Synopsis by Mark Deming
For years, one of filmmaker Terry Gilliam's great dreams was to make a screen adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's classic tale Don Quixote, and in 2000 it looked as if his dream was to become a reality. In collaboration with Tony Grisoni, Gilliam had written a script called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, in which a 20th century advertising man accidentally travels back in time and is mistaken by Don Quixote for his faithful companion, Sancho Panza. After ten years of shopping the project to American studios with no success, Gilliam and his producers had secured financing for the film from a consortium of European sources, and Johnny Depp had been cast as the time-tripping adman, with the venerable French actor Jean Rochefort as Don Quixote. However, as the production moved closer to its start date, more and more things began to go wrong -- contracts went unsigned, key cast and crew members had not yet arrived, and the carefully prepared budget seemed stressed to the breaking point. Nevertheless, Gilliam soldiered on, but after a mere six days of shooting, during which Spanish Air Force jets ruined several takes, flash floods destroyed several sets, and Gilliam struggled to keep his dream afloat, Rochefort suffered a severe back injury. The film's financiers decided to cash in their chips and pulled the plug in order to cash in on their insurance, though Gilliam struggled for months afterward to find a way to put the production back on track. Documentary filmmakers Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe had been invited by Gilliam to make a film about the production of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, and after shooting 80 hours of footage of the chaotic pre-production process as well as the aborted shooting schedule, they instead created Lost In La Mancha, a look at the "un-making" of the film, which along with the story of the project's brief rise and messy collapse, featured a look at several completed scenes from the film, as well as animated versions of the film's storyboards which offered a glimpse of the look and scale of the film Gilliam was attempting to create.
behind-the-scenes, creativity, film-clips, film-crew, filmmaker, interview, problems, visionary