How To Make A Movie When A Star Dies In Mid-production
At a news conference at the Cannes Film Festival following today's (Friday) screening of The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus , director Terry Gilliam and cast members were repeatedly questioned about how the death of co-star Heath Ledger affected the production of the film. Gilliam said that he originally felt that it would have to be canceled (as his earlier Don Quixote film had been following an injury to one of its stars). "I couldn't see how we could finish it without Heath because we were in the middle of production," Gilliam told reporters. "Fortunately, I was surrounded by really good people who insisted that I shouldn't be such a lazy bastard and I'd better go out and find a way of finishing the film for Heath. That's what we did." Gilliam eventually decided to use friends Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell to play Ledger's character -- something made possible because characters who enter a fantasy world through a magic mirror sometimes change their appearances. "Heath goes through it three times and that was it, we had the solution." Gilliam also disclosed that Depp, Law, and Farrell essentially worked for no pay; donating their fees to Ledger's daughter Matilda.