If you were perusing the Variety.com website at just the right time yesterday, you may have noticed an obituary for filmmaker and Monty Python member Terry Gilliam. The article was promptly removed shortly thereafter, since the director is actually alive and well. The obituary was clearly pre-written by Variety writer Dave McNary, and published on accident, but the filmmaker took the whole ordeal in stride, posting the following statement on his Twitter and Facebook pages last night.

"I APOLOGIZE FOR BEING DEAD especially to those who have already bought tickets to the upcoming talks, but, Variety has announced my demise. Don't believe their retraction and apology!"
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Stuff.nz speculates that the article may have been published in response to a fake Facebook hoax that claimed Terry Gilliam, 74, had passed away. The filmmaker's statement on his own Facebook page included a photo that showed the director on his "death bed," with a mourning woman holding a sign that read, "He was only 30! Bad reviews from Variety AGED HIM!" After the report was pulled from the site, Variety posted the following apology on their Twitter page.

"CORRECTION: Variety incorrectly published an article stating that director Terry Gilliam passed away. We're deeply sorry for the mistake."

Terry Gilliam is getting ready to start production, once again, on his longtime passion project, Don Quixote. We reported last year that Jack O'Connell has signed on for the lead role of Toby, a jaded commercials director who arrives in Spain for his latest gig. The filmmaker is given a gypsy's student film, a lyrical re-working of Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra's original Don Quixote novel, sending Toby on a quest to find the village where he shot this film, as he gets in a series of adventures along the way.

The director has tried to make this particular film seven different times, most notably in 2000, when it was called The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Johnny Depp, who had starred in the filmmaker's 1998 cult classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas just two years earlier, was set to play an ad man named Toby Grisoni, who inexplicably gets transported back in time, where he becomes Don Quixote's companion, Sancho Panza. After being plagued with a number of difficulties, the production was shut down, with the troubled shoot chronicled in the 2003 documentary Lost in La Mancha.

Terry Gilliam most recently directed The Zero Theorem, which debuted last year, starring Christoph Waltz, Rupert Friend and Gwendoline Christie. Take a look at the filmmaker's response to his untimely "death" below, along with some assorted reactions from fans on Twitter. Would you have reacted in a similar fashion if your death was falsely reported, even if only for a brief amount of time?