Dreams  News Bulletin: April 2001
Edited by Phil Symes Stubbs.  Published 22 April 2001

Win a copy of the newly-published First Draft of the Brazil script - see below

Brazil: The First Draft

In this issue of the Dreams News Bulletin...

1. Gilliam concentrates on Good Omens as Quixote is postponed
2. Gilliam works on Edward Gorey theatre project with the Tiger Lillies
3. Quixote - Gilliam speaks out
4. Gilliam joins 2001 Cannes jury
5. Brazil: First Draft book published, but with major misprint
6. Win a free copy of Brazil: The First Draft
7. Dreams interview with editor of Brazil book: Bob McCabe
8. World awaits new Jabberwocky DVD pack
9. Dreams and Parental Control

1. Gilliam concentrates on Good Omens given Quixote postponement
In the early months of 2001, Terry Gilliam has been working with Tony Grisoni on the script to Good Omens, following the collapse of the Quixote project. Good Omens is a 1990 novel, written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.  At the end of January 2001, Gilliam filed the following report with Dreams: "Quixote still languishes with the insurers. Tony and I have finished the first draft of Good Omens - 150 pages. The knives are being sharpened for the carving up/down. Still a lot of work to do on it."

And at the end of March, Gilliam had made further progress with the film, but still had further script problems to overcome, "You can report that Good Omens is proving to be fucking difficult to reduce to the fucking-shit-ass limitations of a two fucking hour film."  Gilliam's earthy language was influenced by the fact that Dreams has received the accolade of having recently been featured within a book about Parental Control and the Internet - see below.

2. Gilliam works on Edward Gorey theatre project with the Tiger Lillies
Mid January 2001, sources speaking to Dreams revealed that Gilliam had started work on a musical stage production with the Tiger Lillies. Gilliam confirmed this at the end of January and said, "The theatre project you have heard rumours about is with the Tiger Lillies and Michael Morris - the key movers in Shockheaded Peter. This new project is based on a lot of unpublished writings by Edward Gorey. We are just throwing ideas around at the moment to see if it develops into something real. Martyn Jacques (main man in Tiger Lillies) has already written the songs. Who knows what it all will become?"

The theatre project Shockheaded Peter is playing in London's West End at the Piccadilly Theatre until April 28 2001. According to the Shockheaded Peter website, this is the "last chance for you to see this amazing production in London".  After that, the show is off to Vienna, Michigan, Chicago and Seattle.

Terry Gilliam filed a review of this show to the London Evening Standard, published on 23 February 2001. The review was entitled "The Joy of Childhood Nightmares", and here are edited highlights of the full article:

"It is described as a "junk opera" based on Heinrich Hoffman's cautionary tales for children. I'd grown up with Hoffman's Struwelpeter and forgotten it. But the show brought back all those gleeful nightmares of childhood. It reminded me of the circus sideshows I saw as a kid, only less disappointing - a truly grotesque world. Here, children are punished and they die for being bad. Struwelpeter, the unwanted, ugly child, is buried under the floorboards. It's just so nasty. The creators use every trick in the book - puppets, grotesque make-up, elements of pantomime - to accentuate the horror. In some ways it reminded me of my animations for Monty Python.

"I'm working now with Martyn Jacques and the show's producer, Michael Morris, on an adaptation of Edward Gorey's work - stories with spindly, Edwardian drawings of strange and mysterious deaths: Amy, who fell down the stairs; Basil, who was eaten by bears. Like Hoffman, Gorey was trying to shake up a really moralistic, goody-goody time, and I think they both had a lot of fun doing it. The joy of the grotesque is something one has to keep fighting for. If our show works as well as Shockheaded Peter I'll be happy: I don't know anyone who's seen it that hasn't been excited. And it's a real kick in the ass to the West End."

The Tiger Lillies

The Tiger Lillies, an unusual musical act, have their own website.  Their music features a voyeuristic, falsetto voice above accordion, double bass and percussion.  They are Martyn Jacques, Adrian Stout and Adrian Huge.  The trio spoke to Dreams immediately after their show on March 31.   The following is as much as I could write down.

"Edward Gorey heard our music and sent over some unpublished texts and we put them to music.  Terry Gilliam is thinking about whether we're going to do it and how we're going to do it.  That's as far as we've got.  We played the songs live to Terry and he had plenty of ideas.
  So just one meeting with Terry so far.  He's gone away to think about it.  We don't know what at the moment, but the idea is that he would direct the show.."

When asked what their favourite Gilliam film was, the Tiger Lillies said, "Time Bandits, Brazil, Jabberwocky.  Even 12 Monkeys."  Then they summarised, "It's really vague at the moment."

Terry Gilliam has also made some comments about Swansea-based puppeteers Green Ginger, who have recently appeared in London with their show Bambi: The Wilderness Years. Here's what he said:

"The title is lure enough for anybody: Bambi The Wilderness Years. Green Ginger's stuff is wonderfully clever, dark, strange and disturbing.  They use video projections and puppets. They've always made me laugh - and think - so that I leave in a way that makes me feel I've had my money's worth.  The audience ranges from kids and hip teenagers to Alzheimer-riddled adults. I first saw their show FRANK EINSTEIN and that made me laugh. They gave me a lot of inspiration. I used puppets in Jabberwocky and even in Life of Brian. They free the imagination. In films you're caught in a representational world that costs money.

"Jim Henson broke it open, Spitting Image made it venomous. Green Ginger take it back to the world of the macabre. Like in cartoons you can do violent, awful things and play with disturbing ideas without people vomiting in the aisles.  I also love the idea of a travelling show - pack up a few trunks and move on. Films are heavy lumbering vehicles. These guys get direct reaction from the audience, except that they hide and let their hands do the dirty work. One has to support that world because it's free from sponsorship and TV censorship. Puppetry lures children in. My son was entranced by these pieces of latex and how they became animate. Just watch the kids' eyes light up. It's like joining the circus. Good luck to them."

3. Quixote - Gilliam speaks out
At the end of 2000, Dreams reported on the situation with Gilliam's Quixote film. Though Gilliam defiantly wishes to restart it, the project was at the end of Jan 2001 "still languishing with the insurers", so he will come back to it in a few years' time, possibly after the Good Omens project. Gilliam spoke to Observer journalist Sean O'Hagan [not the guy from the High Llamas] in early February about the Quixote project. Here are a few highlights from the full text of the Observer piece:

Gilliam, in an interview which he described as a therapy session, told O'Hagan that making a film is essentially about two things: "belief and momentum. You need those two essential elements, one feeding the other, or things fall apart."

Following the dual problems of flooding and Jean Rochefort's injury - Gilliam said, "Initially, the insurers wanted us to recast and reshoot within four weeks but that was an impossibility - there is no way I could have found a replacement for Jean in that time, plus the other actors had prior commitments and the locations had been lined up months in advance for specific dates."

Gilliam spoke to O'Hagan about the history of the project, from an initial agreement with Jake Eberts in 1990 to make the film. This was before Gilliam read the book. Then after Fear and Loathing, in 1998 Gilliam toyed with the idea again and reinvented his project as The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.  A long time was spent getting a European financial deal to make the movie, and then Johnny Depp almost pulled out of the project.

Looking back at the aborted project, Gilliam said, "It's funny, but I always find that the process of making a film tends to echo the actual story and, in this case, I started to feel like Quixote, always tilting at windmills. The thing is, though, if I am being honest, there was a certain relief when it collapsed. For the first time in my life, I was starting a film and I didn't feel joyful. There was about six hours of joy when me and Johnny were shooting together in the desert, getting ideas, inventing stuff. But, that was it. It just didn't feel right. I was exhausted by all the other stuff. I guess I need that joy in order to work."

The director summed up by declaring defiantly, "I am going to make this damn film, but maybe down the line. I can't even look at it right now. I can't even think about it. I mean, I'm supposed to be shooting right now, out there surrounded by creative people, thinking up new ideas, in my element. Instead, I'm sitting at home on the computer again. It's not the same thing at all!"

Further, the 22 Jan 2001 edition of Dark Horizons featured the following on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote...  Jean Rochefort gave an interview to French publication TV Magazine and commented on his now famous injury which halted the production: "I have almost completely recovered. But I'm not able to ride yet. I don't know if the film will go on. You know, I've been riding for 45 years without any problems. Now, my body and my health seem to say: stop! The difficulty is increased by the armor weight. It is painful for everybody, Terry Gilliam, the actors and me. The character of Don Quixote is fantastic and I had been learning English for seven months!"

4. Gilliam joins 2001 Cannes jury
It has been announced that Terry Gilliam will be one of the jurors at the 54th Cannes Film Festival, running from 9 to 20 May 2001.  The full jury is as follows:

Mimmo Calopresti (director, Italy)
Charlotte Gainsbourg (actress, France)
Terry Gilliam (director, U.S.)
Mathieu Kassovitz (director, France)
Sandrine Kiberlain (actress, France)
Philippe Labro (writer, France)
Julia Ormond (actress, U.K.)
Moufida Tlatli (director, Tunisia)
Liv Ullmann (actress-director, Norway -- jury president)
Edward Yang (director, Taiwan)

The movies in competition are:

Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann, Australia (opening film)
Mulholland Drive, David Lynch, United States
The Pledge, Sean Penn, United States
The Man Who Wasn't There, Joel Coen, United States
Shrek, Andrew Adamson and Victoria Jenson, United States
Taurus, Alexander Sokourov, Russia
Je Rentre a la Maison, Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal
The Son's Room, Nanni Moretti, Italy
Eloge de l'Amour, Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland
La Repetition, Catherine Corsini, France
La Chambre des Officiers, Francois Dupeyron, France
Roberto Succo, Cedric Kahn, France
Va Savoir!, Jacques Rivette, France
Desert Moon, Shinji Aoyama, Japan
The Pianist, Michael Haneke, Austria
Millennium Mambo, Hsiao-hsien Hou, Taiwan
Warm Water Under a Red Bridge, Shohei Imamura, Japan
Distance, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan
Kandahar, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Iran
Il Mestiere delle Armi, Ermanno Olmi, Italy
Pau and His Brother, Marc Recha, Spain
No Man's Land, Danis Tanovic, Bosnia
What Time is it Over There?, Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan

5. Brazil: First Draft book published, but with major misprint
In February 2001, "Brazil: The First Draft" was published - this is the first draft of Brazil that Terry Gilliam and Charles Alverson wrote together back in 1979, before other writers Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown got involved with the project. The book includes an introduction written by Bob McCabe, in which he traces the history of the first draft script, featuring interviews with both Gilliam and Alverson.

Visit Charles Alverson's website - ChasOnline - now featuring an introduction written by Terry Jones

Gilliam and McCabe signed copies of the book in two events in London in February. Jeff Johnson, a Gilliam fan from NYC, travelled over the Atlantic to one of the book signings. "After reading at Dreams about the Feb. 15 Gilliam signing at the Oxford St. Borders, I decided that I would pack up all the items I wanted to get signed, cross the pond, cross my fingers, and hope that Mr. G. would take the time to sign all of them.  Crazy, you say?  Maybe, but finally having an opportunity to get my Munchausen and Brazil books/scripts signed was too good to pass up.

"When we reached Messrs. Gilliam and McCabe and explained we had Gilliam's entire backlist with us and that we had flown from JFK that a.m., Mr. Gilliam laughed, shook his head and replied "Well, anyone stupid enough to do something like that deserves to get what they want. Get 'em out and let's sign them quickly." And so he did, in about 3 - 4 minutes, intermittently speaking/joking with us. Mr. McCabe seemed bemused, and was also very gracious. Afterwards, ensconced in the Borders Cafe, we felt very guilty for holding up the line for that extra few minutes, until we came back through a half hour later and the line was still snaking through the stacks, with very little apparent progress. As people reached Gilliam, some were (apparently) hawking scripts, some fawning and giggling, and others seemed to be trying to engage Mr. Gilliam in a debate/discussion about film and filmmaking. From what we could see, Mr. Gilliam remained calm, patient and gracious throughout. I don't know how long the signing went on, but I would guess it went considerably beyond the posted event hours. Mr. Gilliam - THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND PATIENCE!! Those few minutes made my trip exciting, worthwhile, and very memorable."

Many readers of this book have been puzzled as to why Dreams editor Phil Stubbs is referred to as Phil Symes in the book.  An apologetic editor McCabe said "At some point Stubbs somehow - I still have no idea how (maybe a fly fell into some machine or other) became Symes and I - having spent far too many late night hours looking at this book with far too little time due to the lateness of it coming through managed to miss it."  Dreams, not holding a grudge against the hirsute writer, interviewed Bob McCabe on the release of the book, the text of which is below the following competition.

6. Win a copy of Brazil: The First Draft
Dreams has four copies of the aforementioned Brazil First Draft book to give away in a competition.  Simply email the answer to the following question, (ensure that you use or state the email address I can contact you in July) over to Dreams at phil@dreams.u-net.com.  From those who have sent to me the correct answer, four winners will be selected after the closing date using the Dreams random number generator.  Here is the question:

Which actor was in Terry Gilliam's Brazil and also featured recently as Sancho Panza in a made-for-tv adaptation of Don Quixote?

Answers please by 30 June 2001.  No purchase necessary.  Thanks to Orion Books for sending to Dreams the books for this competition.

7. Dreams interview with editor of Brazil book: Bob McCabe

Bob McCabe

Dreams: What surprises are in store from the First Draft script to those familiar with the movie?
Bob McCabe: Hopefully many, one of which his how much it holds up as a blueprint for the final film. It's clear even from these early days, what Gilliam wanted to say about the world, I guess it just took him quite some time - and quite some writers - to find out exactly how he wanted to say it. The world of Sam Lowry was a pretty recognisable one - just north of Orwell as it were - early on, but what hopefully fans of the movie will enjoy seeing is how a loose structure emerges into a solid movie shape, and how as Gilliam says the film is always constantly evolving. There are a lot of surprises as well in many of the characters here - most notably Jill, who is a kind of social worker/teacher figure here and by no means the tough truck driver she later became. And the numerous deleted fantasy sequences, which have oft been noted, are seen here in their full glory before they were eventually deleted into filming. (Elements of Time Bandits and, most notably the as yet unmade Defective Detective are clearly present.) This is very much a book for fans of the film though - it's not a casual read - and I'm sure they'll welcome the opportunity to see the early machinations. Plus, it's an attempt to put the record straight and credit Charles Alverson for his previously unacknowledged (on screen at least) contribution to the movie that Brazil became - although both he and Terry can't quite decide what that contribution was exactly.

Besides the First Draft script, what else is in the book?
There's an appendix that - as far as anyone can tell - constitutes the first five pages ever written on the idea of Brazil by Alverson and Gilliam. There's also a lengthy introduction in which I originally set out to exhaustively detail the intricate, historically accurate beginnings of this landmark film, and then subsequently realised that the two men involved had two remarkably different memories and neither would give the other an inch. Consequently, this learned tome became a much more comic look at their personal and professional relationships and something of a humorous paper chase, which again seemed perfect for the subject matter.

Tell me the story of how this book came to be published
I was working on the Dark Knights…book, trawling through the trunks in Terry's attic and came across this battered brown envelope tied together with string, with a hand-scrawled note on the front that said "Brazil - First Draft." I took it away to read, and found that that was pretty difficult in and of itself, as what was inside was a roughly assembled pile of fading typed once-white sheets, covered in odd bits of flimsy green paper, stuck - or often not - on top of various of these other pages. The first thing I did was to try and physically reassemble the script and put the bits in the right order. (This was of course in the days long before PCs, where amendments were literally stuck over the originals.) This done I then read the piece and was fascinated at what a different, yet similar movie this was, and how it showed very quickly how a film evolves from one thing to another, whilst still being recognisable. (I should point out that is some places I chose to opt with the amendments - often just a line change or two; in some I chose to edit elements of the two together, my intention being to show the script in its best light and to remain as true as I could to what I felt was the intent of the scenes in question.) I then took the idea to Orion Books in London who, having had great success with Dark Knights… were very pleased to continue working with Terry and myself.

Why do you think Brazil has such a loyal following?
Short answer - it's a bloody good film! (Some rate it the 54th best British film ever made, you know). Slightly longer answer - I think it's a very personal film with a very personal view of the world, that a lot of people realise they share. And that gives it a rare connection with its audience.

Who is your favourite character in Brazil, and why?
I guess if I had to pick favourites it would be Sam. Others are certainly more obvious, but the thing I like about Sam is he's presented to us as the "hero" of the piece, but he's just a completely morally wrong character. And has no idea of it. When he goes to deliver the cheque, he actually thinks he's doing the right thing, and never gets past that. Everything that happens to him in that society is because of the role he plays in that society - he deserves it all, but he still feels he's been wronged. An appalling human being - but a very good cog in the machine.

How reliable as witnesses are Terry Gilliam and Charles Alverson?
Individually - very reliable. Put them together - you work it out.

When you last spoke to Dreams, you spoke about some scripts you'd written that may or may not have been filmed - any news now on what we should be looking out for?
As Terry's often interrupted work rate will tell you, these things take far too much bloody time. I'm still being paid to write five screenplays for five producers, each of whom assures me they're going to be made soon - the first apparently this summer, with finance coming fully from Germany (odd, as it's a comedy set in North London.) In the interim, I co-founded an internet site last year (www.itsyourmovie.com) where we made the "world's first interactive movie" ™ which was a very big success - 6 million viewers, and we made national news here, the US, Australia and beyond. Out of that we launched a sister site (www.impzone.com) to make short form comedy material, including an extremely cheesy space hero puppet show called Major Mac Magruder of Space Patrol. (Terry's seen it - he declared it "Very silly." High praise indeed.)

What are you working on in the future?
Well, I was supposed to be doing this book on the making of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

8. World awaits new Jabberwocky DVD pack
In mid February 2001, a character who calls himself Tuttle had a conversation with Terry Gilliam at a book signing and found out that Jabberwocky was being spruced up for a home video release.  Tuttle said, "Gilliam stated that there was to be a DVD release of Jabberwocky.  Apparently he has spent some time improving the sound and the improvements are stunning. There are also plans to include commentaries from himself and Michael Palin."

9. Dreams and Parental Control
A new book, published by Dorling Kindersley, has featured this website. It is called "Parental Control", and aims to help children make the most of the Internet and it recommends child-safe sites.  Parents clearly need guidance to prevent their sweet innocent ones gaining access to a vast moral turpitude of suicide tips, sexual deviancy and drugs promotion.  Without such advice, children will become drug-crazed sado-masochists who never reach adulthood.  Dreams editor Phil Stubbs commented that he was happy to be upholding the high standards that right-thinking people expect.

Dreams welcomes contributions. If you wish to send relevant comment, letters, analysis, news - then please email me. Thankyou to everyone who has emailed - keep in touch. Tell me what you think of Dreams, good or bad. Send your comments to me at phil@dreams.u-net.com

Dreams is one of the smart.co.uk family of websites

Phil Stubbs, Edinburgh. April 2001.

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