Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Imaginarium Of Tom Waits - With Heath Ledger In Tow?

According to a Q&A in today's El Pais, Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is moving ahead... and he's cast Heath Ledger and Tom Waits.

Exciting? I'd say so. With an exploding cherry on top.

Here's the original question and original answer, in the original Spanish, and unaltered:

Q: Creo que Tideland es una de sus mejores películas. Eso sí me dejó el cuerpo algo revuelto y a la vez que con un extraño sentimiento de ternura. Me gustaría saber qué proyecto cinematográfico se encuentra barajando en este momento, gracias.

A: the imaginarium of the doctor parnassus. Con Heath Ledger y Tom Waits.

So, which character would Ledger be playing? I have the script (previously reviewed) and there's a couple of possibilities.

First up, there's Anton, though he's described as only being 18 or 19 years old. Here's his introduction:

PERCY, a dwarf, dressed as a medieval demon and rigged out as a one-man band plays a fanfare introducing a young man (ANTON, 18-19 years old) who emerges from the back of the stage dressed as Mercury/Hermes, the messenger of the gods, with wings on his helmet and sandals.

The other contender is The Hanged Man, a chap without a name who is soon given the moniker George St. George. This is the part I thought Hugh Grant would be up for - but, of course, I can see Hugh making a decent job of it. In his days as a Gilliam rep player Johnny Depp would most likely have been a shoo in.

Of the two, I can most easily imagine Gilliam shifting Anton's age along a little and giving Ledger that part. He's ideal, really, in all other respects.

And Tom Waits, if you hadn't guessed, would be taking the title role of Dr. Parnassus. Here's his introduction, which follows Anton's directly:

Ladies and Gentlemen... Step up! Step up!... I, Mercury, the messenger of the gods, invite you... tonight, for one night only... at this very venue... to enter the mind, the very great mind, of Doctor Parnassus!

PERCY does a roll on the drum as a curtain behind ANTON rises to reveal DOCTOR PARNASSUS dressed in sumptuous oriental robes apparently levitating several feet above the stage. (He’s sitting on a glass plinth). DOCTOR PARNASSUS is seemingly in a trance. A bronze tripod containing burning incense stands beside him.

Doctor Parnassus... as old as time... yes, ladies and gentlemen, more than a thousand years old ... he has the power to empower your mind. A secret learned in the mystic East, deep in the heart of a pharaoh’s tomb. That’s right, the Great Pyramid of Egypt, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Let Doctor Parnassus open your imagination. Let him guide and transport you to worlds and possibilities you never dreamt of... If you dare. Because... Beware... there are dangers. You will have to choose. Will your soul fly?... Or will it be dashed on the rocks of darkness? The choice is yours and yours alone. Transcend the heights on Beauty’s wing.

Good stuff, isn't it? The only questions now are where the money is going to come from and when shooting is going to start.

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