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If Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas is the cult novel to end them all, then only a maverick visionary like TERRY GILLIAM could do it justice on screen.

Words: Rodger Evans

It was gon/o versus (iod/illa at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. when the director of Fear And Lou/hing In l.u.v \ri'gus‘ gave the leviathan‘s tail a tweak. ‘A giant lizard isn’t interesting.‘ Terry Gilliam opined. ‘A giant lizard that reads Dostoevsky is interesting.‘

In [Edinburgh the morning after the British premiere of his adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s psychedelic opus. (iilliam displays a widescreen .~ smile and monster laugh -- even though in his film there are a few reptiles who don‘t appear interested in Russian literature.

‘.\'o.' he cackles. ‘but at least they fuck! What I don't like about (I‘m/:i/lu is that it‘s about giving people the same thing again and again because they feel comfortable with it. I don‘t necessarily want people to come out of my film feeling comfortable. When we were filming. we knew we were going to get a lot of shit.‘

(‘ritics in the States who took offence were presumably not familiar with the book: a walk on the

dark side of the American Dream.

‘lt's an enema for the 20th century.‘ says the American cartoonist who blew a raspberry at British

life via Monty Python. and has since created films of

the calibre of Brazil and Twelve Monkeys. 'liverybody is bullshitting and you want to cut through some of it some critics believe civilisation is really going to collapse if people start saying what they think. They didn't understand the anger and despair and comedy of the book.‘

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Terry Gilliam: big game Hunter

Gilliam inherited the project after original director. Alex Cox. was sacked following an alleged fall out with Thompson. All the blood-letting had been and gone by the time Gilliam came on—board. and fortunately he and lead actor Johnny Depp got on with the author like a house on fire. Quite literally. one guesses. given HST’s well known penchant for pyrotechnics.

‘The option on the book ran out in the middle of

the pre-production.‘ Gilliams remembers. “and Hunter said. “If you guys fuck around. it's over: but here’s the option for another month whilst you try to get the money". It was utter madness. but it got us into the state you needed to do the film. We didn't need drugs.‘

Such was their rapport with Thompson that the reclusive writer agreed to be in the film. albeit under duress. Gilliam explains.

‘lt had been a long day. and Hunter decided he didn‘t want to do it. So I picked the prettiest extra to make him feel comfortable. only be was so busy talking to the girl. he didn‘t notice we were filming. By the third take. Johnny had to grab him to get his attention.‘

Depp. who plays Raoul Duke. 'l‘hompson‘s alter ego. has described Fear And Loathing as the most creative and organic film he's worked on.

"This was the most enjoyable time I've had since working with Python.‘ says (iilliam. ‘Johnny is so funny and inventive. We‘d come in with an idea and he'd come up with a better one. Johnny. as a technical actor. is extraordinary. There‘s nobody better.~

It has been said that all (iilliam‘s films are about dreamers. He agrees.

‘lt‘s trying to invent another world or open people‘s eyes to what the world really is. Watching The Fisher King with a New York audience was fantastic because suddenly there’s a city they‘ve never seen before. And dreams. to me. hint at other worlds we just don't notice.‘

Worlds. presumably. where monsters carry library books and God/.illa resigns his leathery ass to a kicking.


General release from Fri 13 Nov. See review.

Rough cuts

The juicy bit from the editing room floor

TEN BUDDING SCREENWRITERS will receive £1000 cash and an invaluable opportunity to develop their scripts with industry professionals as part of a new competition. ’First Draft' is backed by Scottish Screen and DNA Films, the lottery film franchise company set up by two top British producers Trainspotting’s Andrew Macdonald and Duncan Kenworthy of Four Weddings And A Funeral fame.

Writers are being asked to submit a four-page treatment and a sample scene before the 14 December deadline. The ten ‘winners' will then be assigned a script editor, who will advise on the technical and structural aspects of writing a screenplay. One script will be chosen for a Script Factory reading at the 1999 Edinburgh International Film Festival, and DNA Films have a first- look option to put any selected project into production.

The aim is not, however, to guarantee that a movie will be made from any submitted script, but to invest in the writing talent that is out there. Further details and application forms are available from ’First Draft', Scottish Screen, 74 Victoria Crescent Road, Glasgow, 612 9N].

RENOWNED BELGIAN DIRECTOR Chantal Akerman comes to Glasgow on Fri 13 Nov to discuss her work after a screening of her 1982 film Toute Une Nuit at the GFT. Fans can also catch Golden Eighties (Mon 9 Nov) and the classic Je Tu II Elle (Thu 19 Nov).

GLASGOW ACTOR DAVID McKAY, seen this fortnight in fine form in My Name Is Joe, completes a double later in November with the release of Les Miserables, in which he stars with Liam Neeson and Claire Danes.

5 The Rab C. Nesbitt regular has most

of his scenes playing an informer alongside Shine’s Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush (who, The List is told got his Equity Card doing pantomime in lnverness honest).

Trainspotting's Andrew Macdonald: drawing up a First Draft