Terry Gilliam: “Don Quixote is more real and inspiring than a dozen superheroes”

After nearly thirty years in the making The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is here. And it’s crazy

Terry Gilliam with Jonathan Pryce on the set of Don Quixote.

After nearly thirty years in the making, with obstacles that included lawsuits getting in the way of completion, Terry Gilliam finally screened The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in Cannes. At the press conference he spoke about some of those hurdles and why this film was so important to him.

Terry Gilliam in Cannes.

DON QUIXOTE “I don’t know if he’s a hero: he’s been a pain in the ass for 25 years. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are two of the greatest icons ever written. They represent the dreams of people and the reality of life. How can you not make a film about Quixote in some ways? Cervantes was so brilliant and so funny in his writing. It was about society; it was about everything and hopefully we got a bit of that into the film.”

A scene from the movie.

CASTING “They were cheap! I couldn’t avoid Jonathan Pryce and strangely enough I went to see a Pinter play in which Jonathan was playing and I had no choice. Adam was cheap, available. He was working in London. My daughter Amy got us together and we met in a little pub in Hampstead. He looked nothing like Toby or what I thought Toby should look like. I’ve still never even seen Girls. Is he good? It’s amazing how long it’s taken to find the right cast. I knew we had a great range of actors who would save my ass. Thank you.”

Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce in Don Quixote.

THE STORY “I think it changed a lot and got better over the years. It got more interesting. It was originally about a guy making commercials getting hit over the head and going back to the 17th century to the real Don Quixote. But that made it really expensive so I wanted it in the modern world so that if there were planes flying overhead or telephone wires it wouldn’t matter. One of the sins for Toby is that he is a man with talent who chose the highly-paid route; he’s someone who sells dog food and toilet paper and I felt he had to be punished, but he comes out as a decent human being by the end.”

Jonathan Pryce as Don Quixote.

THE LAWSUIT “The film will be in cinemas all across France. It’s also very dangerous when we write something or create something. Cervantes actually wrote about the Enchanter in Don Quixote and it’s strange how this film reflects the work.”

Gillian, Driver, Pryce and Joana Ribeiro in Cannes.

THE LEGACY “Do we need more Don Quixotes in our world? I think so. They are more real and inspiring than a dozen superheroes. We are spending so much time in a juvenile superhero world with all these incredible powers and I think reality and humanity and what we are capable of without superpowers is more inspiring. The next one should be Dona Quixota with a woman as Don Quixote.”


Watch here the trailer for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote:



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