The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha was originally published in Spain in the early 1600s and is considered one of the founding works of modern Western literature. This makes it especially odd that there aren’t any noteworthy major motion picture adaptations of the property, though it isn’t for lack of interest. The most famous ongoing attempt comes courtesy of director Terry Gilliam (Brazil). His The Man Who Killed Don Quixote began production in 1998, only to stumble over a series of well documented false starts. The most recent setback occurred earlier this month when funding for the project fell through yet again. With a Quixote-esque level of dedication, Gilliam joked, “I will be dead before the film is.”
In 2010, Warner Brothers and producer Joel Silver (Sherlock Holmes) announced their intentions to launch a Don Quixote movie as a “Pirates of the Caribbean-style swashbuckling version of the story.” In 2012, Disney followed suit, with the announcement of an intended Johnny Depp produced iteration. No doubt this was a strategic movie against the WB, but it especially must have stung for Gilliam, as Depp was originally billed to star in his own version. None of these iterations ever saw the light of day.
All this is why it comes as a surprise today when THR reported that Disney once again announced its intention to create an adaptation of Don Quixote with “a tone the recalls the madcap and fantastical nature of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies.” There’s no word yet on whether or not Johnny Depp is still attached as a producer, but they have announced the involvement of screenwriter Billy Ray (The Hunger Games).
Considering the property seems cursed (or blessed, depending on your view of film adaptations) from ever seeing the light of day, it may not be wise to hold your breath waiting for this film to actually come to fruition. Ray will almost certainly scribe a more broadly approachable iteration of the story than the time-traveling craziness that Gilliam has been cooking up. However, Gilliam’s neverending investment still makes his version seem like the most likely to actually exist some day.
Which outcome are your bets on? Disney, Gilliam, or the option that nobody will ever adapt Don Quixote? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned to Screen Rant for updates on every iteration of Don Quixote as they hit.
Don Quixote is early in development and does not currently have a release date.