IMAGINARIUM of Dr PARNASSUS panel with director Terry Gilliam

I could hear everyone sitting within earshot asking... "So what's next?" Who could hold their own after the visual barrage we have taken for the past several hours?

Well, for those unfamiliar with the name, after a video montage introducing director Terry Gilliam, people realized they were definitely familiar with his work! There were eruptions of hoots and hollers for clips of Gilliam's films like Fear And Loathing, Twelve Monkeys, Brothers Grimm and several others.


This was Gilliam's first appearance at Comic-Con. And there's no better way to be welcomed, than receiving an award! Gilliam was presented with an "Ink and Pen" trophy, for "outstanding work in film".

But Gilliam wasn't there just to have his butt kissed. He was there to promote his latest film The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. Gilliam introduced the exclusive footage by saying:

Movies show you all the best parts in the trailers. So by the time you see it in theaters, you've already seen all the best parts. We want you to get your money's worth when you see it in theaters. So we're only gonna show you the boring stuff today.

I don't think that's what people were expecting to hear, coming down from the high of James Cameron's Avatar footage. This was a mere tease. There were some snoozers, but there was definitely enough of Gilliams rich visual style to be seen!

Gilliam wrote and Directed Imaginarium. He opened up about just how difficult it was to get funding for the movie, even with such a rising star attached:

Even with a great script, that came with beautiful artwork and Heath's name attached, we couldn't  get anyone to give us money for the film. And this was right after Brokeback Mountain! I would tell the studios, 'Come summer 2008, the Dark Knight is gonna come out, and heath is gonna become the biggest star out there.' They had no idea of what was to come.

Imaginarium gained most of it's publicity due to Ledger's untimely death in 2008, right the middle of production. Gilliam continued, speaking only the highest of praises for Ledger:

Heath seemed one or two hundred years old. He was wise beyond his years. He was getting better with each movie. Learning from every experience. He was on his way to becoming this generation's greatest actor... as well as a couple of other generation's!


Heath plays Tony. The host of Parnassus' traveling theater. Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Ferrel would go on to fill Ledger's role. Donating their wages to Heath's daughter. The change in appearance is explained, as whenever Tony enters the Imaginarium, he is transformed, and looks slightly different. Gilliam continued:

That's why it was so important to us to complete the film. So the world can see Heath's final performance. But even though we are watching this to see Heath, this is Parnassus' movie.

Gilliam introduced the first official trailer as he nervously rolled up several foil balls made from his leftover Hershey Kiss wrappers. This is what is established in the trailer:

Parnassus, played by Christopher Plummer, is a wise monk, who ages ago, is visited by a very special man. That man is the devil, played by Tom Waits(so apparently the devil dresses like Waits usually does), who makes a bet with him. Parnassus is granted eternal youth(he's already old when he makes this deal, so more like eternal old) in the wager, but (I'm guessing, they didn't exactly specify) if he loses the bet, when/if he has a daughter in the future, on her 16th birthday, she becomes property of the devil. So thousands of years later, Parassus does have a daughter(played by Lily Cole) who is days away from turning sixteen.

Like Giliam promised, the footage did  a great job of not giving away too much. But it was plenty to wet our appetite.

So what's next for Gilliam?

Well, I'm trying to get the rights back to Don Kichote.

The crowd goes nuts for the project Gilliam had on the shelves for several years before, and evetually lost the rights to!

I put off reading the script for so long, because the script we had was perfect. I finally went back and read it. We rewrote the script... it definitely wasn't perfect.

...Gilliam chuckled. Even amidst some ridiculous audience questions, which he handled like a pro, Gilliam cracked jokes, and seemed like he was having a blast. Verne troyer was also on the panel, who was excited for audiences to see his more dramatic acting. Hopefully this is just the first of Gilliam's appearances at Comic-Con.

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