Tag Archives: Terry Gilliam

Pythonic Paragraphs

Been a while since I checked in with any Python news (or any 
news at all, for that matter).
Unfortunately, two of the three items today are sad ones.
Most folks have probably heard of the death of Kenny Baker,
best known to most as R2D2, but better known to Terry Gilliam fans as
Fidgit of Time Bandits. Here's a little more information
courtesy of the Monty Python web site, as well as a tribute by
Terry G and Michael Palin:http://www.montypython.com/news_kennybaker/373
And Flying Circus fans hold Fred Tomlinson near and dear to
their hearts. The leader of the Fred Tomlinson Singers passed
away in July, with more information here:
I don't think I ever met him (although we were apparently
at some of the same parties); but if his singers did nothing
more than back up the Pythons on Lumberjack Song and Spam (and
they did plenty more than that), I would owe him a huge debt
of gratitude.
Finally, some very good news indeed. My old boss and dear
pal John Cleese is receiving the Rose d'Or Lifetime
Achievement Award in Berlin in September for a lifetime in
entertainment. Well deserved and congratulations John; more
information is here:  
Glad I could end with a happy story!
Python stamp

Gilliamesque Regards

I don’t think I’ve written anything about Terry Gilliam’s new autobiography, Gilliamesque (which @johncleese was kind enough to buy for me a couple of weeks ago), but I can’t think of a better day to mention it. First of all, happy birthday Terry! Secondly, this is a pretty amazing book, down to the art directed scrawling on the borders of the pages. I always thought I knew a lot about Terry’s life, but I was amazed at the Zelig-like events of his youth even before he left for England. And did you know that Terry is the only one of the Pythons who ever had acting lessons? Gilliamesque

He’s managed to cram a lot into this volume, but it could have been twice as long and I would have come up begging for more. So on this @terrygilliam birthday, buy yourself a present. If you’re at all a Gilliam fan, or a @montypython fan, you’ll love Gilliamesque.

#montypython #johncleese #terrygilliam

The Gilliam Theorem

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here and it’s worth the wait

Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem is finally opening in the U.S. this weekend. This may well be Terry’s most polarizing movie, and that’s saying something! Some people love it, some people can’t stand it, but if it’s Terry, it’s worth seeing. You can find out a little more about it here and watch the trailer as well.
I’ll be seeing it myself this weekend, and I recommend that you do the same. You may have to look around a little if you don’t live in a larger city, as the distributors are a little uneasy about movies that actually make you think. But Time magazine calls it “a spectacle that demands to be cherished.” So find it and cherish it, already!

The Last of the Last Night of Monty Python

 The scene after the show ended on the Last Night of Monty Python was–well, it was chaotic in a good way, but chaotic nevertheless.

My son and I made our way backstage very slowly, weaving through the crowd and making our way through the hallways. Camera crews were everywhere, blocking any convenient access, so we made our way back into the Green Room. It was packed with people I didn’t know, many of them apparently from the same group that was there for the live TV pre-show broadcasts, and a small band was setting up. They began playing very loudly in the rather small room, and I quickly realized that there was no way that John Cleese would ever, ever show up in this room. 
We waited a few more minutes, during which time I saw Eric Idle enter and wade through the crowd. The crowd showed no sign of letting up, so we decided to take our chances in the hallways. 
There were apparently several levels of backstage passes. We wore VIP passes, which were apparently second-highest only to the coveted AAA (all-access area). But it was difficult to discern what they actually meant. We would walk down one hallway and be turned away, and be welcomed when we came back two minutes later. We tried to enter what was apparently a small pub inside the larger pub in search of John Cleese, but were told it was over capacity and we would have to wait until some people left. So, we walked down to the Family Hospitality Suite, where Terry Jones was greeting everyone (and, appropriately, his family was in attendance; and I caught up with his son Bill).
TJ Bill HJ
We had drinks and visited, meeting new friends and old. The crowd didn’t seem to dissipate, so we walked down to the pub-within-a-pub to say hello to John. He had apparently left, but the Gilliam family was well-represented, and I walked past Terry to say hello to Prof. Stephen Hawking. I introduced myself to him and explained my Python connection to him and his assistants. Then, I said hello to Maggie Gilliam, who was astonished at the size of my now-19-year-old son, and I re-met their son Harry, who was just as tall as my son. As Eric Idle told me, “You’ve got to stop feeding him!”
I had a chance to catch up with the always delightful John Goldstone in the hallway, and he mentioned that the Pythons had all been called away for a final round of photos. It was getting late, and it was perilously close to the times for the last trains, so we reluctantly said goodnight and headed out. As we were walking around the darkened O2, heading for the exits, we heard some talking behind a partition that was now blocking the huge dead parrot from the public areas. I knew those voices, so we walked around in time to see the Pythons leaving, their final photo obligation finished. John called out to me and we all had a few minutes together before we had to leave. We missed the last trains of the Last Night of Monty Python, of course and had to pile into the buses, but it was worth it. 



Python Predictions

Gilliam's Goodie Bag...

Every time I’ve seen Terry G perform “I’ve Got Two Legs” (City Center, Hollywood Bowl), he increases his altitude. But it looks like the O2 is going to top them all… BTW, any guesses what’s in the backpack (frontpack) around his waist? If he’s running true to form, it’ll be something disgusting.

What’s going to be in the show? What won’t be? Here are a few of my predictions…

Sketches to look for in the show:

I’ve Got Two Legs: This Terry Gilliam song has, I believe, been performed in the Drury Lane, City Center, and Hollywood Bowl shows, with Terry being hoisted up on a wire. See photo.

Spanish Inquisition: this is one of the classic sketches that I don’t think has been performed live in a Python show before. It’s complicated by the fact that Graham isn’t here to note that there’s trouble at the mill, but someone else could play this somewhat smaller role, or Graham could do it on video.

LLamas: This is a particularly silly thing that has been in virtually all the stage shows, for no particular reason. Why should this one be any different?

What sketches won’t be in the show:

The Most Awful Family in Britain/Church Police: this was one that they used to love to close the show with; it was a great ensemble piece, allowed them to mug in the extreme, and allowed Terry Gilliam to load up on “More beans.” I suspect the lack of Graham was a factor in choosing to leave this out.

Most of the cast scenes that involve Graham. Unless, of course, they can be displayed on video. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Colin “Bomber” Harris wrestling scene, as it’s a stand-alone.

What sketches will be performed very differently:

Silly Walks: It’s too iconic to leave out, but John won’t want to perform this with his bionic hip. So, look for a singing and dancing version.

Dead Parrot: Again, it’s too iconic to leave out, but well-worn territory. I suspect a production number here…


The Graham and Terry Show

32 years ago this week Terry Gilliam and Graham Chapman appeared on Late Night with David Letterman for the premiere of the film of Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl.


And now, just 32 years later, another live Python performance! #pythonspamclub #montypythonlive

Brazil from Gilliam to Palin…

When Michael Palin shot Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil,” he had never been to South America–not that “Brazil” had anything to do with South America, mind you. But many years later, after he had been poking around just about every other corner of the world, Michael decided to visit for himself and make it the focus of his most recent travel series. It originally aired on BBC One in late 2012 and, surprisingly, hasn’t been officially presented in America yet. But that’s about to change. The four-part series is set to debut in Chicago–and probably a lot of other places–on Monday June 9. Brazil is going to be much in the public eye because of the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, so this is a chance to experience the world’s fifth-largest country. The attached video was apparently shot at a book festival appearance. Enjoy.

Bob Hoskins R.I.P….

Like many others, I was very sad to hear about the passing of Bob Hoskins, who will forever be known for his work in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

But he was so excellent in so many other films, from great British movies like The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa (for which he was nominated for an Oscar) to Hollywood roles in Mermaids, Hook, and Nixon.

I don’t have any stories about him. I only met him once. I was visiting Terry Jones, who was supervising the recording of the audiobook version of his FAIRY TALES book many years ago. Terry had recruited Bob Hoskins to read one of them. At the time, he had recently finished The Long Good Friday, but he hadn’t achieved the level of fame that he later would. It was a pleasure to listen to that familiar Hoskins voice in the recording studio, and it was an even greater pleasure to meet him afterward and realize what a genuinely nice guy he was.

Terry Gilliam was smart enough to recruit Bob Hoskins for this memorable role in his memorable Brazil. Enjoy. And rest in peace, Bob Hoskins.