In 2010, McGregor took over for Johnny Depp on Gilliam’s difficult epic, but the director was critical of the actor, saying, “What the fuck have you been doing all this time?”
Ewan McGregor has revealed what happened to the “Don Quixote” picture to which he was linked a decade ago.
Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” about an advertising executive who travels back in time to 17th-century Spain and meets the actual Quixote, was slated to replace Johnny Depp. The initial effort at the picture, starring Depp, was over-budget, and Gilliam expressed relief when it broke apart at the time. Now, McGregor tells GQ about how director Terry Gilliam approached him in 2010 to direct a 20-year-in-the-making script. (In the final 2018 picture, the role was played by Adam Driver.)
“[Terry Gilliam says, ‘What the fuck have you been doing all this time? You’ve been underplaying everything,’” McGregor recalled. “‘What happened to the guy in ‘Trainspotting’? What happened to that guy?!’”
This was after McGregor had acted in the “Star Wars” prequel films and had broken out of “Trainspotting” in 1996.
McGregor added, “It was quite rude. It’s rare that somebody challenges you. But it stuck with me.”
According to Empire magazine (via The Guardian), Gilliam sought out McGregor in 2010 to provide the actor with a different platform to exhibit his multi-faceted acting ability.
“There’s a lot of colors to Ewan that he’s not been showing recently and it’s time for him to show them again,” Gilliam said. “He’s got a great sense of humor and he’s a wonderful actor. He’s wonderfully boyish and can be charming — when he flashes a smile, everybody melts. He wields it like a nuclear bomb.”
Gilliam revealed that finance has once again collapsed just months after confirming McGregor’s casting. McGregor had left the project by 2012. The next year, he starred in “August: Osage County” and “Jack the Giant Slayer.”
Back when the film was finally released theatrically stateside in 2019, Gilliam exclusively told IndieWire that the film was worth the decades in the making. “We did something everybody said ‘don’t do,’” Gilliam said. “I didn’t take advice. I feel good when I don’t take advice… I don’t think of the film as taking 30 years to make. The film we made, we made in one year.”
Terry Gilliam was recently in the headlines as a result of an excerpt from director/actor Sarah Polley’s memoir, in which she revealed the dangerous working circumstances she encountered as a youngster on his film “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.”