'If I play it right,' says Terry Gilliam, 'I can continue making this film for the rest of my life.' In Berlin to support Lost In La Mancha, the so-called 'un-making of' documentary about his aborted Don Quixote production, Gilliam still aims to make the film in question.
Titled The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, the project is in the hands of the insurers after the director was forced to stop shooting when star Jean Rochefort fell ill. Gilliam put the resulting insurance pay-out at $12 million, thought to be the largest ever in Europe. 'It's taking longer than I had hoped [to get the rights back],' he says.
'I'm told after Berlin I may be getting the answer I'm looking for.'
While he acknowledges "a lot will depend on who finances the movie', Gilliam envisages using the same cast. The original included Johnny Depp and Depp's wife Vanessa Paradis. 'It was a great cast. It's still in my head that way.'
For a director who has consistently pulled off the seemingly impossible - making Hollywood-scale films but with an independent spirit - Quixote is close to his heart. Having spent more than ten years trying to get the project off the ground, it took him 'a week to recover' after watching Lost In La Mancha.
'At least there is something there, something tangible. And there is some footage that [he speaks deliberately slowly] might convince future investors to come forward.'