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The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus

A preview from Dreams: the Terry Gilliam fanzine

by Phil Stubbs


OCTOBER 2007 - here's a preview of Terry Gilliam's forthcoming feature, now in preproduction - including cast details, a synopsis and a detailed concept drawing.

The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus is set in the present day, and tells the story of Dr Parnassus and his extraordinary 'Imaginarium', a travelling show - where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. The script is written by Gilliam with Charles McKeown, who both wrote the script to The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

Here's the cast, four of whom have worked in Gilliam pictures before. There's much to look forward to, including the prospect of Tom Waits as the devil incarnate. Christopher Plummer is the eponymous doc, and inventive Heath Ledger returns to work with Gilliam following his work on Brothers Grimm.

   
Heath Ledger as Tony
(was in Brothers Grimm)
Christopher Plummer
as Dr Parnassus
(was in Twelve Monkeys)
Verne Troyer as Percy
(was in Fear & Loathing)
         
   
Andrew Garfield as Anton
Lily Cole as Valentina
and Tom Waits as Mr Nick
(was in The Fisher King)

The concept drawing below shows the 'Imaginarium' - an old, colourful horse-drawn theatre, contrasting with its post-industrial backdrop.


The synopsis below contains minor spoilers:








Synopsis:

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
is a fantastical morality tale, set in the present day.
It tells the story of Dr Parnassus and his extraordinary 'Imaginarium', a travelling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Dr Parnassus is cursed with a dark secret. Long ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr Nick, in which he won immortality. Many centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his first-born reached its 16th birthday he or she would become the property of Mr Nick. Valentina is now rapidly approaching this 'coming of age' milestone and Dr Parnassus is desperate to protect her from her impending fate. Mr Nick arrives to collect but, always keen to make a bet, renegotiates the wager. Now the winner of Valentina will be determined by whoever seduces the first five souls. Enlisting a series of wild, comical and compelling characters in his journey, Dr Parnassus promises his daughter's hand in marriage to the man that helps him win. In this captivating, explosive and wonderfully imaginative race against time, Dr Parnassus must fight to save his daughter in a never-ending landscape of surreal obstacles - and undo the mistakes of his past once and for all...







The film is expected to be released early 2009.

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