When the late Heath Ledger died early last year, it was a tragedy felt around the world but especially for Terry Gilliam and the cast and crew of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the film that Ledger was making at the time of his death. The movie, which opens in theaters on December 25th, Christmas Day, is Ledger's last film and posed a difficult problem for director Gilliam. How to finish the film without his star, Ledger, who had only shot a little over half of the movie? Luckily for Gilliam, the plot of the film revolves around a paranormal mirror to an alternate-dimension and Ledger had shot all of his character's scenes in the real world before he passed, so recasting his role for the scenes that take place in the "mirror-world" would make sense story-wise. But it would take more than one person to replace the exceptional young actor ... it would take three, Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell to be exact. We recently had the chance to sit down with the film's director Terry Gilliam, who is also the man behind such great movies as 12 Monkeys, The Fisher King, Time Bandits and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, along with two of the stars of his new film, Lily Cole and Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery actor Verne Troyer to discuss the new movie, working with Heath Ledger and the devastating loss of the gifted actor mid-shoot. To watch our exclusive interview please click on the video clip below.
Set in the present day, director Terry Gilliam's fantastical morality tale follows the traveling show of the mysterious Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), a man who once won a bet with the Devil himself, and possesses the unique ability to guide the imagination of others. Many centuries ago, Dr. Parnassus won immortality in a bet that found the malevolent Mr. Nick (Tom Waits) coming up short. While few would be foolish enough to try their luck against the powers of darkness a second time, Dr. Parnassus did precisely that, this time trading his mortality for youth on the understanding that his firstborn would become the property of Mr. Nick when the child reaches his or her 16th birthday. Flash-forward to the present day, and Dr. Parnassus' daughter, Valentina (Lily Cole), is about to celebrate her sweet sixteen. Dr. Parnassus is desperate to save his little girl from her fiery fate, and when Mr. Nick arrives to collect, the good doctor presents the Prince of Darkness with a wager too enticing to refuse. Dr. Parnassus and Mr. Nick will each compete to seduce five souls, with possession of Valentina going to whoever manages to complete the task first. As the competition begins to heat up, Dr. Parnassus promises his daughter's hand in marriage to any man who can help him successfully navigate the surreal obstacle course that lies ahead and finally help him undue the many mistakes of his past. Starring Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Verne Troyer, Andrew Garfield, Lily Cole and featuring Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. Directed by Terry Gilliam, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus opens in theaters on Christmas Day, December 25th.