Cannes, France (BBN)-Terry Gilliam says he is resurrecting his troubled Don Quixote film because it is “a dream nightmare” he wants to be rid of.
“I want to get this film out of my life,” he told reporters at the Cannes Film Festival, reports BBC.
Filming on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will resume in October, with Michael Palin as Quixote and Star Wars’s Adam Driver as Sancho Panza.
Previous attempts to make it collapsed, leading it to be described as jinxed.
Gilliam dismissed the notion of a curse, saying it was no more than “a good story”.
Former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko will star in the film as the boss of Driver’s character, a commercials director who is mistaken for Panza by Quixote.
Gilliam, 75, said he was also open to giving a cameo role to Johnny Depp, who was involved in the film when it was abandoned in 2000.
Palin, he went on, would be “perfect” for a character he described as “old, ridiculous, arrogant and foolish”.
Yet he insisted the 73-year-old’s casting as Miguel de Cervantes’ ageing dreamer would not lead to a reprise of the Pythons’ famous Spanish Inquisition sketch.
Nor would Gilliam tolerate casting other members of the Monty Python team, claiming they were “too old and miserable” and “impossible” to work with.
The collapse of the film in 2000 was charted in the 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha, which showed how a combination of bad weather and illness led to it being aborted.
According to Portuguese producer Paulo Branco, though, the film’s latest iteration will not permit a documentary crew on set.
“I want Terry the director, not Terry the actor,” he said, insisting the film’s 17m euro (£13.1m) budget would be “all on the screen”.
With filming due to take place in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands at the beginning of October, a bullish Gilliam insisted he would be “home by Christmas” and be “back in Cannes next year with the finished film”.
“This [year] is the 400th anniversary of the death of Cervantes and we can’t wait any longer,” he went on.
French actor Jean Rochefort had been set to star opposite Depp in the film, only to be forced to withdraw by a back injury.
Robert Duvall and Ewan McGregor were subsequently linked to the project, as were Sir John Hurt and Jack O’Connell.
Gilliam admitted “many different people” had “come and gone over the years”, but said he had “finally got the perfect cast”.
Driver, he went on, was “who [he’d] been looking for all these years”, as well as being “bankable” due to his link to the Star Wars franchise.
Not only that, said Gilliam, but he was “actually reading the book” – the first actor to be involved in the production, he claimed, who had ever bothered to do so.