Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Image: Alfama Films
Well, this is a strange new chapter in one of the strangest stories in modern film. For decades, famed genre director (and former Monty Python, uh, snake) Terry Gilliam struggled to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, his own surreal take on the classic Spanish novel. He succeeded, finally, with a rendition starring Adam Driver, and the film premiered this year at Cannes Film Festival.
Except, uh, apparently Terry Gilliam just lost the rights to it. Yes, that’s correct: as reported by Screen Rant, the Paris Court of Appeal just ruled in favour of the film’s former producer, Paulo Brancho, who sued for rights to the project on the grounds that Gilliam made the film illegally.
According to Branco and the production company Alfama, which he owns, Gilliam and his crew did not hold the rights to make the film. As quoted by Screen Daily, Branco said:
The film belongs in its entirety to [the production company Alfama Films]. The film was made illegally. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen so many people embark on a mission to produce and exploit a film, without holding the rights. It’s a unique case.
Gilliam will also pay a little over $US10,000 in damages to Alfama Films, and the company will be seeking similar recompense from the film’s production crew and the Cannes Film Festival.
So that’s it, then: Terry Gilliam does not own The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Will the embattled film ever get released? Will Terry Gilliam get his revenge? Will someone tell Don Quixote that those are just windmills? Who can say. I certainly can’t: this story is wild.