We all know that The Man Who Killed Don Quixote seemed cursed since the start.
From the film's cancelled first go in '00 to the numerous attempts by writer/director Terry Gilliam to get the project up and running throughout the near two decades since, it's frequently seemed like we were never going to see the picture (worth noting: some positive changes have come out of this ridiculousness - the project ridding itself of Johnny Depp, for instance). Nevertheless, Gilliam's Don Quixote actually rolled cameras last year - complete with the casting of Adam Driver - and has been eyeing a debut at Cannes 2018. But now that release date - not to mention the film's entire future - is once again in peril.
This time, it's not an Act of God or financing woes looking to take Gilliam down. Instead, it's legal issues rearing their ugly head. Per the European publication France Inter, a dispute with one of the film's former producers could stop Gilliam's latest from ever seeing the light of day.
Jump back in time to 2016: Gilliam and producer Paulo Branco reached an agreement regarding The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. In that contract, Branco was to provide the necessary funding for production - with Gilliam retaining final cut on the film - in exchange for the rights.
However, Branco balked on financing Don Quixote, causing Gilliam to seek funding elsewhere. Production actually went off without a hitch - with Gilliam reportedly being very happy with the finished product - and it seemed like Branco was out of the scene forever.
Unfortunately for Gilliam, Branco's come out of hiding, with a claim that Don Quixote is not to be released without his express permission, since he technically owns the rights based on that 2016 contract. Gilliam believes that the document was null and void due to Branco, you know, never coming up with the money. Yet the litigation still needs to be heard in court before the picture can even grace the festival circuit.
Now, the case is going before a judge - with Gilliam suing Branco for full rights to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - but the judgment won’t be handed down until June 15th. This means that the possible premiere at Cannes is totally fucked. At the earliest, Gilliam wouldn't be able to plan a release until mid-Summer, and that's if the court even rules in his favor.
To be honest, this all feels like a Biblical comedy of calamity, with Gillam playing the Job role. Granted, even if the movie finally graces the silver screen, he's still going to be held accountable in the Court of Public Opinion for his recent remarks regarding #MeToo. Will The Man Who Killed Don Quixote end up being worth all these headaches? One hopes (though The Zero Theorem argues against that possibility).
Here's to believing we actually get to see The Man Who Killed Don Quixote one day, and that Branco's claim is tossed out on its ass, as it seems rather frivolous, if the reporting is to be believed.