Dr Parnassus lives! In Cannes, September 2009.
16 months ago I lamented, with the sad demise of Heath Ledger that Terry Gilliam’s movie “The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus” may also be heading for an early movie death. I’m very pleased to say that reports of the movies demise were grossly exaggerated.
Not only that, but Terry Gilliam has been able to fill Heath’s shoes with not just one fine actor, but three.
As with all of Terry Gilliam’s movies, the story of getting to the finished production is often as enthralling as the movie itself. Dr Parnassus was no exception.
Two things were going for Gilliam when he was encouraged by the crew to finish: a magic mirror and the friendship of three great actors. The magic mirror was present in the script and only needed three actors to fill Heath’s shoes showing different aspects of the character. The friends, Heath had those. Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell.
“It’s a hard thing to do, walk into a character and take over. But they did it,” Gilliam says.
I think it says something about the character of a person that after they’ve died and they can do nothing for themselves that there are those still willing to pick up their work and carry it to its end. Dr Parnassus has for me become a tribute to friendship and to a very dear friend.