dreams

Dreams: The Brothers Grimm

Edited by Phil Stubbs

Terry Gilliam continues to work on the postproduction of a picture called The Brothers Grimm in London alongside the postproduction of Tideland. Follow Grimm's development on this page - in reverse chronological order...

3 June 2005
Terry Gilliam confirms to Dreams the final release date of The Brothers Grimm in a brief update...
"At long last, we got a date. Aug 26. Grimms gets the big release in America on that weekend. I finish work on it in another two weeks. Just recorded the music and we start dubbing next week."
Also a poster is made available, which can be clicked on for a bigger image:


13 May 2005
A report from Cannes about the preview of The Brothers Grimm from Associated Press, suggesting that the movie is going to get a big release in the summer.

In Terry Gilliam’s fertile imagination, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were more than fairy-tale collectors. They actually lived a fairy tale, complete with curses, monsters and an evil hag in a tower. Gilliam and Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein showed off about 20 minutes of “The Brothers Grimm” to reporters at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, looking to give their movie a publicity boost for its release amid the crowded summer blockbuster season.

“The Brothers Grimm” stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as the 19th century folklorists who gathered tales that have enchanted and terrorized generations of children. The movie casts the Grimm siblings as hucksters who travel from town to town with a bag of tricks and a reputation as fearless monster slayers, spinning tall tales of supernatural terrors that they will exorcise — for a fee. The Grimm boys get a dose of fairy-tale reality when they encounter a true curse, complete with a forest of trees that can move on its own, a horse that swallows a child and races off with it in its belly and a 500-year-old queen in a tower (Monica Bellucci) abducting young girls to steal their life energy and preserve her beauty.

The Cannes footage revealed a blend of gritty 19th century reality and the wild, surreal visuals Gilliam (“Brazil,” “The Fisher King,” “Twelve Monkeys”) is known for. “I tried to bring it down to a real fairy-tale level,” Gilliam said. “I want the ground to be below us, because when it disappears, it’s a longer fall.” The film, Gilliam’s first since 1998’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” has had a longer run to the finish line than most movies, with Gilliam laboring on it for two years and Miramax shuffling the release date repeatedly.

A year ago at Cannes, when the movie still was scheduled for release in late 2004, Miramax showed off a few minutes of “The Brothers Grimm.” The release later switched to early this year, then late this year, and finally shifted back to this August. “Last year, we showed three minutes, this year, 20 minutes. This way, about four or five years from how, you’ll see the finished film,” Gilliam joked.

Gilliam has had epic battles with studios and financial backers on such films as “Brazil” and “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen,” and his uncompleted “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” with Johnny Depp shut down after just six days of shooting in 2000 because of a series of freak troubles.

Weinstein and Gilliam reportedly clashed on “The Brothers Grimm,” but they appeared chummy at Cannes, and Weinstein said Miramax was releasing the film with a huge marketing blitz. Delays on “The Brothers Grimm” resulted because Gilliam and his collaborators had to inject top-of-the-line effects and production values essentially at half-price, Weinstein said. “It takes so long when the movie should cost $150 million and it only costs $75 million.”


12 May 2005
The Brothers Grimm is nearly complete, still in postproduction in London. It was announced yesterday that Terry Gilliam and Harvey Weinstein are to present 20 minutes of completed footage at Cannes on Friday May 13. Variety has just reported that the film will be released as a WeinsteinCo picture, their new brand, rather than a Dimension picture.

20 February 2005
As Terry Gilliam continues to work on the postproduction of both Tideland and The Brothers Grimm, he sends to Dreams the current status of The Brothers Grimm...
"At the same time[as working on Tideland], Lesley Walker and I are tidying up our cut of The Brothers Grimm. Two films at once. A first! We have til the end of May to finish it. Matt and Heath need to be here in mid March to do their post-sync work. The July release date that we read about might be a bit flexible. It's all about traffic management. Rush hour is not necessarily the best time out on the street."

6 February 2005

The Filmjerk site reports that Grimm has a new release date in the States of 29 July 2005, and a PG rating:
The Brothers Grimm (Miramax Films): PG-13 for violence, frightening sequences and brief suggestive material
Thanks to Felicity of the Matt Damon Column

24 November 2004
Earlier this month, Terry Gilliam told Dreams that he continues to work on The Brothers Grimm in Canada on his days off from Tideland. The director has agreed with Dimension that there are to be no reshoots and that his target date for completing his final cut of the movie is June 2005. The film is still expected to be released November 2005. Here's what Terry said...

Dreams: What is the current status of Grimm?
Gilliam: The current status of Grimm is still a little bit unclear. Up until a few days ago we thought we had to deliver the film for financial reasons by the end of March next year and now I've just been told I have to deliver the film sometime in June.

Your final cut?
Yes. Due to the funding, there's restrictions on when it has to be delivered, so that's now the current date - we have to deliver by June. And at the moment over here Lesley Walker, who's also editing Tideland, and I have been working on the weekends on Grimm.

What work remains on it?
We've still got quite a few shots that aren't finalised on Grimm cgi-wise. In the end there's been about 750 cgi shots, and there's about 50 that aren't finished yet. And right now there's a lot of going round in circles about how much is left financially and the budget to pay for these things and how many shots are critical. So there's a lot of negotiations going on.

Any re-shoots in the pipeline?
Nope - it was finally agreed that I would finish the film with my cut with no re-shoots. That's been agreed, that is the current plan.

18 September 2004

In a frustrating move to those eagerly awaiting Terry Gilliam's next feature film, the release date of The Brothers Grimm has been put back twice this August. The release date changed from February 2005 to April 2005. But again at the end of the month, the date was moved further back to November 2005. CNN's website reported the following:

"Terry Gilliam's upcoming The Brothers Grimm isn't changing its date because of bad word of mouth or due to a lack of star wattage, it's just being positioned to come out in a marketplace where it can shine and with plenty of time to nail the many special effects needed in conveying the fabled horrors and curiosities the Grimm clan is known for. The surprise is that it's being pushed a full year away from when it was originally expected to debut.

"A full year -- that's incredible. It's also just the controversial cherry on top of the career of Gilliam, a director whose every project seems to balloon out of proportion, be mired in creative struggles, or flat out dissipate into thin air as the director's Don Quixote epic did.

"The recent release Lost in La Mancha succinctly demonstrates both the incredible passion of Terry Gilliam and the horrendous luck his projects tend to be cursed with. Were the former Monty Pythoneer not such an amazing and brilliantly complex director, such a massive shift might be considered a doomsday sign, but all signs point to the shift as one that will allow the film's post-production process some breathing room, as well as the marketing people at Dimension Films the tools they need to sell the macabre film to audiences who normally see Ledger and Damon as heartthrobs or postmodern action heroes.

"Still, a year is a long time. The increasingly shaky relationship between Dimension/Miramax and its parent company, Disney, could erupt, and there's no knowing what the fallout could be. The public awareness for Grimm is nonexistent, so there's no risk of ruining any momentum the film has amassed. Granted, hardcore Gilliam fans (myself included) want this film to come out as soon as possible, but we represent a tiny chunk of the public. As a whole, shifts like these are documented in the margins of trade publications, away from the glossy mainstream newsstand magazines, but a Gilliam film is an event film, and now one that seems so far away.

"If nothing else, release date witchcraft like this should serve as an eye-opening example of how malleable and amorphous the movie industry can really be."


Late in June there was a third test screening in Wandsworth, London. I understand that this screening in a cinema full of children aged from ten. There also seems to have been a test screening in the US at the end of June from which appeared the following two reviews: here and here

As mentioned in the CNN article, there is plenty of change at Miramax, the parent company of Dimension Films. Miramax has laid off 65 staff, and the ongoing negotiations about the relationship with Disney has created more uncertainty about Miramax's future.

22 June 2004
Postproduction on The Brothers Grimm continues in London. On 14 June, Dark Horizons reported that Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm has been delayed to a February 2005 release in the US. The reason is not clear, although Miramax's Bridget Jones follow-up has been confirmed as opening in the US on Grimm's original opening date - 19 November 2004.

Terry Gilliam gave an interview to Dreams in June, in which he reveals that the music for The Brothers Grimm will be provided by Dario Marianelli and not Goran Bregovic. Also the director mentions that Matt Damon took tango lessons in preparation for Grimm.

26 May 2004
GiG posts to the Dreams Messageboard that it was reported at an Emir Kusturica website that Goran Bregovic has been asked by Terry Gilliam to provide music for The Brothers Grimm.

Ain't it Cool News features mixed reviews from the second test screening, which Terry Gilliam attended in NYC.

On 21 May, Hollywood Reporter stated that Miramax has sold Grimm to a number of territories. In particular, French indie Metropolitan FilmExport snapped up the film from Miramax International.

14 May 2004
Sci-Fi Wire announces the following:
MGM has pulled out of distribution of Terry Gilliam's upcoming dark fairy-tale movie The Brothers Grimm, leaving partner Dimension Films to handle worldwide distribution on its own, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Grimm went into production last summer with Dimension and MGM splitting costs and territories. But MGM backed out, retaining only a small equity investment in the film, the trade paper reported.

Grimm - starring Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Jonathan Pryce and Monica Bellucci - originally was developed at MGM, with Mosaic Media's Charles Roven producing with Daniel Bobker. Dimension came on board to co-finance and produce and to handle domestic distribution in March 2003, the trade paper reported.

MGM is understood to have reached the decision on Grimm in part due to its heavy international release slate next year, in which the studio will unveil The Amityville Horror and the next James Bond movie, among other films, the trade paper reported. The Brothers Grimm is eyeing a November release date.

9 May 2004
Matt Damon's nose caused an argument between the makers of his latest film. Director Terry Gilliam and studio boss Harvey Weinstein disagreed on whether the Hollywood heartthrob should wear a large false nose for new movie The Brothers Grimm. Gilliam wanted Matt to wear the prosthetic nose, but Weinstein didn't.

A source revealed to Britain's Daily Express newspaper: "Terry had the make-up artist do tests and finally came up with exactly what he wanted - a large false nose for Damon. But despite Nicole Kidman winning an Oscar after sporting a similar nose to portray Virginia Woolf in The Hours, Miramax boss Weinstein did not agree.
The source added: "Terry sent the tapes of the make-up tests to Harvey and received the all clear for the shooting, but Harvey didn't see the tapes until the day before shooting began. He then immediately called up Gilliam, wanting him to drop the prosthetics.

"Harvey claimed he had paid to have Matt Damon as his star so he wanted to see all of his face on screen. The last thing he wanted was for him to be unrecognizable." After arguments between the pair, Gilliam finally backed down.
Source: The Matt Damon Column.

20 April 2004
Ain't-It-Cool News today reports a broadly positive review from a first test screening of The Brothers Grimm.

A brief interview with Matt Damon about Grimm recently appeared in USA Today. On Gilliam, Damon said, "He inspires a kind of passion in everyone who works for him. It's going to have a really unique tone because it has Terry's twist on it. It's very funny, but there all these elements of adventure, fantasy and fairy tale in it. Terry's one of the founding members of Monty Python, so it's also got some humor."

Cover art from Bob McCabe's book about Grimm has appeared over at Amazon.


Broadcast Newsroom reports that the company producing CGI for Grimm has invested in new processing power. "Twenty-seven high-end workstations have been sold to Peerless Camera in Soho, one of Europe's oldest and most respected visual effects houses. Peerless possesses a long-standing name for quality, creativity and cost effectiveness and is currently in production on Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm, a major Miramax release for 2004."

16 February 2004
The Z Review features many stills of Monica Bellucci, Heath and Matt.

08 February 2004
Postproduction on The Brothers Grimm is now well underway in London. According to a website called The Z Review, The Brothers Grimm will be released in the US on 19 November 2004.

Interviewed by Empire Online at London's premiere of Big Fish, Gilliam confirmed that much progress had been made at the editing stage. "I actually saw the first assembly today for the first time, and, well, it's going to be busy for the next few months. There's hundreds of special effects shots. Part of it is editing in the dark, because you're trying to imagine extraordinary things."

The CG work is being performed by Peerless in London, who have worked on Fear and Loathing, Baron Munchausen and Brazil. Dreams understands that the majority of the CG work is being performed using Maya software.

Gilliam went on to tell Empire about Heath Ledger and Matt Damon's roles. "These are very different from their normal characters. They're cast completely against type, which is always a gamble, but when it pays off I love it. The actors love it, and the audience likes waking up and discovering the world is different every day."

Late November 2003, Variety reported the following, an unfair article since other than Munchausen, Gilliam has a fairly good reputation for delivering films on budget: "Like Gilliam's notorious The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and other projects by the gifted U.S.-born but U.K.-based helmer, Grimm has gone over budget, spending some $78 million according to insiders, suffered from on-set creative clashes."

In December, Variety reported the end of principal photography for Grimm. "Terry Gilliam had something extra to be thankful for when The Brothers Grimm wrapped its 22-plus-week shoot Nov. 27. Film was originally skedded to shoot in 17 weeks, but a replacement cinematographer (Newton Thomas Siegel) and the complicated effects resulted in the delay. Despite some rumors that Gilliam was headed toward another Lost in La Mancha mire, local production vets were sanguine about the filming."

In January 2004 the London Evening Standard reported the following article headlined: "It's looking Grimm in row over Monty Python man's film". Dreams is not sure about its accuracy, especially as the author of the article suggests The Brothers Grimm are an invention of Hans Christian Andersen.

On the set of The Brothers Grimm, Matt Damon's new film which has just finished filming in Prague, there's anything but a fairytale atmosphere. Director and former Monty Python man Terry Gilliam has been involved in "a titanic battle of egos" with Miramax moguls Harvey and Bob Weinstein.

Eyebrows were raised when Miramax asked Gilliam to direct the $100 million fantasy flick, starring Matt Damon, Heath Ledger and Monica Bellucci, which reinvents Hans Christian Andersen's Jacob and Will Grimm as 16th century con men.

Gilliam has not made a film for five years and the abandonment of his ill-fated film adaptation of Don Quixote was memorably chronicled in last year's documentary film Lost in La Mancha.

"Terry wants to make the film his way, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that his vision of The Brothers Grimm differs from Miramax's", says my source. "Bob Weinstein was sent to Prague to oversee production. But after taking one look at the rushes, he replaced Gilliam's trusted cinematographer with his own man.

"Now Terry has been telling everybody: 'Harvey Weinstein needs to learn a lesson and I'm the one to teach it.' The majority of the crew agrees with Terry. It's a titanic battle of egos."

A spokesman for Miramax in the States denied any knowledge of discord. "I'm not aware of this at all."

Matt Damon seems in the dark too. "It's going to be spectacular," he said recently. "But I don't know what the tone of the movie will be."

(Source of Evening Standard article: Felicity at the Matt Damon Column).

15 November 2003
A source on the set of The Brothers Grimm told Dreams the end is in sight as far as shooting is concerned. Shooting is scheduled to end on 22 Nov, with Matt Damon leaving on 18 Nov to perform in Bourne Again. The source went on to say that the set for the Queen's tower looks fantastic, and that everyone involved is pretty exhausted!

Peter Stormare stars as Cavaldi

As reported here in October (below), the French magazine Brazil features an article about the film. This report has been translated into English and is available at the Matt Damon site. The article reveals that the Director of Photography for the film is Tom Sigel (X-Men 2) and not Nicola Pecorini, as previously reported.

On 13 November, Reuters posted a report by Alan Crosby about The Brothers Grimm, entitled "Damon and Ledger laugh through Grimm tale"

Standing in front of a monitor watching their latest take during the filming of "The Brothers Grimm", Matt Damon and Heath Ledger burst out laughing. Not exactly the reaction one would expect from a fairy tale, but precisely one director Terry Gilliam was aiming at. "This film certainly is like nothing I have ever done before," Damon told Reuters in an interview.

Gilliam, looking to move on from the disastrous end to his film about Don Quixote when financing was abruptly pulled, has chosen to guide the stories of the Brothers Grimm in a not so fairytale way for co-producers MGM and Dimension Films. As with previous films "Brazil" and "Twelve Monkeys", Gilliam, once part of the comedy team Monty Python, has brought his exaggerated sense of space and shapes to the stages of Prague's Barrandov Studios.

FAIRYTALES OR CON MEN?
His take on Jake and Wilhelm Grimm is that they were 19th Century conmen who duped people into paying them to drive out "evil creatures" that are actually fictitious beings created by the brothers themselves. Eventually the two are asked by the French government to deal with an actual real-life evil creature -- played by Monica Bellucci -- that sends them on a wild adventure.

Damon and Ledger, heartthrobs to millions, are barely recognisable in their Bavarian costumes. For Damon, the role was one he couldn't turn down, even if shooting delays have eaten up any chance for a holiday before filming a sequel to his hit "The Bourne Identity" later this month in Germany. "I saw the script and knew I wanted to do the movie. I knew it would cut it close with the next Bourne movie, but I didn't care. Now, when I see what is going on film, I have no doubts I made a great choice," said the affable American. Damon and Ledger have hit it off during filming, with the Australian referring to Damon "like he's my brother".

WARPED SETTING
If the costumes and acting are exaggerated, they are equalled by the set. In a sign of the determination of Gilliam and set designer Guy Hendrix Dyas to create a dream world, they travelled to dozens of the Czech Republic's medieval towns before realising the real thing was pretty, but too practical.

Instead, after shunning some of the world's best preserved castles, Hendrix Dyas created his own village barely a stone's throw from the studios and within sight of the ugly concrete apartments that serve as a reminder of nearly five decades of Communist rule. "After talking to Terry, I realised very quickly we were on the same page," said Hendrix Dyas. "That made it easy to test the boundaries, and in the end, it's true, we would never have found a village such as this. No one would ever have left something like this standing!"


Actor Samantha Morton revealed to Scotland's Sunday Herald magazine that Gilliam wanted her to be cast in The Brothers Grimm. In conversation with Paddy Considine, Morton said, "I've never been bitter about any role I didn't get until Terry Gilliam wanted me for the Brothers Grimm movie he's shooting at the moment. Terry wanted me. Matt Damon wanted me. Then all of a sudden Bob Weinstein didn't want me. There were phonecalls. Bob said: 'She'll win an Oscar one day, and it will be in one of my films, but it won't be in this one'‚ Terry pressed them, and they told him the tops of my arms are too big! This is what's happening in films today: the films are supporting stars. For me that's the wrong way round. The most important thing has to be the film."

There is a feature on The Brothers Grimm in the December 2003 edition of Empire magazine (UK). The US tv programme Entertainment Tonight visited the set of The Brothers Grimm, and broadcast a short piece focussing on stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. This is now available online.
Many thanks to Craig Clark for converting the Stormare pic.

6 October 2003
The Brothers Grimm continues in production at Prague. As I write, it starts its fifteenth week of shooting. On 24 September, the production turned around to day shooting, putting to an end the discomfort of a cold, damp, dark Barrandov backlot. It has been announced that the shooting is to be extended from a "late-October" finish to a mid-November wrap.

Monica Bellucci has been confirmed in the cameo role of an evil queen within the film, a role linked to several actresses including Nicole Kidman and Uma Thurman. As reported by Variety on 25 September:

Monica Bellucci has signed to play the evil queen in Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm, now shooting in Prague. A Dimension Films-MGM co-production, "Brothers Grimm" is the story of two traveling con artists who perform bogus exorcisms and pretend to protect people from enchanted creatures until they encounter a real magical curse in a haunted forest.

Bellucci will portray the forest's ruler, a woman who has found eternal life but not eternal beauty. She turns to the forest in order to procure the young virgins whose blood she needs to stay lovely.

A picture of Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as the eponymous siblings has been released, and was featured in USA Today. The picture was taken by the production's photographer Francois Duhamel, who took the beautiful Quixote photos featured at the official Lost in La Mancha site.

And a magazine promoting trade between Sweden and the Czech Republic featured a piece on Peter Stormare as Cavaldi in amongst articles like "Duvets, Liquor and Showrooms". The interview is not repeated in full here since it features a major spoiler. But it's safe to click on the link and see a picture of Stormare in character on the front page of the pdf magazine.

Stormare said (no spoiler), "All the male actors I know have one dream - to play in a film directed by Terry Gilliam. He is both cult and king! So to me, acting in a film by Gilliam is a dream come true. When you're shooting a film there is always a lot of waiting, so we have plenty of time to chat and get acquainted. But after everything's wrapped up, I never socialise with the other actors. We are working all day - when we were shooting outside Kutna Hora, I rose at five in the morning and returned to my apartment at 11 - so you just don't have the strength..."

A French magazine called Brazil (as previously featured in Dreams) has visited the set and a writeup is in the current issue, pictured below. Dreams has also visited the set recently - during the night shooting - and promises a set report very soon. (More thanks to Felicity at the Matt Damon Column from whom I grabbed the brothers pic and the Stormare piece)



13 September 2003
The Brothers Grimm - director Terry Gilliam's current feature film project - continues shooting in Prague. On September 8, cast and crew started night shooting in and around the village set created on a backlot outside the Barrandov studios in the Czech capital. That has meant shooting each evening through to 5:00 to 6:00am in the morning. Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Lena Headey, Peter Stormare and Jonathan Pryce have all been working on scenes this week in the cold, windy atmosphere in Prague. And there has happily been very little night rain to spoil the production.

Terry Gilliam on the set of The Brothers Grimm during a night shoot

Director Terry Gilliam told Dreams that he has been particularly pleased with the quality of the performances that his cast have given on the shoot so far. Some photos away from the shoot - I understand from Stephen Bridgewater's birthday party - appeared at imdb. The first features Peter Stormare, Bridgewater and Matt Damon; the second Gilliam alone. Bridgewater has worked on several Gilliam pictures as a dialogue/acting coach.


There was a profile of Heath Ledger in the UK's Mail on Sunday early in September, which has mentioned The Brothers Grimm. Here are some highlights, from a website called heathbaby.

Heath Ledger, the notoriously reserved Australian grump, wears a smile as wide as a billabong. I was admiring your wombat, I say. "I've got a koala too," he replies. The actor leaps three steps into his on-set trailer on the outskirts of Prague, and bounds over to the wombat perched at the open front door. Inside, strewn on a table and two floral sofas, is a spectrum of Australian bits and bobs of the sort you buy at the airport gift shop-toy animals, comedy hats beer coolers, socks, jars of vegemite. Gifts, he says, from his agent.

"I like the socks, though," decides Ledger, brandishing a bush tucker hat in their direction.

A magical combination of Prague's surrealism, Terry Gilliam in the director's seat of The Brothers Grimm, and the access to some of the most psychedelic marijuana on earth -which, he says, makes walking around the pink-hued city "even more interesting" - has turned Ledger into a blessed-out, caricature Australian.

Since his move, aged 18, to Los Angeles in 1997, Ledger has been a Hollywood anomaly - a low profile character actor with a bent for the dramatically difficult. He displayed medieval swordsmanship in A Knight's Tale and starred as Billy Bob Thornton's suicidal son in the oscar-laden Monster's Ball. Later this year he will be seen in The Order, playing a priest who physically takes on other people's sins, and this month he stars in the biopic Ned Kelly, playing Australia's mythological out-law, who was hanged aged 25.

Today, though, he's in the Czech Republic having the time of his life on Gilliam's fantasy biopic of the Grimm brothers, Inside his trailer, Ledger is listening to hip-hop and twitching like an asylum inmate, endlessly pulling at his loose t-shirt, limbs flailing in uncontrollable spasms, and rubbing a bottle of water on his chest.

He loathes interviews, and finds them profoundly intrusive. They make him nervous, and he's a nervous enough person already. With his hair on end and new beard - a scratchy growth that he twirls in Salvador Dali points - he looks like a hyperactive goblin. This, apparently is his natural state.

"When I get nervous my hands go (he flails his hands uncontrollably and begins screaming), "Waaah...rrrr!" Everything inside me goes a hundred miles an hour. Usually when I'm working it's (takes a deep breath) 'Oooh Kaay, I'm going to centre myself.' But Terry says, "I love all this stuff you do (arms everywhere). Just go for it." So he's provoked a lot of my stupidity."

Gilliam, evidently is worse than him-a continually animated spectre gesticulating from his director's chair. "When he describes his direction, he embodies it," says Ledger. "He's an incredible, dignified, intellectual visualist, and as mad as a mongoose."


3 August 2003
Grimm sets -
from Czech websites

Terry Gilliam's project Brothers Grimm has been shooting in Prague now for five weeks. The film began shooting on 30 June at the medieval Krivoklat Castle, outside the Czech capital. The shoot is scheduled to last 17 weeks, mostly on stages and the backlot at the Barrandov Studios. The first photos of the medieval village built on the backlot at Barrandov for Brothers Grimm have appeared at FilmPub.

Since shooting began, Uma Thurman has been confirmed in the cameo role of an evil queen. And Czech actor Tomas Hanak is to play a character that Robin Williams was to have played as a second role.

Fangoria magazine gives the movie's storyline more detail: "Brothers Grimm is a dark fantasy about the two "Brothers Grimm" who travel around the Napoleonic countryside vanquishing fake monsters and demons in exchange for cash. When the French government figures out what they're up to, they force the brothers to deal with the real thing, a number of murders being committed under mysterious circumstances in the northern woods between Germany and France. It is there that they have to try and discover what's really happening and deal with it before more people are killed or their lack of success leads to the guillotine."

A book about the making of the film - featuring with Gilliam's diary - will be published by Harper Collins upon the movie's release next summer. It is to be written/edited with Bob McCrobe. (Many thanks again to Felicity who is currently performing painstaking research on Brothers Grimm for her website - the Matt Damon Column.)


30 June 2003
Brothers Grimm shooting is underway in Prague. Here is a report from Scott McMillan for ScreenDaily, confirming that Robin Williams is not on the project any more. And with Nicole Kidman confirmed as not taking part, the movie is still in need of a actress for a cameo role as a queen.

"Terry Gilliam's $75m Brothers Grimm kicks off its 17-week shoot in Prague today, with Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Lena Heady, Peter Stormare and Jonathan Pryce in the main roles. The shoot will travel around the Czech Republic for the next two weeks, with Czech castle and cathedral towns including Krivoklat, Kacina, Kutna Hora and Ledec doubling for the 19th-century German countryside. MGM and Miramax, via its Dimension subsidiary, are teaming up on the fantasy production, which casts Damon and Ledger as Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the fairy-tale brothers, who in Gilliam's version are Jake and Will, two 19th-century con artists who meet their match when they encounter an actual curse. Gilliam, Ehren Kruger and Tony Grisoni wrote the screenplay. Robin Williams is no longer on board, and recent negotiations with Nicole Kidman for a small part failed to pan out, a source on the set told Screendaily. Charles Roven and Daniel Bobker are producing, with John D Scofield as executive producer. Director of Photographer is Nicola Pecorini, Gabriella Pescucci is handing costume design and Guy Hendrix Dyas serves as production designer. Prague-based upstart production service company Reforma Films is overseeing services for the shoot, which is based at Prague's Barrandov studio complex, together with Etic."


28 June 2003
Castle Krivoklát
"Castle Krivoklát is from 26. June 2003 to 3. July 2003 closed from making movie reasons!!!" So reads the official website of the castle as I write this. It is to be used I understand as a setting for some initial shooting scenes of Brothers Grimm. As the shoot commences over in Prague, here's a news report from the Czech capital about the project, headlined Gilliam to shoot film Brothers Grimm in Barrandov studios. Read on...

(CTK) U.S. film director Terry Gilliam, the former member of the British Monty Python group, will shoot a film called Brothers Grimm in the Prague Barrandov film studios from the end of June to October. Heath Ledger and Matt Damon will feature in the leading roles of the German fairy tale collectors and writers of the 19th century, while Robin Williams will play another character in the prepared film. "The film is being created upon the script written by Ehren Kruger. The budget of this Miramax company project is estimated at $75 millions," Romana Rychetska from the GCI company told CTK on Wednesday. The preparation of the film is in full swing, she added.

A gruesome forest with rocks, a brook and real twelve-metre tall trees is "growing" in the Barrandov studios. Besides, a medieval village consisting of 25 houses, including a church, is being built on the studio grounds. The film village is to be surrounded with a forest as well. "Over the shooting, we have transported 700 full-grown trees to Barrandov," Jiri Matolin, the head and art director of the Barrandov Studio set division, said.

Apart from Prague, the film will be also shot in other localities in the Czech Republic - for example in the surroundings of Hruba Skala, east Bohemia, and in the Krivoklat Castle, central Bohemia. Some of these places, for example the facades in the narrow streets of Ledec nad Sazavou, central Bohemia, will have to be adjusted for the shooting.

The Reforma and Etic Films production companies provide services for the U.S. crew of Brothers Grimm. Matolin said that the film would be one of the largest projects on which the Barrandov studio cooperated in the past few years. According to the MGM studio, Brothers Grimm will be a popular advantageous film full of mysterious myths and spectres with the leading characters of the Grimm brothers wandering round the villages collecting fairy tales and legends.

Gilliam has already been to Prague three times so he can feel like at home there. At the end of 2001, Gilliam attended the closing eve of the Monty Python films festival in Prague. In 1999, he personally launched the controversial British film The Life of Bryan in the Prague Aero cinema, and three years before he took part in the Summer Film School in Uherske Hradiste, south Moravia. "I hope that we will persuade him [to come to the film school] this year, too," summer film school head Jiri Kralik told CTK. Gilliam, 62, lives in Britain, however, he is often shooting films in Hollywood. His film The Brazil was nominated for the Oscar award in the best script category in 1986, while The Fisher King won the Silver Lion Award at the International Film festival in Venice five years later.
(Dreams thanks Felicity of the Matt Damon Column).

11 June 2003
Is Robin Williams taking part in Grimm? With news today of the main cast, his name is oddly missing. He anyway is committed to Final Cut, which starts production any day now. No indication of a Kidman signing yet, so that looks like a production aspiration rather than a confirmed deal at present. The following is from Variety...

"Lena Headey, Peter Stormare and Jonathan Pryce have joined the cast of Brothers Grimm, a supernatural film centered on the fairy-tale authors. They join previously announced leads Matt Damon and Heath Ledger in director Terry Gilliam's film, which starts shooting June 30 in Prague.

"Ehren Kruger (The Ring) wrote the script, an action-adventure fantasy in which the brothers battle a real magical curse after a history of trading in hoaxes. Richard Ridings and Mackenzie Cook co-star."

26 April 2003
It's now official - Terry Gilliam's current movie project, Brothers Grimm, has been given a green-light. A delighted Gilliam recently told Dreams that Brothers Grimm was happening. "At long last," he said. "We are in the depths of pre-production in Prague right now."

The go-ahead was reported at ScreenDaily on 24 April. Scott MacMillan, in Prague, reported that the gothic fantasy is set to start a 17-week schedule at the end of June and wrap in late October.

The ScreenDaily article continued: "Producers are currently in negotiation with Nicole Kidman for a small part in the film. The film stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger in comic turns as the brothers of fairy-tale fame, directed by ex-Monty Pythoner Gilliam.

The $75m Brothers Grimm sees Miramax’s Dimension Films teaming up with MGM for financing, production and distribution. On the ground in Prague, local Reforma Films – a new production services outfit headed by Ales Komarek – handles services together with Komarek’s former firm, Etic.

Italian costume designer Gabriella Pescucci, who created the undead of Van Helsing, returns to Prague for Brothers Grimm, which sees the brothers touring the German countryside conning villagers into believing in woodland spirits and then charging money for the exorcisms. John Schofield is executive producer, Nicola Pecorini is director of photography and Guy Dyas is set designer.


21 April 2003

As Gilliam continues work on Brothers Grimm in Prague, Dreams pulls together some information on the background of the Brothers Grimm, folklore collectors of the nineteenth century.


26 March 2003
Heath Ledger talks to the Daily Telegraph (Australia), while promoting Ned Kelly. Ledger confirms that he is ready to roll on the comedic action film Brothers Grimm. The paper reports that he will join Matt Damon, Robin Williams and Jonathan Pryce in an adaptation by Terry Gilliam, although the project is dependant on Damon's commitment. Ledger tells the paper that he can't wait to work with the director of Brazil, Twelve Monkeys and The Fisher King.

"I love him – he's fantastic, cuckoo in such a beautifully eccentric way," says Ledger. "He's got such a brilliant mind. I love his movies, am a really big fan and he's definitely on the top of the list of people I wanted to work with." Damon and Ledger will play the brothers but there's one problem. Ledger will have to ride a horse, for the fifth time in six consecutive films: The Patriot, A Knight's Tale, The Four Feathers and Ned Kelly, as well as Brothers Grimm. "I know, I'd like to stop now. I've actually got it written in my contract that I must ride a horse," he laughs.

Previously, on March 21, Ledger was quoted over at SciFi Wire about his involvement in Brothers Grimm movie. "I’m pretty close to nailing [that] down," he said. "As soon as it's [green-lighted], that’s what I will be doing."


20 March 2003
Screen Daily reports from Prague that Brothers Grimm is close to confirming a shoot in the Czech Republic, joining a spate of other planned location shoots. MGM and Miramax are expected to give the go-ahead to Terry Gilliam's Brothers Grimm for a Prague shoot, according to local production firm Etic, which will be handling production services on the shoot together with another Czech firm, Reforma. Although the project has yet to receive the final greenlight from the studios, Etic’s owner, Petr Moravec, told screendaily.com that local production staff have already been hired and that producers are in town scouting for locations. The addition of Miramax to the Terry Gilliam project was announced earlier this month.


10 March 2003
Dimension Films and MGM issue a Press Release...

NEW YORK, March 10 -- Dimension Films will partner with MGM on the action fantasy film Brothers Grimm, it was jointly announced today by Dimension Co-Chairman Bob Weinstein and MGM Vice Chairman and COO Chris McGurk. Dimension will oversee all aspects of production and release the film in North America; MGM will release the film internationally. The studios will share equally in worldwide profits. The film is being written by Ehren Kruger (The Ring, Scream 3), will be directed by Terry Gilliam (Twelve Monkeys), and is being produced by Mosaic Media Group's Charles Roven along with producer Daniel Bobker.

The project has several A-list actors -- including Matt Damon, Heath Ledger and Robin Williams -- in discussions to star. The action-adventure tale revolves around legendary German fairytale scribes Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Kruger's plot will focus on the brothers, now called Jake and Will, as they travel from village to village pretending to protect townsfolk from enchanted creatures and pulling off exorcisms -- hoaxes they've created themselves. The duo is put to the test when they encounter a real magical curse requiring genuine courage. "This is an extremely exciting project for Dimension with great franchise potential, and we are ready to go full steam ahead with production. Chris McGurk is an old friend and we are happy to be in business with him and MGM," said Bob Weinstein. "We immediately knew this project was a winner just by hearing it described. The talent already involved is a testament to the enthusiasm surrounding the script. We're very excited to be working with Dimension and the Brothers Weinstein on Brothers Grimm", said Chris McGurk. Dimension Co-Presidents Andrew Rona and Brad Weston, along with Jon Gordon, executive vice president of production for Miramax, will oversee production for the studio. Bob Osher, Miramax co-president of production, negotiated on behalf of Dimension. Jonathan Bader, EVP of business affairs, negotiated on behalf of MGM.



20 February 2003
Variety journalist Marc Graser reports that Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Robin Williams and Jonathan Pryce are in line to become MGM's fairy tale cast for its comedic action adventure Brothers Grimm. In development at the studio for nearly two years, the film is now on the fast track for a 2004 release under the direction of Terry Gilliam.

The action-adventure tale revolving around the legendary German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm is set to start shooting around Prague in June. Written by The Ring scribe Ehren Kruger, the fictional plot has the folklore collectors, now called Jake and Will, traveling from village to village pretending to protect townsfolk from enchanted creatures and pulling off exorcisms. They are put to the test when they encounter a real magical curse, requiring genuine courage.

Final negotiations on castings are underway, calling for Damon and Ledger to play the brothers, while Williams and Pryce would portray the villains Cavaldi and Delatombe. The talent deals and film's final budget are said to be contingent upon Damon's coming on board the project. The actor, who last appeared in Universal's action thriller The Bourne Identity, recently signed on to star in Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant" at Warner Bros. He is currently shooting the Peter and Bobby Farrelly-directed comedy Stuck on You for Fox.

The film being produced by Mosaic Media Group's Chuck Roven, who produced Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys, along with producer Daniel Bobker. Mosaic and Roven are also behind MGM's spring action film Bulletproof Monk, starring Chow-Yun Fat and Seann William Scott.


10 December 2002
A source close to the project tells Dreams that Terry Gilliam went off to Prague yesterday to scout for locations for Brothers Grimm.  The film has not been green-lit yet, nor has it been cast.  Gilliam is reportedly very hopeful that this project will happen.


16 November 2002
A correspondent on the Dreams Messageboard called "Sam Lowry" was at the LACMA retrospective event on 15 November, where Gilliam was in conversation with Elvis Mitchell. According to Sam, "Someone asked which of his many proposed projects he'll likely do next and he confirmed the one that looks the most likely to happen is Grimm." Aint It Cool News provided more information...

"...which brings us to Brothers Grimm, which Gilliam says IS one of the studio in-house projects, which means there's a better chance [of being made than Good Omens]. He said that he's spending the next 8 weeks trying to figure out casting, budgeting, etc. So, he says the timeframe on whether or not he'll do this one is 2 months. Gilliam said that this one has the most momentum right now, so that's where he's hitched his wagon for the time being."


23 October 2002
Forget Scaramouche, Gilliam's future looks Grimm. Chris Gardner reports in Hollywood Reporter that Terry Gilliam is returning to "the fantastical world of fairy tales and adventure that he explored in Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, signing on to develop with an eye to direct Brothers Grimm for MGM and Mosaic Media Group. A Spring 2003 production start is being targeted." The article continues...

Grimm - in development for nearly two years at MGM - is a fictional action-adventure tale about folklore collectors and brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, called Jake and Will in this version. While traveling from village to village pretending to protect townsfolk from enchanted creatures, they encounter a real sorceress with terrifying powers and are put to the test. The project is described as mixing the adventure of the Indiana Jones films with the humor of Shrek.

The deal reteams Gilliam with Mosaic's Charles Roven, who produced the director's 1995 Twelve Monkeys,starring Bruce Willis (news), Brad Pitt (news) and Madeleine Stowe (news). Roven is producing "Grimm" along with producer Daniel Bobker.

Scribe Ehren Kruger, who is teaming with Bobker and helmer Iain Softley on Skeleton Key for Universal Pictures, penned the Grimm screenplay. At MGM, the project is being overseen by senior vp production Elizabeth Cantillon. "It's a great script, and Gilliam is the right director for it," MGM's Chris McGurk said. "He has a unique vision, and we're looking forward to developing it with him."

The only potential snag in the deal to direct Grimm could be Blue Ribbon Operation, a project that Gilliam is attached to direct for Imagemovers that was formerly set up at DreamWorks Pictures. Gilliam is repped by Endeavor, London-based agent Jenne Casarato and attorney Tom Hunter.

Mosaic and Roven last produced Scooby-Doo for Warner Bros. Pictures and are readying Bulletproof Monk for MGM. This is not the first time MGM has dealt with the Grimms: In 1962, the studio produced a Cinerama movie, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, that told the story of the two brothers along with three of their classic fairy tales
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