Monday, June 27, 2005

The Movie that Wasn't

If you are a Don Quixote fan you may find the docudrama Lost in La Mancha an interesting experience. It chronicles the ill-fated attempt by Terry Gilliam to turn his lovingly written script of Don Quixote into a movie called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. The movie was to star French actor Jean Rochefort as the noble knight errant and Johnny Depp as Sancho. What? Johnny Depp as Sancho? Yup. Somehow Depp's character, an advertising executive, is transported back in time to the days of Quixote's adventures. The project collapsed just a couple of weeks after filming began. A flash flood washed away some equipment while they were filming in the dessert. They could have recovered from it but then John Rochefort was unable to work due to a slipped disc and there was no estimate on when he could return. Bleeding money they didn't have and getting no help from the insurance company that deemed both the flash flood and Rochefort's illness as "Acts of God" and therefore not covered, they had to give it up. To add insult to injury, the insurance company now owns the script as collateral for the project's losses. Gilliam is, or was at the conclusion of the program, trying to find an investor or investors willing to purchase the script from the insurance company. You could call this a disaster film. Perhaps someday The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will get made. When it does, I'll be in the theatre, watching.