The film, starring Jean Rochefort as Quixote and Johnny Depp as a man who accidentally goes back in time and is mistaken for Panza, went before cameras but suffered such a disastrous shoot that it was abandoned and became the subject of the documentary Lost In La Mancha. Gilliam says the project should now get going again.
"[Producer] Jeremy Thomas is very close to getting all the pieces of paper signed from all the people who you gotta get signed," Gilliam told us. "He’s been on it for a year now, and he’s come the closest to getting it untangled from the legal swamp it was in. And, um, I don’t see why, I don’t see anythying that’s gonna stop it now. He’s just gotta get all the paperwork done and then I call Mr Depp and see which pirate film he’s still on".
Depp is (we hope) now done with the Pirates movies and could have a space in his schedule, since The Rum Diary and Shantaram both seem to be shelved due to the writers strike. Don Quixote's script is presumably ready to go, since it was shoot-ready before. One man who won't be back is Jean Rochefort. "Physically, he can't do it," says Gilliam. "It's a real tragedy, but he can't. His arse is broken".
So that's good news, aside from the broken arse. But in other good news, Gilliam says there's also a chance that he'll make Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's novel about an angel and demon coming together to prevent the apocalypse.
"I’m the only one who can make it, 'cos that's what Neil and Terry have said. I’m the only one", Gilliam insists. "And I thought with Neil, with Stardust and with Beowulf and there’s another one – an animated film, a Henry Selick thing he’s written [Coraline], I was thinking he’s really hot now, so maybe there’s a chance. I mean it’s such a wonderful book. And I think our script is pretty good, too. We did quite a few changes. We weren’t as respectful as we ought to have been. But Neil’s happy with it!"