Five Things We Learnt About Terry Gilliam And Filming Fantasy

Five Things We Learnt About Terry Gilliam And Filming Fantasy

Still A Maverick

Variety just spoke to Terry Gilliam who has been at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic and here’s five things we learnt about making fantasy films and working with actors…

1. Gilliam recalls what he would like to see on his gravestone: “When I was in the States promoting “Brazil,” I went to Texas. I went on this radio show and this guy phoned in. ‘Hey, Mr. Gilliam – wonderful film. I giggled in awe.’ I want this to be put on my tomb.”

2. The director is happy for his actors to ad lib, he reveals: “We sit down, we write things but when we are shooting and we have good actors, we came up with different ideas and ways to do it. Let’s go! In “Quixote,” Jonathan Pryce, who wanted to do the part for 15 years, for a first few days he was ad-libbing so much stuff. I kept it all in.”

3. He sees his films as a battle between what is real and what is not: “The thing is, when I was younger I thought that everyone saw the world the same way I did. As I got older, I realized my version of the world is very, very different. Imagination is always a part of it I guess.

You want to be able to fly, you want to be able to do anything. All my films are about that battle between reality and fantasy. The image I like the most is in “Brazil,” when Jonathan Pryce is wearing this big rig and taking off, and the paper just grabs him. And that’s it. That is it. That’s the way I see life.”

4. But even though his films include fantastical elements, there is still a huge amount of care and attention taken into creating them, he says: “Years ago, there was this filmmaker who asked me, “How do you do your fantasy sequences?” I said, I shoot them exactly like the real ones. There is no difference for me. These things change, but only a little bit. But you don’t go woo-oo when you go into fantasy. I like the fact that if you do it well, the audience is just swept along with it. They are in this rather fantastic situation before they realize it.Some of it came from living in L.A. in the 1960s. I lived up in Laurel Canyon and, well, it was a wonderful time. All these convertible cars and always somebody to pick up, because everybody just hitchhiked all the time. This girl I once picked up, we became close for a while. But she was an acidhead. She took LSD all the time and you would be talking to her, and then she goes like that (looking to the sky).”

5. Now that he has completed Don Quixote, talk has returned to him adapting Paul Auster’s Mr Vertigo: “That’s funny, I hadn’t really thought about it for years. But somehow it came up in Cannes again and I thought that everybody had forgotten about it – I have. I don’t know why it keeps coming back. It’s a beautiful book and we worked on it quite a bit. And now that “Quixote” is out of the way, these things are popping up like mushrooms.”


To read the whole interview, go here


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