Terry Gilliam's Embattled 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' Hit With New Hurdle

Terry Gilliam Getty H 2017
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French sales banner Alfama has labeled the Adam Driver starrer "illegal," yet the film's producers call the claims "preposterous."

Just a year after Terry Gilliam dropped into Cannes’ Carlton Hotel to reveal that his legendary Don Quixote curse was being lifted, unveiling a star-lined cast and shoot date for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, yet another hurdle has befallen the 19-year-old project.

French banner Alfama Films — which announced the project with Gilliam at Cannes 2016, where it was launching sales on the film — on Friday released a statement regarding a court ruling in Paris. It claimed that Gilliam’s production of the pic — starring Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce — was “patently illegal.”

Gilliam had announced in October that the shoot, which had been due to start that month, had been delayed (again), with Alfama’s Paulo Branco (whom he referred to as a “Portuguese chap”) unable to secure funds. But Amazon Studios — which boarded the project in 2015 — said at CinemaCon that production had kicked off in March (Amazon vp Roy Price later told The Hollywood Reporter that he was visiting the set).

Speaking to THR at Cannes, Branco accused Gilliam — whom he hasn’t spoke to in six months — of working “clandestinely” behind his back, and “pursuing the production with other partners.” He also added that he had the rights to the film, asserting that whatever was shot by Gilliam would be the property of Alfama.

A statement from the film’s producers, which includes Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company, said Branco’s claims were “preposterous” and that he had “no rights whatsoever to Don Quixote,” adding that they had been forced to sue Branco in four countries.

“Senhor Branco’s interpretation of the law borders on the picaresque,” added RPC CEO Peter Watson. “If he really wants to kill the venerable don, I suggest he takes up jousting.”

This story first appeared in the May 21 Cannes daily issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.