After tilting at windmills trying to get The Man Who Killed Don Quixote of the ground for the past two decades, director Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) can finally get some of his other long-in-development projects off the ground. Gilliam’s adaptation of the 1994 absurdist novel Mr. Vertigo is getting closer to reality with the casting of Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter franchise, Spectre, The Grand Budapest Hotel), which the director recently announced at the Brussels International Film Festival, according to The Playlist.
Gilliam has been working on an adaptation of Paul Auster’s novel for seven years now, having first announced the project in 2011. Fiennes was always the 77-year-old director’s first choice to star in the project, but the casting received some pushback, as Fiennes was described as “not bankable,” according to an interview Gilliam gave to Variety. Mr. Vertigo is expected to be the Monty Python alum’s next project. Auster is also a screenwriter, having penned movies including Smoke, Lulu on the Bridge and The Center of the World.
Here’s the official synopsis of the 1995 book, which you can order by clicking here: Auster, the New York Times-bestselling author of “The New York Trilogy,” presents a dazzling, picaresque novel set in the late 1920s – the era of Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, and Al Capone. Walter Claireborne Rawley, renowned nationwide as “Walt the Wonder Boy,” is a Saint Louis orphan rescued from the streets by a mysterious Hungarian Jew, Master Yehudi, who teaches Walt to walk on air. Master Yehudi brings Walt into a Kansas circus troupe consisting of Mother Sioux and Aesop, a young black genius. The vaudeville act takes them across a vast and vibrant country, through mythic Americana where they meet and fall prey to sinners, thieves, and villains, from the Kansas Ku Klux Klan to the Chicago mob. Walt’s rise to fame and fortune mirrors America’s own coming of age, and his resilience, like that of the nation, is challenged over and over and over again.
Gilliam is currently without an American distributor for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which enjoyed a standing ovation at its Cannes premiere but lost Amazon Studios over continued legal issues. The film stars Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce, and has already played in theaters in France and Spain.
Fiennes will next be seen as Moriarty in the comedy Holmes and Watson opposite Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, and is currently filming Gavin Hood’s whistleblower drama Official Secrets.
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