The curse continues.
We thought that The Man Who Killed Don Quixote premiering at Cannes last month was something of a happy ending for Terry Gilliam and the three decades of development and production hell that he spent trying to get the movie made and in front of audiences. Amazon had dropped Don Quixote, there was still a court case lingering regarding the rights - not to mention the legendary filmmaker suffered from a stroke the week of Cannes - but his opus was out there, ready to be consumed by masses who'd been waiting a solid chunk of their lives to see this passion project that'd become more like Gilliam's own personal Passion.
Unfortunately, we were wrong.
Over the weekend, The Paris Court of Appeal ruled in favor of former producer Paulo Branco, who sued Gilliam over rights to the project. Now, ownership over The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has been reverted back to Branco - despite Gilliam winning his case to screen the picture at Cannes - and the auteur has also been ordered to pay Branco’s Alfama Films €10,000 ($11,600) in legal fees.
Speaking with Screen Daily, Branco said:
"The ruling means that the rights to the film belong to Alfama. Any exploitation of the film up until now has been completely illegal and without the authorization of Alfama."
Then Branco went all Sonny Corleone and shit:
"We will be seeking damages with interest from all the people involved in this illegal production and above all, all those who were complicit in its illegal exploitation. We’re holding everyone responsible.”
If you're wondering who (*Extreme Gary Oldman Voice*) "everyone" is, allow him to elaborate:
“The film’s producers, Kinology, all the others who supported the film, including those who distributed the film in France and the Cannes Film Festival, everyone. The film belongs in its entirety to Alfama. The film was made illegally. It’s the first time, I’ve ever seen so many people embark on a mission to produce and exploit a film, without holding the rights. It’s a unique case.”
So, one wonders how or when (or if) we'll ever actually get to see The Man Who Killed Don Quixote now. On top of being completely dropped by its distributor (partially due to its director's rather contentious #metoo comments), the movie's owned by a vindictive producer, who may lock the work up in a vault just out of spite.
Obviously, there's another way this could go: Branco could sit on the movie for a few more years and then release it as the "lost Terry Gilliam film" or whatever (probably to Netflix, if we're being honest). Or, Gilliam could keep the rights to the picture tied up for years in court, until one of them dies. Who knows? Almost all the outcomes are bleak, and further proof that The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is absolutely hexed.