Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We Can't Wait #8 The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

Directed by Terry Gilliam
Starring "Heath Ledger" (Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jude Law), Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Verne Troyer, Lily Cole
Synopsis Traveling theater players, led by the 1000 year-old Doctor Parnassus, put on shows that includes a mirror where audience members can pass through and explore their own imaginations.
Brought to You By Lionsgate
Expected Release Date June 6th

I put Heath Ledger's name in quotes not out of any disrespect, but because I don't know how much actual face time he's given in the film. Regardless, this film will arrive with the weight of Ledger's last everything on it. I think it's kind of poignant that the film involves people going through a glass mirror... darkly or otherwise. I wasn't so fond of The Dark Knight, or the thought that Ledger will be remembered as The Joker. I'm not trying to ignite another TDK debate, I just think Ledger's talent deserves a better epitaph than it will likely get.

Also, I'm thrilled to see Terry Gilliam up on his feet again. I only saw part of his last movie Tideland, and it bummed me out. It was like watching an artist stewing in his own personal, horrible, dirty hell. I love his visions. Usually we get CGI blockbusters in the summer, so a production design extravaganza from Gilliam & Friends could be a refreshing break from that.

Verne Troyer??? I don't know. All I can saw is that Gilliam really likes dwarves.

Nathaniel: You know who else likes dwarves? David Lynch. Who, speaking of, also likes the multiple actors as one person and/or one actor as multiple people cinematic mind games. That's something else Parnassus will have given the Depp, Farrell & Law solution to the Ledger tragedy. Sight unseen and given the nature of the film, it seems like the best possible solution. If you have to have three other actors step in for you, could you do any better?

P.S. I hope Tom Waits sings. I can listen to him croon endlessly. Heavy rotation on the iPod y'all.

Whitney: I hope the revenue this movie sparks by being "Heath Ledger's Last Movie of All Time. Really. This is the Last One. Not Like 2Pac. This is Really The Last Movie" will finance his Don Quixote project that he's been trying to make his whole career. Ledger was really funny in Gilliam's last work, so I'm thinking four Ledgers will be even better.

Joe: Oooh, thanks to Whitney for reminding me how much I liked Heath in The Brothers Grimm. Which was otherwise disappointing. I tend to respect Gilliam's weirdness from afar; the films themselves are hit-or-miss. Given the circumstances, I hope this one pulls it all together.

Nathaniel: And now I'm sad again. 2005 was such an incredible year in Ledger's career. Think of the range displayed alone: The Lords of Dogtown, Casanova, Brokeback Mountain and The Brothers Grimm. Joe, I share your hope. I would love for Gilliam to have a success as big critically and commercially and Academy-ically (yeah I butchered the word to make a shiny gold man point) as The Fisher King again.

Matt Damon, Ledger and Gilliam on the set of The Brothers Grimm (2005)

JA: I still need to see The Brothers Grimm. A mad rush to Netflix! Parnassus would've made my list even without Ledger because of Gilliam alone. His floundering ability to get movies done drives me bonkers, so every one that makes it's way across the finish line is something to be cherished. I'm even one of the like ten people who defended and liked Tideland. But with this being the last footage we'll see of Ledger, absent a 2-Pac-or-Elvis-like ressurection, and with the actors stepping in to cover Heath being three of my absolute favorites, this became an even higher priority.

As for Troyer, to quote Colin Farrell's character in In Bruges, "They're filming midgets! They're filming midgets!" I share his enthusiasm.

Nathaniel: Where do you stand on Gilliam? Or are you seated? Reclining? Perhaps jumping up and down? Do tell in the comments.

In case you missed any entries they went like so...
We Can't Wait:
#1 Inglourious Basterds, #2 Where the Wild Things Are, #3 Fantastic Mr. Fox,
#4 Avatar, #5 Bright Star, #6 Shutter Island, #7 Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
#8 Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, #9 Nailed,
#10 Taking Woodstock,
#11 Watchmen, #12 The Hurt Locker, #13 The Road, #14 The Tree of Life
#15 Away We Go, #16 500 Days of Summer, #17 Drag Me To Hell,
#18 Whatever Works, #19 Broken Embraces, #20 Nine (the musical)
intro (orphans -didn't make group list)



Glendon said...

I was disturbed enough by the shot of Ledger in The Dark Knight lifeless in the body bag, but I was borderline revolted by the photos of him in this movie with a noose around his neck.

If Ledger and 2pac share the same fans, I'm sure there will be "Ledger predicted his death" movement based on his last two movies.

Anonymous said...

I'm really looking forward to rising star Andrew GArfields performance who also stars in the move.

Have you seen Boy A? If you havent seen it, you MUST! I'm sure you'll love it. An absolutely incredible performance in what has got to be one of the most heartbreaking and throught-provoking films i've ever seen. UK viewers can watch it free (legally) though channel 4 on demand.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE GILLIAM! Brazil , and 12 monkeys are some of my favorite films. I love his style even though it doesn't pay off all the time, but god his films are unforgettable! Also you're a big Brad Pitt fan, what did you think about him in 12 monkeys?

Anonymous said...

I'm going to confess and say that Jude's involvement is my biggest reason for even knowing about this film...yeah, I've watched all of his films and can't seem to get this hook out of my mouth (haven't tried, really). Also, I found it interesting that he was semi-on-board at one point to play Tony (but it conflicted with another filming schedule) before Heath became involved. But what Gilliam has wound up doing with it sounds exciting, and I'm looking forward to seeing how everybody pulled this off.

Anywho, that said, is it so wrong that my favorite Gilliam film is "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"? I swear, I laugh until I can't breathe, every time. Saw clips on the BAFTAs the other night, and laughed.

Anonymous said...

Pretty apathetic about this one, Gilliam movies usually fly over my lil' head WOOSH!

Anonymous said...

I'm a little pissed at Terry Gilliam for giving The Dark Knight people shit about using Ledger's death as marketing when he goes to desperate lengths to retain what appears to be almost no performance from Leger in this film. didn't Heath only film for like 6 days or something. so Gilliam casts 3 other actors in the same role rather than re-shooting with a new actor. It just seems more like hes trying to preserve this as Ledger's last performance rather than preserving it for the sake of Heath's work

Carl Joseph Papa said...

I think that the choice made by Gilliam to still keep the shots of Ledger was his own way of honoring Ledger. Or maybe the short scenes that he was in was that good that he had no other choice but to retain the filmed segments as it is. :)

Glenn Dunks said...

I'm not that big on Gilliam, but I want to see this one purely for the cast and it does look visually delicious.

Unknown said...

As to Gilliam keeping Ledger in the film, it would almost definitely be too expensive to cast another actor and essentially start the film over again. Look at the lead of Don Quixote in Lost in La Mancha. As a independent film and director, you make due with the cards you're dealt. He found a way to alter but keep the project afloat, which he no doubt spent countless months (or years) on in pre-production.

Thombeau said...

Terry Gilliam is a visionary, an insane genius not unlike Ken Russell. For better or worse.

MichaelMcl said...

Very firmly seated on Terry Gilliam. BRAZIL and other early works are marvelous, but in between then and now are some pretty awful films that get kudos on design alone.

Anonymous said...

I want to show solidarity for Heath and all in his last film performance, but I have no interest at all at seeing this bizarre-looking film. Terry Gilliam films are usually so idiosyncratic and have no pull over me when I watch them. Eh. For me, his last film role was "The Dark Knight", and that's how I'll remember him.

Anonymous said...

@Casey Fiore : Actually Heath Ledger was on set for a month or more (the shoot started 17th december 2007) and Gilliam said he had done 45 % of his characters' scenes so there WILL be a performance of Ledger in this film and a pretty big one in my opinion : Ledger was supposed to be the star of the film (or the co-star -with Plummer) so 45% of his scenes should make quite a long time on screen... On a 2 hours picture, I'd say we can wait at least for 30 or 40 minutes of Ledger.

@YH : Wether you like it or not, Heath Ledger's last role is "Tony" in The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. You can say that it's not a complete performance but you can't say that the Joker was his last role.

Thomas said...

This comment is for Casey Fiore Heath Ledger did 6 weeks of fiming not 6 days he started in early December and finished on the 19th of January 2008, it says on more than one website that Heath completed 45% of his part in the film, and others say he did at least half of his part in the film......
Thankyou - from Thomas

Thomas said...

This comment is for Casey Fiore Heath Ledger did 6 weeks of fiming not 6 days he started in early December and finished on the 19th of January 2008, it says on more than one website that Heath completed 45% of his part in the film, and others say he did at least half of his part in the film......
Thankyou - from Thomas

Anonymous said...

This comment is for Casey Fiore Heath Ledger did 6 weeks of fiming not 6 days he started in early December and finished on the 19th of January 2008, it says on more than one website that Heath completed 45% of his part in the film, and others say he did at least half of his part in the film......
Thankyou - from Thomas