Joy Day – No Longer Lost in La Mancha

For our day of joy Steve Taylor-Bryant is looking forward to something that will bring joy to millions of people, but mainly to Terry Gilliam...

I like the idea of celebrating things you are looking forward to, or stuff that may lift the doom and gloom a bit. Life is a struggle of epic proportions sometimes and just surviving a day can be a win, so imagine struggling with something for a long period of time. I have a lifelong struggle with mental health issues that were only somewhat alleviated by over a decade of substance abuse issues, so struggling with things is kind of what I do, but I’m not creative and can only imagine what trying and failing many times to get your story made feels like. Which brings me to my favourite pop-culture subject Terry Gilliam. 2018 has many positive events, films, books, television shows that we can look forward to (I covered mine in another article here) but after, what feels like my entire 42 ½ years, 2018 will see Terry Gilliam’s vision for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote finally finished and released to an expectant audience.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has gone through more trials and tribulations than most films, watch Lost in La Mancha if you get the chance, and I think most other filmmakers would have just given up, and you couldn’t have blamed Gilliam if he had. Injury to stars, extreme weather, NATO bombing exercises, all these things led to Quixote never being finished. Then along came Amazon Studios and their giant chequebook, their ability to be different to mainstream studios, and Terry Gilliam was off again and we were going to get Quixote. Then there was illnesses, casting issues, and much more turmoil behind the scenes and I genuinely thought that maybe Gilliam was done for, I would never get the film I have waited all my life for, he would never get to realise the vision that had been in his heart and his head for longer than I have been breathing, and so we move on, we watch other things by other filmmakers and try and survive another day but with a little joy and little hope removed from our souls.

Then comes a festive Facebook post from the director himself…


In 2018 we are getting new Terry Gilliam, that in itself is something to celebrate and brings me immense joy, but the fact that Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra, who died over 400 years ago, is getting a writing credit alongside Terry Gilliam and Tony Grisoni makes my heart go through some kind of warming process. I’m also excited to see how the new cast work out, I’m not as precious as some fans so seeing Adam Driver in a role once meant for a much younger Johnny Depp doesn’t bother me, watching the always excellent Jonathan Pryce take on Jean Rochefort’s original role as the man himself is actually the most exciting piece of news to come out of the Don Quixote casting. Pryce is magnificent, an actor who has a long history of taking a role and making it his own, and is also an actor who seems to have the best brought out of him by Terry Gilliam, honestly his role as Sam Lowry in Brazil is his best role, and so seeing Pryce link up with my favourite director in a project with probably more media and loose fan base attention than maybe other Gilliam projects fills me with happy thoughts and a level of excitement I haven’t felt for a long time.

So we celebrate things that excite us, that make us fill up with joy as 2018 gets going and my pick is definitely The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. In fact the only thing that could excite me more is if there was a sudden announcement that Gilliam had the funding and cast in place to make The Defective Detective as well in 2018, but I will happily settle for windmills.

Follow Steve on Twitter @STBwrites

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