Screen Talk: Gilliam tilts at windmills again

One project certainly getting everyone geed up is the prospect of Terry Gilliam resurrecting his ambitions to make a movie based on Cervantes's "Don Quixote". Gilliam has hooked up with Oscar-winning British producer Jeremy Thomas. Screenwriter Tony Grisoni's script revolves around a film-maker who is charmed into Quixote's eternal quest for his lady-love, becoming an unwitting Sancho Panza. The move is the latest twist in a movie-making saga almost as epic as Cervantes' 17th-Century classic. Nine years ago, the original shoot suffered a series of setbacks captured in the documentary "Lost In La Mancha", which went on to became a cult hit in its own right.

Worth a punt

Hollywood likes to take risks, especially if its other people's cash bankrolling the punt. But this year, the US contingent is exercising more caution than lust despite scripts complete with directorial talent and acting chops lined up waved under their noses. One that got chins wagging is Lynne Ramsay's upcoming big-screen adaptation of 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'. The Oscar-winning Tilda Swinton (above) is inked in to play the lead in Ramsay's script based on Lionel Shriver's novel of the same name. The movie is being produced by Jennifer Fox, whose credits include 'Michael Clayton', the film in which Swinton earned an Oscar.

Great prospect?

Ben Kingsley and Hilary Duff are two names touted to investors as attached to star in 'A Great Education'. The movie is paraded as having prospects of putting together a tapestry of funders in Cannes. It will mark Chris Keyser's directorial debut from his own script, which centres on a young man accepted to Harvard on a scholarship who joins an elite singing group, The Krokodiloes. Captivated by their fast-moving social whirl, he falls for society girl Liza (Duff) and his studies suffer despite warnings from his professor (Kingsley). A Harvard grad himself, Keyser is known for the TV series 'Party Of Five'.

Party scene is starting to look up

Frugality is not a word normally associated with Hollywood or the Festival de Cannes, but this year, going in, it was meant to be. All the talk ahead of the French Riviera shindig was off cutbacks, cost-cutting and parsimony. And with the lack of major Hollywood studio presence in this year's official selection, it has certainly felt quieter and lower-key than past years. But this means that the studio reps lucky enough to get their paymasters to cough up for room and board here have been treated to a feast of auteur pictures and a slew of hot prospects to mull. And at least Disney threw a big party and gave the snooty Cannes crowd a smile with its 3D animated fairytale "Up".

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