News Joana Ribeiro: I thought Don Quixote would never happen

Published: July 05, 2018| 03:21 PM

After “25 years in the making and unmaking,” boasts an opening of Terry Gilliam long-anticipated The Man Who Killed Don Quixoteabout to be shown at KVIFF – a doomed project hailing back to 1989, whose many incarnations inspired the documentary Lost in La Mancha.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote focuses on a director (Adam Driver) coming back to a Spanish village where he once shot a film about Don Quixote, only to discover the lives of the people involved were never the same – especially that of lovely Angelica (Joana Ribeiro), whom he once tried to turn into a star.

It’s impossible to talk about this film without mentioning how long it took to make it. How much did you know when you first signed on?

I didn’t know much. I knew Terry, of course, and I knew his work. I only became more aware of the “adventure” of making this film after I got the part. I was very happy, thinking I will get to work with Terry Gilliam and he is so incredible. And then I decided to watch Lost in La Mancha.

Oh no….

My reaction was, “Why did I do that?!” It started to look like some kind of a suicide mission. Now, I really think that this film was waiting for Jonathan Price and Adam Driver. But back then, after watching the documentary I just assumed it’s not going to happen.

I got the part in 2016, and then the production was shut down again. It seemed like I am going to be just another element in this never-ending story. Which was fine – after all I got to meet Terry.

In December, I got a call telling me it’s going to happen in March. I remember talking to Adam afterwards, saying, “Do you believe this film is actually going to screen?” He said, “Let’s just wait until the end credits and see what happens” [laughs].

What did you like about his films? They are famously odd.

That’s what I love the most – Terry is a cult director. I watched TidelandBrazilThe Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. I thought it was amazing how he could deal with Heath Ledger’s passing, because the first time I saw it I just assumed all these actors playing the same part is just a part of the story.

The thing with Terry is that it’s possible to talk to him for hours and hours about everything. I am Portuguese and he knows more about Portugal than I do.

Joana Ribeiro spoke with Marta Balaga about the character of Angelica, her surprising development, and how her story naturally became a metaphor for the way women are treated in Hollywood. Read all about it on page 1 of Wednesday’s Festival Daily.


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