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Trivia / The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

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  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Some of the Spanish actors signed up knowing they would have a blast while doing the film, and all were unanimous they really had it.
  • Box Office Bomb: The film cost €16 million to produce (about $18 million) and grossed about $1 million worldwide.
  • Channel Hop: Shortly before the Cannes premiere, Amazon Studios dropped out in distributing the film in the U.S. (they still have credit as they produced the movie as well). Near the end of 2018, indie distributor Screen Media Films picked up the film for its limited US release.
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  • Dawson Casting: Joana Ribeiro playing Angelica when she was 15 in Toby's flashbacks. Ribeiro was 25 during the filming.
  • Development Hell: Terry Gilliam started working on this project in 1991. He found closed doors in Hollywood and decided to do it in Europe instead. The first filming attempt started in 2000, ended up a disaster (as chronicled in the highly praised documentary Lost in La Mancha), and the next one would not happen until 2016.
  • Doing It for the Art:
    • Gilliam's obsession with Don Quixote led him to make this film, and he never gave up despite his legendary bad luck constantly getting in the way and countless producers moving away from the project.
    • About the actors, Gilliam said "Everyone involved, from the cast to the crew, are all working their asses off for a fraction of what they would normally be paid, because they just want to see this thing done."
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  • Fake Mixed Race: Óscar Jaenada is Spanish, only not a Spanish gypsy. This is actually a popular belief even in Spain, because Jaenada really does look like a gypsy and had his breakout role playing one (that of popular flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla in his 2005 biopic film).
  • Fake Nationality:
    • British actor Jonathan Pryce as the Spanish Javier/Quixote.
    • Joana Ribeiro is Portuguese yet plays a Spanish woman.
    • Spanish actor Jordi Mollà as the Russian oligarch Alexei Miiskin.
  • In Memoriam: The film is dedicated to the memory of two actors who were set to play Javier/Quixote but ultimately couldn't, Jean Rochefort (Lost in La Mancha) and John Hurt. Both passed away in 2017.
  • Inspiration for the Work: The story was inspired by A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
  • International Coproduction: The movie was funded by British, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Belgian production companies.
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  • Life Imitates Art: One of the great artistic ironies of the modern age, many Gilliam fans have noted, is the story of how in his never-ending quest to finish this film, Gilliam has become perhaps the quintessential Hollywood Windmill Crusader. Until he finished it.
  • No Export for You: Played straight at first but then averted. Amazon Studios was to be releasing it in America, but backed out shortly before the Cannes premiere. IMDb claimed A24 was distributing it there, but no sources were given. As Screen Media Films is now the film's new distributor, that speculation turned out to be bunk.
  • The Other Marty: A rather unusual case due to the years it took to make this film. Back in 2000, filming started with Jean Rochefort and Johnny Depp in the main roles, but the production was doomed. The final version that was completed in 2017 stars Jonathan Pryce and Adam Driver.
  • The Production Curse: The film's early production was so plagued with problems that it was shut down permanently after six days of filming. Watching Lost In La Mancha is pretty heartbreaking.
  • Production Posse: Jonathan Pryce worked with Gilliam on Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Brothers Grimm.
  • Reality Subtext: A seemingly futile and endlessly troubled decades-long quest to make this film. It's almost quixotic.
  • Saved from Development Hell: After many years of trying to get the film back in production, filming finally wrapped up in 2017. The Man of La Mancha has finally slain his giant.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: As if the infamous Troubled Production on this movie wasn't already a strong contender for the biggest Overly Long Gag in film history, Gilliam was engaged in a vicious rights dispute with producer Paulo Branco threatening to halt the film's release. Branco claimed that the movie is "illegal" and Gilliam had no right to make it without Branco's help. Gilliam won, eventually, but he does now owe Branco €10,000 in damages due to the contract between the two having been terminated improperly.
  • Short Run in Peru: The movie was first theatrically released in France in May 2018. Other countries followed until the end of 2018, with the US release not commencing until April 2019 in a limited capacity.
  • Trolling Creator: Production finally finished on June 4, 2017. A few days later, Gilliam jokingly posted on Facebook that he had accidentally deleted the film.
  • Troubled Production: Although its pre-production began in 1998, the film remained incomplete for nearly twenty years thanks to a maelstrom of difficulties including the logistics of filming near a NATO bombing range in Spain, the destruction of sets by a flash flood, the illness of the lead actor and the withdrawal of other stars due to other projects, to name just a few. Its problems are documented in the 2002 documentary Lost In La Mancha. After many years of trying to get the film back in production, filming finally wrapped up in 2017. And then, just as it was ready for release in 2018, Gilliam was hit with a lawsuit by producer Paul Branco. Branco was originally supposed to produce the film through his company Alfalma Films, but couldn't secure funds in time. Fortunately, it still premiered as the closing film of the Cannes Film Festival and got released in France on the same day. Unfortunately, Amazon Studios, who funded much of the production, pulled out of distributing it in the US. It was later reported that Gilliam lost the court case with Branco and no longer controled the film. It was later clarified that Gilliam still owned the rights as he did not shoot a frame under Branco's company, but he still had to pay a settlement as he did not terminate his deal properly.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Due to the movie's long and ludicrous Development Hell and Troubled Production, a number of actors who were cast never got to play in it, and the movie was never completed with those of the first filming attempt that was chronicled in Lost in La Mancha.
    • The film was rewritten after a decade or two. It was originally supposed to be a genuine Time Travel story in which Toby would be a marketing executive that got sent back to Don Quixote's time. However, Gilliam and scriptwriter Tony Grisoni instead went for a big costumed party in the 21st century, with Javier/Quixote and Toby (now a filmmaker) having hallucinations set in the past.
    • Gilliam signed a deal with Phoenix Pictures as the studio to make the film in 1990 under the name Don Quixote. Sean Connery was in talks to star as Quixote, but Gilliam disliked the idea because "Quixote is air and Sean is earth". Nigel Hawthorne and Danny DeVito were also in talks to star as Quixote and Panza respectively. However, Gilliam ultimately decided that the budget the studio offered him was too low and dropped from the project to focus on The Defective Detective, another film he ultimately failed to make. Phoenix Pictures chose Fred Schepisi to replace Gilliam, with John Cleese as Quixote and Robin Williams as Panza, and Steven Haft, Quincy Jones and David Salzman as producers. This version would have been based on an old screenplay by Waldo Salt. However, it was officially cancelled in 1997.


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