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Heath Ledger's final performance in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus


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#1 of 38 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx

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Posted March 10 2008 - 11:28 AM

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | 'Delight' over final Ledger film

Quote:
Director Terry Gilliam has said he is "delighted" Heath Ledger's final film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, will be released.


Filming was suspended when the star was found dead in January.
Jude Law, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell will now appear as Ledger's character, but scenes he had previously filmed will be included in the movie.

Gilliam said he was hoping "to touch people's hearts and souls as Heath was able to do" through the film.

'Blessing and support'

"I am grateful to Johnny, Colin and Jude for coming on board and to everyone else who has made it possible for us to finish the film," said Gilliam.

"I am delighted that Heath's brilliant performance can be shared with the world."

He added filming on the British-Canadian production had resumed in Vancouver "with the blessing and support of Heath Ledger's family".
It had been suggested that Ledger's role would be completed using CGI (computer generated imagery) special effects, which is what happened when Oliver Reed died during the making of Gladiator.


The film's producers said other allowances had been made.

"Since the format of the story allows for the preservation of his entire performance, at no point will Heath's work be modified or altered through the use of digital technology," they said.
"Each of the parts played by Johnny, Colin and Jude is representative of the many aspects of the character that Heath was playing."


Ledger died from an accidental overdose of six different types of prescription drugs in his New York apartment.

At the time, the film's makers described Ledger as "a great actor, a great friend and a great spirit" and said Gilliam and his producers would be "assessing how best to proceed".
It is thought the movie will be released early next year.


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#2 of 38 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted March 10 2008 - 02:47 PM

Novel way to complete the character.

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#3 of 38 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted March 11 2008 - 12:08 AM

This makes me very happy. I hope Gilliam can make it work. Although I'll be giving that Batman flick a pass (ain't my thing), I'll be seeing this in the cinema. Very cool.
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#4 of 38 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens

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Posted March 15 2008 - 09:56 AM

I was very happy to hear this news. Gilliam is a brilliant director who always seems to struggle to get his films made, and I know that it was Heath Ledger's role in the film that was "the name" that got funding for the film, so I was afraid that the film would end with Ledger's death. Fortunately, Gilliam has evidently managed to make the film work, and upped the star power in the process, so we will get to see another Gilliam film, and see Ledger's final work.
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#5 of 38 OFFLINE   Scott McGillivray

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Posted March 15 2008 - 02:50 PM

Great news around here (Vancouver) where it is shooting. I have a very small role in this film. It was so sad when Heath died. I had wardrobe the day before and talked to the 3rd AD the very morning he died before we knew. It was so surreal. I just picked up the script yesterday, so I will have to give it a read. It is a really thick script!
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#6 of 38 OFFLINE   Scott McGillivray

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Posted April 13 2008 - 06:55 PM

Well, I just got back from the wrap party. Sad that none of the big names showed up. However, they did show a bunch of the footage from what they shot in London. It looks really good (considering that it was just thrown together and most of the audio was not in it).

There was a nice applause when Heath Ledger first appeared on screen.

The scene I shot last week had Jude Law in it. It is one bizarre scene! I think this will be Terry's visually strangest movie yet! I dont want to give any spoilers, but I think this will be a very fun/interesting movie to see when it comes out.
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#7 of 38 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted April 13 2008 - 11:29 PM

Congrads for getting a part in a Terry Gilliam film. That's beyond awesome, no matter how small the part is. I'll have no choice but to look for you in this thing. Posted Image
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#8 of 38 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx

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Posted April 14 2008 - 12:23 AM

Wow Scott I am envious.

Thanks for sharing your story with us
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#9 of 38 OFFLINE   DavidPla

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Posted July 08 2008 - 08:42 AM

Does anyone know how much footage was completed WITH Heath Ledger? Was all the footage in the "reality" sequences with his character finished?

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#10 of 38 OFFLINE   Scott McGillivray

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Posted July 09 2008 - 06:17 AM

From what I know, all the "reality" stuff was done. They wrapped it up in England and then came over here to Vancouver for the "fantasy" portion. That was when Heath stopped over in New York to take it easy for a while. Sadly, we know the rest of that story.

At the wrap party, they showed quite a bit of footage featuring Heath that had been shot in England. Even in the raw format, it sure had a terrific look about it. Chris Plummer also really looked/acted great as Dr. P. Vern Troyer even had a good role as more of a dramatic character rather than just a sight gag as in Austin Powers movies.
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#11 of 38 OFFLINE   DavidPla

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Posted July 09 2008 - 12:33 PM

Thanks Scott for the info! Glad to hear the "reality" sequences were finished as at least we'll get to see Ledger open and finish the film.

#12 of 38 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted July 10 2008 - 12:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radioman970
This makes me very happy. I hope Gilliam can make it work. Although I'll be giving that Batman flick a pass (ain't my thing), I'll be seeing this in the cinema. Very cool.
Noooot! Heh heh! The hype has gotten me. I'll be seeing that thing. Posted Image

Anyway, glad to hear that too. Sounds like it was some kind of luck they got what they really needed for the film before that unfortunate turn of events with Ledger. Very cool! I just hope to heck my town gets that Gilliam film. I missed Tideland (still need to see it) because it didn't come here. Sure, Brothers Grimm did. Posted Image
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#13 of 38 OFFLINE   todd s

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Posted July 10 2008 - 07:03 AM

What is this movie about. Also, just curious. If Heath didn't go into the studio to dub his lines. Could they take his lines he spoke during the filming and use that?
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#14 of 38 OFFLINE   Scott McGillivray

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Posted July 10 2008 - 07:13 AM

The movie is about
a travelling band of performers. They travel in a HUGE wagon that can fold open into a stage. They do a mini-circus of sorts with the central figure being Dr. Parnassus who is billed as a sort of magician. From the footage I saw (I have the script but just never got around to reading it) the group is really not doing so well. They perform and people are just not impressed. The group is getting hungry and depressed. Along their travels, they resuce Heath Ledger's character who is hanging from a bridge. He evenutally joins their group as he is on the run from Russian mobsters. Eventually, a magic mirror allows Heath's character to jump into other realities. The twist is that when he jumps, he turns into famous actors (Jude Law, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrel). That change was made after his death. I think it works really well!


Not sure what you mean about dubbing his lines. Normally you want as little ADR as possible in a film. In this case, if a line is muddy, they will have to do their best to tweak it. If you meant something else, please explain.
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#15 of 38 OFFLINE   DavidPla

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Posted September 13 2008 - 10:53 AM



#16 of 38 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted September 13 2008 - 11:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidPla


Wow! Next year can't get here fast enough.

It's almost as if that death inspired Gilliam to make this as great as he could.
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#17 of 38 OFFLINE   Ray H

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Posted September 13 2008 - 12:16 PM

Wow. that got me pretty excited for the movie.

I really hope this movie ends up well, especially for Gilliam. He's the type of maverick filmmaker who's made great films and that you really want to root for, but his career has taken its toll due to it all. I really hope this can capture the brilliance and imagination from his earlier films.
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#18 of 38 OFFLINE   Ed Moroughan

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Posted September 14 2008 - 07:50 AM

A new Gilliam movie? Awesome, is it 2009 yet? Posted Image

#19 of 38 OFFLINE   DavidPla

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Posted March 12 2009 - 03:30 PM

Here's hoping the film finds a domestic distributor. I'm sure it will once the final film is screened in April.

Heath Ledger: Last film in limbo? | Movie Spotlight | News + Notes | Entertainment Weekly | 1

Quote:
Heath Ledger died before finishing the surreal 'Parnassus.' Three stars helped complete the movie. But who will release it?

When Heath Ledger's family stepped on stage to accept his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Dark Knight, the emotional outpouring from the audience at the Kodak Theatre seemed to bring closure to the story of Ledger's tragically curtailed career. But the story does not actually end there. There is one last Ledger film almost no one, including his closest friends, has seen, and which may never come to a theater near you. Like the Joker in the last act of The Dark Knight twisting upside down at the end of Batman's rope, the actor's final performance is hanging in midair.

Ledger was in the middle of filming on director Terry Gilliam's latest movie, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, when he died on Jan. 22, 2008. His sudden death threatened to derail the project, a surrealistic fantasy about a traveling theater troupe. But Gilliam pressed on, recruiting Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell to play different incarnations of Ledger's character, a charismatic con man named Tony. Now, in the wake of Ledger's Oscar win, interest in the film has spiked. Backstage at the ceremony, his sister, Kate, told reporters that the family had seen some footage and that "it's going to be amazing." But the fate of the $30 million production remains uncertain. Parnassus still has not landed a domestic distribution deal, fostering speculation that it may be too unusual to find a wide audience. (It does have an international distributor and is set to open in the U.K. in June.) "The script isn't a slam dunk," says one acquisitions executive. "Having Heath in it is appealing. But I'm waiting to see the movie." As it happens, the filmmakers won't screen the movie anyway at least not until April, when postproduction is complete. "The producers felt that it was better to wait for Terry's vision to be fully realized on screen so that the distributors can see exactly what they're acquiring," says film rep Dennis Davidson, via e-mail.

Speaking to EW late last year, Gilliam didn't sound at all worried about the future of Parnassus. A director who has long locked horns with Hollywood just three years ago he walked around New York with a sandwich board that read "Studioless Filmmaker...Will Direct for Food" he now finds himself in a pretty interesting spot. "I think people are going to be astonished when they see the film, and there will be a rush to want it," he said. "So I'm happy to wait. Nobody came forward at the right time and now it's going to cost them."

Gilliam's career has been so fraught that, depending on how you look at it, he is either the unluckiest man in Hollywood or one of its great survivors. The tales of his filmmaking travails are legendary: not just his epic battles with studios (see 1985's dystopian sci-fi opus Brazil), but also the ambitious projects he couldn't get off the ground (including Watchmen, which Gilliam tried to make not once, but twice) and the films that collapsed under the weight of almost biblical calamities (like The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a 2000 project with Depp that fell apart six days into shooting). Despite the success of films like Time Bandits, The Fisher King, and 12 Monkeys and the cult acclaim for his early work as a member of Monty Python Gilliam's reputation for attracting disaster is so well established, it even inspired a satirical story in The Onion: TERRY GILLIAM BARBECUE PLAGUED BY PRODUCTION DELAYS. When Ledger died, Parnassus, fairly or not, was seen by many as the latest example of the Gilliam Curse.

From the start, Ledger and Gilliam regarded each other as kindred spirits. The two first met when the director cast Ledger opposite Matt Damon in the 2005 film The Brothers Grimm. Struggling against Hollywood's efforts to brand him as a hunky leading man, Ledger was drawn to Gilliam's skewed creative vision. "Heath felt encouraged by Terry, and Terry found in Heath somebody else who was fighting the system," cinematographer Nicola Pecorini told EW in January. "Heath was Sancho Panza to Terry's Quixote." Following Grimm, the two discussed collaborating on other projects, including a documentary about gypsy music and an adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's fantasy novel Good Omens. In 2007, following the success of Brokeback Mountain, Ledger was in London directing an as-yet-unreleased video for Modest Mouse when he dropped by Gilliam's offices and saw some early storyboards for Parnassus. Though he'd previously been noncommittal about the project, he decided on the spot he wanted to be a part of it. "It was a lovely surprise," Gilliam said.

The Parnassus shoot took place during a period of turmoil in Ledger's personal life, as his relationship with actress Michelle Williams, with whom he had a 2-year-old daughter, Matilda, was falling apart. Though Ledger was plagued by stress and insomnia, the film provided a refuge. As Pecorini put it, "Parnassus helped him not become obsessive about what he was going through." Ledger threw himself with abandon into each day's work. "We would just sit back and say, 'Jesus, look at what he's doing!'" Gilliam said. "Normally I don't encourage much ad-libbing, but with Heath, I just let him run. He was coming up with lines that were astonishing bing, bang, bong! He was an extraordinary force. That's why when he suddenly turned up dead, nothing made sense."

When the news of Ledger's death broke, Gilliam who was in Vancouver, prepping for the next phase of the shoot initially assumed Parnassus would have to be shut down. "We were in deep s---," he said. "For me, it was like, 'Let's just close up shop here, because without Heath I don't want to continue.' He was so central. But everyone just kept beating me up, saying, 'No, you have to keep going for Heath.'" The notion arose of taking advantage of the film's already dreamlike nature and hiring a different actor to play another physical incarnation of Ledger's character. "Then we made the quantum leap: What if we get three actors to replace him?" Gilliam remembered. "Johnny was the first person I called. He said, 'Done. I'm there.' Same with Jude and Colin." Still, the decision to continue represented an enormous creative and financial gamble. "I had no confidence that this would work," Gilliam said. "It was just that I didn't know what else to do."

Until Parnassus lands a U.S. distribution deal, it's unclear what will become of Gilliam's effort to salvage Ledger's final performance. The film is rumored to be in the running for a slot at this year's Cannes Film Festival in May. One source close to Gilliam speculates that the director an American expatriate who has often found a welcoming audience for his work in Europe may be hoping that a buzz-filled Cannes debut will lead to a distribution deal and a domestic release in the fall.

If Parnassus proves difficult to sell, it may, in a way, be a fitting end to the career of an actor who thrived on risk. "It was in Heath's nature to push boundaries," Pecorini said. Gilliam has promised that whatever happens with its release, Parnassus will pack surprises, some of them potentially uncomfortable. "There's a prescience about the film that's quite interesting. There are lines you can't believe were written before Heath died." He paused and laughed darkly. "There are going to be a few gasps," he said. "I can guarantee gasps."


Uniting to Complete Ledger's Role

By Jeff Labrecque and Josh Rottenberg

After the actor's death, three stars stepped up to finish his part. They play various versions of a con man named Tony — and they reportedly all donated their wages to Ledger's daughter, Matilda.

JOHNNY DEPP
Depp , whose work Ledger admired, had collaborated with Gilliam before — on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and an aborted Don Quixote project.

JUDE LAW
Before Ledger was even attached to Parnassus, Law, a friend of Ledger's, had talked to Gilliam about possibly playing the role of Tony.

COLIN FARRELL
Farrell told an Australian newspaper last year that standing in for Ledger was "an incredibly painful honor.... It's about getting Heath's work out there."

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#20 of 38 OFFLINE   Bryan Tuck

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Posted August 10 2009 - 07:29 AM

International trailer is up:

and elsewhere on the Web.




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