At long last, it appears that Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote adaptation is finally happening. Today, Variety confirmed that rising star Jack O’Connell, whose terrific performances in Starred Up and ’71 have earned him awards buzz that should reach a fever pitch when he stars in the Angelina Jolie-directed Unbroken this December, will star as a young commercials director who gets wrapped up in a retelling of Miguel Cervantes’ classic story.
Gilliam has been trying to get this passion project off the ground for over a decade. The original iteration, titled The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, was set to star Johnny Depp (in the role O’Connell now inhabits) and Jean Rochefort before it fell apart. Subsequent attempts piqued the interests of stars like Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall and Ewan McGregor but always fell through.
However, now that O’Connell is involved, the project is again alive and kicking. No word yet on whether John Hurt, who was previously said to be playing Don Quixote, is still attached, but the plan is to sell the film at the American Film Market, have it shoot in the spring and get it into theaters possibly in May of 2016.
The updated synopsis, courtesy of Variety, suggests some changes in Tony Grisoni’s script:
A modern and satirical twist on the tale, “Don Quixote” stars O’Connell as Toby, a jaded commercials director who travels to Spain for a shoot and comes across a gypsy who gives a copy of his student film — a lyrical re-working of the Don Quixote story set in a quaint old Spanish village. Moved by the discovery, Toby sets off on a bizarre road trip to find the little village where the student student film was shot and gets caught up in a series of catastrophies.
With O’Connell on board, the stars may finally aligning for Gilliam’s Don Quixote – and if half of what the director has promised the project will be comes to pass, we’re in for a real treat.