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13 Crazy Terry Gilliam Stories to celebrate the Time Bandits anniversary

13 Crazy Terry Gilliam Stories to celebrate the Time Bandits anniversary

13 Crazy Terry Gilliam Stories to celebrate the Time Bandits anniversary
July 11
09:14 2017

From being the only American in Monty Python to becoming the only director to, ummm, to take 17 years to film Don Quixote, Terry Gilliam has lived a unique life. For the anniversary of Time Bandits, I took a look at some of the most wacky and charming tales from Gilliam’s storied career.The Squishing of Shelley Duvall Time Bandits’ was considered Gilliam’s first hit film, at least as a solo director. It was also Shelley Duvall’s first role after her demanding performance in the Shining. Certainly, Duvall must have been anticipating a much less physically arduous shoot than her Kubrick-fueled nightmare, but things didn’t exactly go as planned. One scene involved actors leaping from a scaffold and landing next to Duvall and fellow thespian Michael Palin. Gilliam was adamant that the leapers take careful aim so as not to land on their fellow actors. To show what he meant, Gilliam climbed the scaffold, jumped off, and landed directly on Shelley Duvall. While this story seems humorous, it was anything but lighthearted to Duvall. She told Roger Ebert, “I could have been paralyzed. As it is, there’s just a pain that comes through my ears to my eye, then goes away.” This symptom, fortunately, faded after several weeks. I had the exact same thing happen to me while watching Shelley Duvall’s Popeye, but the pain faded within two hours and only returns when I think about Shelley Duvall’s Popeye. Taking George Harrison’s Money and Leaving Him Gently Weeping In the late 1970s, Gilliam was having an understandably tough time acquiring funding for a film about time-traveling robbers starring a child and a troupe of little people. Gilliam was a fledgling director yet to earn Hollywood cred, despite being almost a household name back in England. Luckily fellow Brit George Harrison had his own film production company. It was created to fund the Monty Python flick, Life of Brian. Still, Harrison didn’t exactly have the $5 million required sitting in his pocket. So the ex-Beatle took a big risk: Mortgaging the film company’s offices, in order to have the scrill to make Time Bandits. Such a great gesture requires a symbolic Thank You, and being polite Brits it was only natural that Harrison expected Gilliam to use some of his songs in the movie. In fact, Harrison went so far to write some new compositions, which his co-producer championed as the perfect soundtrack for the film. Gilliam disagreed, prompting a miffed Harrison to jab, “you remind me of John Lennon, you’re so difficult, so bolshie.” Gilliam agreed to run exactly one Harrison tune, but instead of being featured in a major dramatic scene, it would just be run over the end credits. In response, Harrison picked up a pen and wrote a biting series of lyrics about his true feelings on the situation: I’ve got my mind set on youI’ve got my mind set on youI’ve got my mind set on youI’ve got my mind set on you Or wait, that wasn’t about Gilliam. It was this song: Greedy feeling wheeling dealing Losing what you wonSee the dream come undoneStumble you may with the elementary Lucky you got so farAll you owe is apologies It’s no “Something” but in terms of “songs that George Harrison wrote about people who eventually hurt him,” it is definitely in the Top 20. Crazy Plastic Surgeon Based on Real LifeIn Gilliam’s dystopian masterpiece, Brazil, Jack Purvis plays a plastic surgeon whose tool of choice was acid. Sickeningly enough, this was based on an actual surgical experience which happened to Gilliam’s own dad.”In the late Seventies, my dad had been through a nightmarish experience when a patch of skin cancer was discovered on his ear,” explains Gilliam, “a highly recommended surgeon applied acid to it.” That reminds me of my surgeon (well maybe he’s not highly recommended, but Dr. Van Gogh is the only one who will accept my insurance.) The doctor then “put a compress over the top and advised him to go sit outside the park for an hour or two while the acid worked its magic” (honestly probably one of the least weird things ever seen by denizens of an urban public park) “by the time my dad came back into surgery, the very edge of his ear was still there, but the whole lobe had been eaten away.” Similarly, I had a time in grade school when my teacher told me coca cola makes your teeth fall out so I fell asleep with a mouth full of it as my science project. Results were inconclusive. Huge Man on Campus Gilliam grew up in Minnesota, and moved to Los Angeles when he was 12. There, in La La Land, he attended Birmingham High School. This Van Nuys school has had such distinguished alumni as Sally Field, Lisa Bonet, Jermaine Jackson, Michael Richards, and Sally “I went to freaking outer space” Ride. It was in high school where his unique predisposition for success fully began to manifest. A straight A student, Gilliam proved to be as popular as he was academically successful.

Source: 13 Crazy Terry Gilliam Stories to celebrate the Time Bandits anniversary

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

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