Terry, I love you, you’ve made some of my favourite films of all time, but you’re not going to be gaining any new friends with your latest comments, at a time when your new film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which you’ve been trying to make for what seems like an eternity, is having distribution problems and you even seem to have lost the rights to the film!
Speaking with ‘RogerEbert.com’, Gilliam went on a bit of a rant, and first brought up Alien:
“Alien is just a ghost train where something jumps out and you don’t know who’s going to die next, when I watched the first Alien, all I kept saying was, ‘Just kill them all and be done with it,’ because you just know that they’re all going to die along the way. In the end, Sigourney Weaver, who we’ve established is a really tough military officer, is running around in her underwear trying to find a cat. Give me a fucking break. There are some great moments in it, but the shot that should’ve never been in the film is the one at the end showing the alien getting blown out of the airlock.You see the alien, and it’s just a guy in a rubber suit. Up until then, you only saw bits of the alien, and it seemed to be huge and vast and terrifying. That was so clever. It was like the shark in Jaws. I told Ridley, ‘You don’t want that shot of the alien at the end. Cut it!”
I kind of agree with him about the final shot of the alien, the film would have been better off without it in my view, but he seems to forget that you see the shark in Jaws very clearly too.
He then goes on to say he was offered a sequel, which I guess was Alien 3:
“I got offered an Alien sequel because I was hot at that time, as a result of Time Bandits and Fisher King, and I just don’t want to do films like that. They are factory jobs, working for a studio. My last factory job was on the Chevrolet assembly plant in Los Angeles, during my junior year of college, night shift on the line. Never again.”
Personally, I’d love to see what a filmmaker like Gilliam could bring to this franchise, but never mind.
In the same interview he goes on to bash the Marvel movies, stating:
“There’s always got to be reality in my films, maybe it’s the only way I can stop myself from going completely mad. It’s the tension between reality and fantasy that is interesting, and that’s why I don’t like all the big Marvel movies. There are too many of them, they are dominating the industry, and everybody just wants to see the next one and go, ‘Well, there’s the Hulk again.’ It’s horrible, but more importantly, there is no real physical reality to the films. There is no gravity, and gravity is everything. Things fall, and no matter how high you want to jump, you are always brought back down. On a technical level, these films are brilliant, and I find myself watching them from a distance because there is no real tension. There is no real threat. You just know they’ll win somehow, or they’ll win if the whole civilization doesn’t collapse around them first. It’s kind of like us in real life. The heroes in my films don’t win, they survive.”
I totally agree that there are too many of these films and I hate the fact that superheroes have dominated for so long, squeezing out other material in a way that’s never happened to such an extent before. Times are certainly hard. I’m not even sure if Gilliam would be able to make The Fisher King and Twelve Monkeys [major studio projects which became his biggest hits] today, or at least not without studio-insisted dumbing down. I sympathise with him. But many of his own films contain lots of way-out stuff in them so it’s a bit rich of him to criticise the Marvel films for having things like no physical reality to them!
As for when we’re going to see The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, your guess is as good as mine…..