producer. He iscredited for producing famous movies of the 1970's, 80's, 90's and the 21 century.-Life and career:...

 and screenwriter Pat Rushin. When little was revealed about the nature of the film writer Pat Rushin suggested that his short story "Vow: A Prolix Parable" was an example of the screenplay's sensibility. An article at film website Tout Le Cine stated the film was to be about a reclusive and tortured data processing genius working on a mysterious project. Production was said to start May 2009. However, in June 2009 Gilliam stated that he had dropped the film having to invest more time than expected in the promotion of the 2009 film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a 2009 fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and Charles McKeown. The film follows a traveling theater troupe whose leader, having made a bet with the Devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations...

as well as in preparation for his film of Don Quixote
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is a planned feature film by director Terry Gilliam. As documented in Lost in La Mancha, production originally commenced in October 2000, but stopped within a week due to a serious injury to Jean Rochefort, who had been cast for the title role of Don Quixote...

.

Future projects

After regaining the rights to the screenplay of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is a planned feature film by director Terry Gilliam. As documented in Lost in La Mancha, production originally commenced in October 2000, but stopped within a week due to a serious injury to Jean Rochefort, who had been cast for the title role of Don Quixote...

, Gilliam restarted pre-production in 2008, with Johnny Depp still attached to the project. The film will be reshot completely, and Rochefort's role will be recast. Michael Palin reportedly entered talks with Gilliam to step in for Rochefort and play Don Quixote. However, Gilliam revealed on Canadian talk show The Hour on 17 December 2009, that Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

 had been cast to play Quixote.

On 16 December 2010, Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

reported that Gilliam is to "godfather" a film called 1884 which is described as an animated steampunk
Steampunk
Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Steampunk involves a setting where steam power is still widely used—usually Victorian era Britain or "Wild West"-era United...

 parody of George Orwell
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

's Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...

, with several former Pythons lending their voice talents to the project whereas Gilliam will be credited as "creative adviser".

Personal life

Gilliam has been married to the British make-up and costume designer Maggie Weston since 1973. She worked on Monty Python's Flying Circus, many of the Python movies, and Gilliam's movies up to The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a 1988 British adventure comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam, starring John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, and Robin Williams.-Plot:...

. They have three children, Amy (b. 1978), Holly (b. 1980), and Harry (b. 1988), who have also appeared in several of Gilliam's films.

In 1968, Gilliam obtained British citizenship, then held dual U.S. and British citizenship for the next 38 years. In January 2006 he renounced his U.S. citizenship. In an interview with Der Tagesspiegel
Der Tagesspiegel
Der Tagesspiegel is a classical liberal German daily newspaper...

, he described the action as a protest against then President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

, and in an earlier interview with The Onion AV Club, he also indicated that it was related to concerns about future tax liability for his wife and children. As a result of renouncing his U.S. citizenship, Gilliam will only be permitted to spend 30 days per year in the United States between 2006-2016, fewer than ordinary British citizens. Gilliam also maintains a residence in Italy near the Umbria
Umbria
Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked.Its capital is Perugia.Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St...

-Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

 border. He has been instrumental in establishing the annual Umbria Film Festival, held in the nearby hill town of Montone
Montone
Montone is a comune in the Province of Perugia in the Italian region Umbria, located about 35 km north of Perugia.Montone is a walled medieval village with a small industrial and housing estate surrounding the walled town center...

.

Feature

  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1974 British comedy film written and performed by the comedy group Monty Python , and directed by Gilliam and Jones...

    (1975) (co-directed with Terry Jones)
  • Jabberwocky
    Jabberwocky (film)
    Jabberwocky is a 1977 British fantasy black comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam. It stars Michael Palin as a young cooper who is forced through clumsy, often slapstick misfortunes to hunt a terrible dragon after the death of his father...

    (1977)
  • Time Bandits
    Time Bandits
    Time Bandits is a 1981 British fantasy film produced and directed by Terry Gilliam.Terry Gilliam wrote the screenplay with fellow Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin, who appears with Shelley Duvall in the small, recurring roles of Vincent and Pansy. The film is one of the most famous of more than...

    (1981)
  • Brazil
    Brazil (film)
    Brazil is a 1985 British science fiction fantasy/black comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam. It was written by Gilliam, Charles McKeown, and Tom Stoppard and stars Jonathan Pryce. The film also features Robert De Niro, Kim Greist, Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Holm...

    (1985)
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
    The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
    The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a 1988 British adventure comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam, starring John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, and Robin Williams.-Plot:...

    (1988)
  • The Fisher King
    The Fisher King (film)
    The Fisher King is a 1991 American comedy-drama film written by Richard LaGravenese and directed by Terry Gilliam. It stars Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer and Michael Jeter...

    (1991)
  • 12 Monkeys (1995)
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (film)
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a 1998 American drama film directed by Terry Gilliam, starring Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke and Benicio del Toro as Dr. Gonzo. It was adapted from Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 novel of the same name....

    (1998)
  • The Brothers Grimm
    The Brothers Grimm (film)
    The Brothers Grimm is a 2005 fantasy Adventure film directed by Terry Gilliam. The film stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger in an exaggerated and fictitious portrait of the Brothers Grimm as traveling con-artists in French-occupied Germany during the late 18th century...

    (2005)
  • Tideland
    Tideland (film)
    Tideland is a 2005 British-Canadian fantasy thriller film co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam, an adaptation of Mitch Cullin's novel of the same name. The film was shot in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and surrounding area in the fall and winter of 2004...

    (2005)
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
    The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
    The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a 2009 fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and Charles McKeown. The film follows a traveling theater troupe whose leader, having made a bet with the Devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations...

    (2009)


Upcoming films:
  • The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
    The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
    The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is a planned feature film by director Terry Gilliam. As documented in Lost in La Mancha, production originally commenced in October 2000, but stopped within a week due to a serious injury to Jean Rochefort, who had been cast for the title role of Don Quixote...

    (in pre-production)

Shorts

  • Storytime (1968) (animated short)
  • The Miracle of Flight
    The Miracle of Flight
    -Synopsis:Ever since Man first observed the smooth, graceful soaring of a Boeing 707, he has had an unquenchable desire to fly.After a short montage of various birds in flight, we see several attempts of people attempting to fly themselves. A shepherd attempts flying by flapping his wings, only to...

    (1974) (animated short)
  • The Crimson Permanent Assurance
    The Crimson Permanent Assurance
    The Crimson Permanent Assurance is a short film that plays as the beginning of the feature-length motion picture Monty Python's The Meaning of Life...

    (1983) (a short supporting feature that accompanied Monty Python's The Meaning of Life)
  • The Legend of Hallowdega (2010)
  • The Wholly Family (2011)

Awards, nominations and honours

  • Brazil (1985)
    • Los Angeles Film Critics Association
      Los Angeles Film Critics Association
      The Los Angeles Film Critics Association was founded in 1975. Its main purpose is to present yearly awards to members of the film industry who have excelled in their fields. These awards are presented each January...

       Best film, director, and screenplay
    • 1 Academy Awards
      Academy Awards
      An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

       nominations Best Original Screenplay
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)
    • 3 BAFTA Awards
      British Academy Film Awards
      The British Academy Film Awards are presented in an annual award show hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts . It is the British counterpart of the Oscars. As of 2008, it has taken place in the Royal Opera House, having taken over from the flagship Odeon cinema on Leicester Square...

       Best Costume Design, Best Make Up Artist, Best Production Design
    • 3 Silver Ribbons
      Nastro d'Argento
      The Nastro d'Argento is a movie award assigned each year, since 1946, for cinematic performances and production by Sindacato Nazionale dei Giornalisti Cinematografici Italiani, the association of Italian film critics...

       awarded by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design
    • 4 Academy Awards
      Academy Awards
      An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

       nominations Best Set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Makeup
    • 4 Saturn Awards nominations Best Costumes, Best Fantasy Film, Best Make-Up, Best Special Effects
    • Hugo Award
      Hugo Award
      The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards...

       nomination for Best Dramatic Presentation
  • The Fisher King (1991)
    • Academy Award Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Mercedes Ruehl
      Mercedes Ruehl
      Mercedes J. Ruehl is an American theater, television and film actor.-Personal life:Ruehl was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City, the daughter of Mercedes J., a school teacher, and Vincent Ruehl, an FBI agent. She was raised Catholic. Her father was of German and Irish descent and her...

      )
    • 4 Academy Awards
      Academy Awards
      An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

       nominations Best Actor in a Leading Role (Robin Williams
      Robin Williams
      Robin McLaurin Williams is an American actor and comedian. Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork and Mindy, and later stand-up comedy work, Williams has performed in many feature films since 1980. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance...

      ), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Music, Original Score, Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
    • Venice Film Festival
      Venice Film Festival
      The Venice International Film Festival is the oldest international film festival in the world. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi in 1932 as the "Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica", the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the island of the...

       Silver Lion Winner
    • Toronto Film Festival People's Choice Award Winner
  • Twelve Monkeys (1995)
    • 2 Academy Awards
      Academy Awards
      An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

       nominations Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Brad Pitt
      Brad Pitt
      William Bradley "Brad" Pitt is an American actor and film producer. Pitt has received two Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning one...

      ), Best Costume Design
    • Berlin Film Festival Reader Jury of the "Berliner Morgenpost" – 3rd Place
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
    • Cannes Film Festival
      1998 Cannes Film Festival
      The 51st Cannes Film Festival was held on May 13-24, 1998. The Palme d'Or went to the Greek film Mia aioniotita kai mia mera by Theo Angelopoulos.- Jury :*Martin Scorsese *Alain Corneau *Chiara Mastroianni...

       Official Selection
  • The Brothers Grimm (2005)
    • Venice Film Festival Official Selection
  • Tideland (2005)
    • San Sebastian Festival
      San Sebastián International Film Festival
      The San Sebastián International Film Festival is an annual FIAPF A category film festival held in the Spanish city of San Sebastián .-History:The festival was founded in 1953...

       Winner of the FIPRESCI
      FIPRESCI
      The International Federation of Film Critics is an association of national organizations of professional film critics and film journalists from around the world for "the promotion and development of film culture and for the safeguarding of professional interests." It was founded in June 1930 in...

       Prize
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)
    • 2 Academy Awards
      Academy Awards
      An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

       nominations Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction
    • 2 BAFTA Awards
      British Academy Film Awards
      The British Academy Film Awards are presented in an annual award show hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts . It is the British counterpart of the Oscars. As of 2008, it has taken place in the Royal Opera House, having taken over from the flagship Odeon cinema on Leicester Square...

       nominations Best Production Design, Best Make Up & Hair
    • Best Fantasy Film nomination by the Costume Designers Guild of America
      Costume Designers Guild
      The Costume Designers Guild , IATSE LOCAL 892 was founded in 1953 by a group of 30 motion picture costume designers. In 1986, the Costume Designers Guild joined the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and added Local 892 to its name...

    • British Independent Film Awards
      British Independent Film Awards
      The Moët British Independent Film Awards is an annual award ceremony celebrating achievement in independently funded British film and cinema. Nominations and jury are announced at the beginning of November with the award ceremony taking place in late November or early December.-History:The British...

       nomination for Best Achievement in Production
    • International Press Academy
      International Press Academy
      The International Press Academy is a large and diverse association of professional entertainment journalists, representing both domestic and foreign markets in print, television, radio, cable and new media outlets. The academy was founded in 1996 by Mirjana Van Blaricom...

       Satellite Award Best Costume Design, 3 more nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction & Production Design, Best Original Song
    • Voted Best Fantasy Film of the Year by readers of the Total Sci-Fi Online magazine.
  • An asteroid, 9619 Terrygilliam
    9619 Terrygilliam
    9619 Terrygilliam is an asteroid in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter.-Name:Terrygilliam is named after American-born filmmaker and animator Terry Gilliam. The asteroid is one of many main belt asteroids named after famous personalities...

    , is named in his honor.
  • Gilliam was given the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award
    BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award
    The BAFTA Fellowship is lifetime achievement award presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts since 1971 "in recognition of outstanding achievement in the art forms of the moving image", and is the highest honour the Academy can bestow...

     in 2009 for his contribution to motion picture arts.
  • Terry Gilliam awarded the Fellowship of the Kermodes, by film critic Mark Kermode
    Mark Kermode
    Mark Kermode is an English film critic, musician and a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He contributes to Sight and Sound magazine, The Observer newspaper and BBC Radio 5 Live, where he presents Kermode and Mayo's Film Reviews with Simon Mayo on Friday afternoons...

    .
  • Gilliam was honored with the Director with Unique Visual Sensitivity Award at the Camerimage
    Camerimage
    The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography CAMERIMAGE is a festival dedicated to cinematography and its creators cinematographers.The first seven events were held in Toruń, Poland. The next ten events were held in Łódź...

     film festival in Łódź, Poland in 2009.

External links

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