Terry Gilliam walks, actually trots, through the white alleys of Monopoli. He hums as he walks: “I have two legs, from the hip to the ground / When they move they walk around / When I lift them they climb stairs / When I shave them they’re hairless Already.”
“It’s the most important, most recognizable song I’ve ever written,” he joked, “and I understand it now more than ever: almost 68 – year old man, I thank my legs every day. They haven’t betrayed me yet!”
Gilliam Away Not an “old man”, but a force of nature. Personally, he’s almost too much: sensitive, blunt, and irreverent by turns, endowed with a sharp wit and an irrepressible imagination. The only American member of the legendary British comedy troupe Monty Python, his film credits include Brazil, Time Bandit and Fisher King , to name a few, are Ora’s VIPs! [Now! ] festival. He took some time before showing his 1995 classic The Adventures of Baron Munchausen , explains to THR Roma why he sees society’s sense of humor through a whirlwind tour of his remarkable career—” The Seventh Most Important Significance” – Being threatened, and why Hollywood studios consider him a “terrorist”.
How do artists, especially irreverent ones like you, see the world today?
In ’68, the actual On the first [Monthy Python] show at ’83, it was an incredible time. I mean, we know it’s not going to happen again, the BBC is never going to give six guys [like us] the space and the freedom. Soon, all bright young men wanted to see Monty Python. We are rude, sarcastic and make fun of everything. I think we have five senses, the sixth is intuition and the seventh is humor. A sense of humor is the most important thing. You can lose your hearing, you can lose your sense of touch, but you should never lose your sense of humor. It is currently the most threatened.
I am very frustrated with the state of the world we live in. I don’t want to be a young person because it’s totally confusing. We want to make them feel comfortable and safe, lock them into their comfort zone, but that means not allowing them to grow, which means rejecting new ideas. We are ruled by fear and victim rhetoric .
There is no sense of community, everyone feels offended and a victim. What matters today are the selfish ideals held by many small communities that are increasingly fragmented and extreme. There is no longer the will to debate or the joy of having a different opinion. Paradoxically, the sense of community has been lost, and being truly queer and different becomes the original meaning of the word “queer”: it used to be about being weird, being eccentric, being about having fun. [Right now] everything is driven by hatred, fear and ignorance. Yep, that’s the heart of it. This is ignorance. Because if you only look at the opinion of one person, there can be no progress. There is no sense of reality. The only truth is your truth or my truth. What matters is my view of reality, and if you disagree, it’s not just that we disagree, you’re terrified of my view. They use this fucking word, phobia. Well, I have a phobia. I hate to hate. Fuck all these phobias.
Can we talk about what you’re doing now?
I wrote a movie called The Apocalypse Fair , subtitled: “Funny for all who like to be offended.” It addresses the theme I just mentioned. Disgusted with the present state of mankind, God has decided to wipe out his creatures forever. Paradoxically, Satan is the only one standing in his way. This story was an opportunity to laugh at everything I couldn’t stand, so much so that people who read the script told me, “If Hollywood reads it, you’ll never make a movie again.” But I’m an old man now, an Old white man, if the world sucks, it’s my kind’s fault. At this stage of my life, I don’t care about the consequences.
In a video interview with THR Roma, You told us about a script you wrote that never came out, The Defective Detective, locked in Pyra since Meng’s drawer . What is it about?
is about a middle-aged New York cop in existential crisis who finds himself in a kid’s fantasy world where the rules he knows , the hard and fast rules of the street, do not apply. He becomes cynical and violent, but neither his means nor his gun can slay dragons and dark knights, nor save damsels in distress. In order to stand up and win, the cop must accept a side of him that has been dormant for years: his fantasy world, his inner world. In the end, we discover that the child who constitutes the world in which he is imprisoned is none other than himself. A simple but beautiful story.
You also told us about Orson Welles, what do you have to do with him?
I adore Orson Welles. He was 24 years old when he made Citizen Kane . I’d say it’s almost unfortunate to have produced such a masterpiece so early in his career, to have peaked at such a young age! I admired him so much that I said to myself, “Someday I’ll surpass him in some way.” I never reached his level, but I did do what he didn’t: finish Don Quixote . It took me 68 years and I’m a patient person even if it doesn’t seem like it at first.
Have you seen him?
no way! I never want to meet my heroes. I’m afraid they will disappoint me. I prefer the idea that my heroes are abstract. Of all the Beatles, the one I never met was John Lennon, another hero of mine.
By comparison, George Harrison , As producer via Brian’s Handcrafted Filmmaking and Time Bandits, is a key person for you and Monty Python
that’s right. Of all my heroes, the only one I’ve come across is Clint Eastwood. I had lunch with him and it was well worth it. I don’t question his political views, that’s far from mine, but I think he’s a great artist, very smart. I appreciate the way he plays with the film system, making a film for them – a commercial film – and a film for himself. And it has to be said that his films for himself have always been successful.
What have you got to do with Hollywood and the film industry all these years?
has always been an ambivalent relationship. I became a bit of a terrorist. I never compromise. I always fight for my story. Because storytelling is what it’s all about, you leave the stories alone. But there’s always a moment at the end of every movie where executives who are basically panicked people get paid a fortune and supposedly know what they’re doing, and even if they don’t, they’re nervous . Always at the end, they say, “Oh, change this or cut this, blah, blah, blah, and it will work.” I always fight that. The only way I can win these arguments is by making sure the main cast is on my side. Because I have no power. The stars have power. That’s how I make films. The person paying the money must always trust that you know exactly what you’re doing, even if you don’t. It’s all about fiction, pretense. I’ll let you in on a secret: I seem to be happy and a bit of a clown. That’s just fiction. In fact, in real life, I’m a big jerk. I feel most sorry for my wife. I know how miserable it is for her to be with someone like me.