If I have to do one more clown movie I'm going to kill myself ...
Possibly more infamous for being Heath Ledger’s last film than Terry Gilliam’s latest, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
looks like it can live up to the hype of both. Both writer/director Terry Gilliam and actor Verne Troyer showed up to promote the film, as well as take Q&A from avid fans. Amidst hilarious stories from his Monty Python days, Gilliam introduced numerous, lengthy clips from the film, that impressed and awed the crowd.
The premise is rather simple: a Faustian bargain between a monk (Christopher Plummer) and the devil (Tom Waits) with eternal life and the soul of a first born at stake. Fast forward a few hundred years and Plummer is the leader of a traveling circus through modern-day London. His first born daughter, Velantina (Lily Cole), Percy (Troyer), and hype-man Tony (Ledger) all travel together trying to promote their imagination-inspired discovery: The Imaginarium.
The panel was great, but the real joy was the over abundance of clips and teasers that Gilliam brought with him. He revealed a world filled with dark yet colorful characters and backdrops. The visuals were stunning, Gilliam's usual "in-your-face", wide-angled-lens world. One thing was clear immediately: this is classic Gilliam. If you enjoyed 12 Monkeys, Brazil, or Time Bandits, this won’t disappoint.
The Imaginarium seems to be a mirror-like doorway that acts as an entrance to another world, a world in which your imagination can run wild. For instance, while not in the primary cast, Colin Farrell, Jude Law and Johnny Depp each make cameos as sides of Ledger’s imagination while he is inside the Imaginarium, each taking a different personality altogether.
After more than 10 minutes of spoilers, Gilliam assured us that he packed the clips full of the “boring bits” because he didn’t want to ruin the experience of actually watching the film, and that he saved the “best bits” for theaters. As someone who’s not the biggest Gilliam fan, after seeing the clips and hearing from Gilliam himself, I’m definitely excited to see this one opening day.
Gilliam also announced that he is currently back on production of his seemingly cursed Don Quixote movie, after years of fighting for the rights to it.