FEATURE 12 MONKEYS
M’sibn of the future.
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e is still remembered as one of the
Monty Python team in Britain. but
to a handful of Hollywood studios.
Terry Gilliam is a different breed of
snake. When Universal Pictures
changed the bleak Orwellian ending of Brazil. the animator-turned-director vented his anger in full-page newspaper adverts. He followed that by losing tens of millions of dollars with the flamboyant fantasy The Adventures Of Baron Mmzchausen. Thankfully, 1991’s The Fisher King was a surprise hit and Gilliam avoided being branded the black sheep of filmmaking.
His latest oddity. the time-travel conspiracy thriller [2 Monkeys. starring Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis, is his second consecutive success, although it must have looked like an unlikely prospect on paper. Based on Chris Marker‘s little seen. 25-minute art movie La .letée. the script takes complicated twists and turns as it whisks convict James Cole through time in search of the anarchist group
‘Being cursed with a cult film is the worst thing you can do to somebody. It just means you don’t make any money
and nobody sees it.’
responsible for unleashing a virus that has devastated humanity. Not your average happy- ever-after Hollywood stuff. particularly as much of the action takes place in psychiatric hospitals. prison cells and ruined futuristic landscapes. Perhaps the best Gilliam could have hoped for was another cult success.
‘Being cursed with a cult film is the worst thing you can do to somebody.‘ he laughs. ‘It just means you don’t make any money and nobody sees it. I thought that with Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. one or two people would come on the opening day. My fear was that they’d come with the wrong expectations, see this thing. say “Fuck that" and disappear.‘
In America. the audiences have kept coming. Clever casting is surely at the core of 12 Monkeys's US box office windfall, particularly as Pitt is the chilli-hot ﬂavour of the month. He plays a fellow mental patient when Willis’s ramblings about time travel cause him to be diagnosed as a schizophrenic. The actor llies
Brad Pitt: tlles around the screen In bursts of pent-up energy
10 The List 19 Apr-2 May I996