12 Monkeys director Terry Gilliam making 1st sci-fi movie in 18 years

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

It's been 18 long years since director Terry Gilliam last explored the sci-fi realm, but if all goes well, he'll be blowing our minds with a new genre outing very soon.

People throw the term "visionary director" around a lot, but Terry Gilliam truly fits the bill. The former Monty Python animator's resume includes some of the most unique movies of the past four decades, including two modern sci-fi classics, 1985's Brazil and 1995's 12 Monkeys.

In the 17 years since 12 Monkeys, Gilliam has made hard-to-categorize pictures like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as well as more fantasy-themed efforts like The Brothers Grimm and The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, and he's famous for having lots of projects that never get off the ground for one reason or another (like his The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, pictured above, which filmed for two days before being shelved).

One of those, The Zero Theorem, is a sci-fi project that has been kicking around since at least 2009, and according to Slashfilm, it looks like this will be Gilliam's next movie. Attached to star as main character Qohen Leth is Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds and The Green Hornet fame.

The plot is supposed to delve into the existence of meaning in life, and the description sounds pretty out there. Check it out:

Living in an Orwellian corporate world where "mancams" serve as the eyes of a shadowy figure known only as Management, Leth (Waltz) works on a solution to the strange theorem while living as a virtual cloistered monk in his home--the shattered interior of a fire-damaged chapel. His isolation and work are interrupted now and then by surprise visits from Bainsley, a flamboyantly lusty love interest who tempts him with "tantric biotelemetric interfacing" (virtual sex) and Bob. Latter is the rebellious whiz-kid teenage son of Management who, with a combination of insult-comedy and an evolving true friendship, spurs on Qohen's efforts at solving the theorem...Bob creates a virtual reality "inner-space" suit that will carry Qohen on an inward voyage, a close encounter with the hidden dimensions and truth of his own soul, wherein lie the answers both he and Management are seeking. The suit and supporting computer technology will perform an inventory of Qohen's soul, either proving or disproving the Zero Theorem.

WTF? Sounds pretty trippy to us. Slashfilm had a look at the script three years ago and said it features elements like virtual psychiatrists, cyber-suits worn for journeys into the soul, clones and the all-seeing Management, which recalls the totalitarian government of Brazil.

Now, as we mentioned, Gilliam often has bad luck with getting his movies financed and launched properly, so keep that in mind. But preproduction has already started in Romania, and shooting is supposed to begin on Oct. 22.

Are you thrilled by the idea of Terry Gilliam doing a new sci-fi movie? How does The Zero Theorem sound to you?

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