Director Terry Gilliam, now in post-production on THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, Heath Ledger’s final film, was interviewed recently at the Ischia Film Festival. Gilliam had high praise for Ledger, calling him “a genius.” He also complimented the three actors–Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell–who stepped in to complete Ledger’s role in PARNASSUS after his untimely death last January:
TERRY GILLIAM: The great thing about it is that when Heath died, and we have a character that wasn’t finished in the movie, those three actors [Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell] came along and saved the day. And so the character is now basically four actors creating one character. And that’s . . . it’s very interesting, and maybe even more interesting than it would have been with one actor going all the way through. I’m still not the best judge, because I have in my head what the film was going to be with Heath all the way through, and now there’s a different film there. But all I know is, it’s very funny.
Gilliam sounded proud of his film and genuinely awed by the generosity of the actors who came forward to save the picture and ensure its completion. Despite their high profiles, Depp, Law, and Farrell took no compensation for their work; instead, they donated their salaries to Heath Ledger’s two-year-old daughter, Matilda:
TERRY GILLIAM: The three actors were totally heroic coming in. This doesn’t happen very often . . . where there’s a tragedy like this, and very famous, very successful actors suddenly say, “Okay, we’ll do whatever it takes to help.” They came; they did the work; they allowed the movie to be finished; they didn’t take money–the money goes to Heath’s daughter. That’s extraordinary! And wonderful . . . and when you’re part of that, you think, “Ah, this is maybe why I went into the movies, in the beginning. I thought it would be full of wonderful people. And in our case, we’ve got a movie full of wonderful people, who did extraordinary things to help.
Thanks to The Zone and FANtasticJD for the heads up; you can hear the full inteview HERE; click on the button that says “Interviews” in the upper right, and then select “Interview Terry Gilliam.”