LONDON (Reuters) – A decades-long quest by filmmaker Terry Gilliam to make a film based on the epic novel “Don Quixote” has hit a legal hurdle, just weeks before it is due to screen at the Cannes Film Festival.
Gilliam, a member of British comedy troupe Monty Python who went on to direct fantasy blockbusters such as “Brazil” and “12 Monkeys”, was finally ready to show “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” next month, but a French movie production house has applied for a court injunction to get it stopped.
Paris-based Alfama Films Production said it owned rights over the film and that it could not be shown without its prior consent. Its application to stop its projection at Cannes will be heard on May 7, a day before the festival opens, it said in a statement.
“The Man who Killed Don Quixote” is scheduled to be the closing film of the festival, which runs from May 8-19.
Reuters was not immediately able to contact Gilliam.
The movie, in which Jonathan Pryce plays a version of the deluded knight from the 17th century Spanish novel, is Gilliam’s second attempt to bring Miguel de Cervantes’ novel to the screen.
In 2000, filming with Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis was abandoned when torrential rains destroyed the set and leading man Jean Rochefort had to quit for health reasons, leaving lawyers and insurers picking over what was left.
The heroic failure, recorded in the 2002 documentary “Lost in La Mancha” has led to inevitable comparisons between Gilliam, now 77, and Don Quixote, whose misplaced determination leads him on a series of doomed endeavours, including jousting against windmills.
The new film’s trailer begins with the caption: “Some people say I am mad, that I am just obsessed by my illusions,” something that might easily be said of Gilliam, whose movies often seek to put the unfilmable on the screen.
(This version of the story corrects paragraph 5 to remove reference to Amazon Studios, which is not involved with the film)
Reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Larry King and Dan Grebler