I've always liked Terry Gilliam's films. One of the first adult films I ever watched in the cinema was The Fisher King which had a big impact on me. I loved the combination of reality and fantasy which is a theme that runs through many of Terry Gilliam's films.
For christmas I got a book of Terry Gilliam interviews over the last 30 years from my girlfriend.
This book covers each of his films and animations from the very early Monty Python days, through to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The fact is that it is incredible that Terry Gilliam manages to make the films he does in Hollywood. His whole life has been a continual battle to keep hold of the control of the films he makes. He has a bad reputation but this is mainly due to the fact that he doesn't mind pissing off executives if it means that his films are kept the way that he mean't them to be seen.
It opened up to me many ideas and misconceptions about Terry Gilliam and his films. For instance, Barron Muchausen is always known as one of the biggest flops of all time. The fact is that the distribution company only distributed 117 prints of the film throughout America. Compared to about 400 for an arthouse release, this film was always going to fail. I think that Hollywood has a problem with him due to the fact that it is almost impossible to figure out if one of his films will be successful.
The fact is that Terry Gilliam is a sharp witted and deep person who just likes to make a specific kind of film. He is interested in imagination and seeing the world in a different way. His films are like parallel universes that he uses as a reflection of our own. He uses them to emphasise what he does and doesn't like in the world.
At an early age, he vowed never to do a job that he did not like. This mean't that he was very poor for periods of time, but also mean't that everything he did was moving him in the direction he wanted. I think that this is incredibly clever, if you can pull it off!
Overall, Terry Gilliam is a really likeable guy, that has a good laugh all the time which makes reading his interviews really enjoyable. His is strongly opinionated but is never full of himself and is also an inspiration from a creative point of view.
After reading this I think I'll have to go and see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus!