rtsp://audio.npr.org/fa/20030130.fa.01.smil Terry Gilliam was interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air about the new film Lost in La Mancha, a documentary about the making - and unmaking - of Gilliam's film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. It's a good movie, one of the best I saw last year (at a film festival) and it's a good interview. This part of it caught my ear though. About 24 minutes in, Gilliam is talking about the possibility of him directing the Harry Potter movies (Rowling wanted him to do it). He really wanted it too. From the interview: Barbara Bograve (sp?) (in for Terry Gross): After the La Mancha debacle, you auditioned to direct J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter film, that's one of the things you did in the wake of the Don Quixote mess, for Warner Brothers. How does a director's audition work, what's the protocol? Terry Gilliam: It wasn't actually that I auditioned. What happened was, that it turned out, J.K. Rowling and the producer wanted me to direct it. The likelihood of me directing was very slim, I think nonexistent, and I have a feeling that Warner Brothers brought me out to Hollywood just to show them that they were doing their due diligence and giving everybody a fair chance. And it was a very interesting experience because I know that when I went into the meeting that the majority of people were against me and by the end of the meeting I'd actually won over quite a few people that were against me, and I was so angry with myself for getting excited about the project, knowing that I would never get it. Barbara Bograve: For caring. Terry Gilliam: I ended up driving around for hours later, just kicking myself. For a moment, I allowed myself to really fall into that world and begin to imagine it and think that yeah, I could do this. And that kind of feeling, when you're not ever going to get the job, when you know that, is very irritating, to say the least. And on it went. And so the film was made as it was, and it was a huge success, and they obviously made the right choice in director. Barbara Bograve: What do you think of the film? Terry Gilliam: Crap. Barbara Bograve: Really? Terry Gilliam: I think the film is very badly directed. I think it's uninspired, unfortunately, to be quite honest about it. I think the first Harry Potter just was very, very disappointing. It was pedestrian, there was no real magic in it, it was by the numbers, and Lord of the Rings is a wonderful film in comparison. That's what I think. The box office doesn't agree with me. I don't know. Barbara Bograve: What do you think the distinction is though, in the way that they create these visions. Because I'm thinking that Lord of...they're two very different styles, and Lord of the Rings seems to have more of a dark and yet childlike imagination to it. Terry Gilliam: I'm totally impressed with Peter Jackson. I think he actually believes that world, I think he's a very good director, let's begin with that, he's an excellent director. He threw himself so passionately into that world, he understands it, he understands magic, heroism, epic...the whole thing, I just feel that it's in his bones and so it spews out onto the screen and is totally believable. The film was, whatever, 3 hours long, that first one, and I sat there and I was just transported into this other world. I never felt that for one moment with Harry Potter, I thought it was sort of by-the-numbers, there was some technically brilliant stuff in it but there's no magic, no real real immersion into that world. (interview continues) ========== As a huge fan of Gilliam and LOTR, I'm thrilled to hear that Gilliam liked LOTR. I liked Potter, but feel the same way he does, that it has no magic. I don't feel it was crap, but wish that it had been better.