Whether he's outmaneuvering the cosmic pox on his films or simply panhandling for his next directing opportunity, Terry Gilliam is a man Hollywood can always count on to deliver his own special brand of crazy when it counts. But whereas we've generally been leery to attribute much more than pity to him over the years, for once we've got Gilliam's back in a scintillating new attack on Warner Bros.
"That's what Warner Brothers are saying, but they'll do anything to publicize their film," says Gilliam who was directing Ledger in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus in January only days before the Australian actor died at the age of 28 of an accidental prescription drug overdose.
"That's just what they do and you can't get upset because it's bull——. They're like a great white shark which devours whatever it can."
To be fair, it was Parnassus that coincidentally (or otherwise) launched its official Web site in the days after Ledger's death, when the film was in limbo with its fate yet to be determined. And Ledger is still set to appear in Gilliam's fantasy, their first collaboration following the poorly received The Brothers Grimm in 2005. Parnassus benefits as much from the Ledger hype as The Dark Knight, the majority of which — let's face it — owes to the actor OD-ing at 28 than Warners pimping out a legitimately grand film.
Still, there is a certain ghastliness to it all. We recall interfacing with Ledger around the time of Brokeback Mountain, his naturally squirmy, nail-biting press-day tics exacerbated by his unchecked loathing of The Oscar Question. But at least he could deflect it, which he did in a manner closer to self-defense than self-effacement. It came up again and again — he hated the race, the hype, the politicking, the earnestness, and mostly the shadow over his co-stars, Ang Lee and others. And that was at year's end, when the mention (and arguably even the award) made relative sense against what preceded it.
But it's July, people. We know another nomination must be be coming, but if these vultures can't let the guy rest in peace, at least let him work in peace. There's only so much hype to go around — he's still got to do press for Gilliam's movie, for Christ's sake.