Twelve Monkeys: Terry Gilliam Biography

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(Source: The American Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, NY)

1940 Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 22nd.

1951 Goes west to Los Angeles. Finds no Indians.

1958-62 Attends Occidental College, Los Angeles. Edits college humor magazine. Eventually majors and graduates in Political Science.

1962-63 In search of the Big Time, moves to New York. Becomes Associate Editor of Help! Magazine, brainchild of Mad Magazine's originator, Harvey Kurtzman. Also does freelance illustrating for a variety of punlications. Decides film schools are a waste of time.

1965-66 Lost somewhere in Europe.

1966 Back in Los Angeles, fails as a Freelance illustrator. Tries advertising as copy writer and art director. Gets bored.

1967 Moves to London, England. Does freelance illustration for "Sunday Times," "Nova," "Queen," etc. Pretentiously becomes the artistic director of the "Londoner" magazine. Magazine soon ceases publication.

1968 Sells two short sketches to "Do Not Adjust Your Set." Is ignored by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. Befrienderd by Eric Idle, buys first round of drinks (the last time he did. You thought Jack Benny was tight, eh? J C). Becomes a resident cartoonist on "We Have Ways of Making You Laugh" series. Does first animated cartoon to help the show out of a nasty spot. Strangely enough, is asked to do a second animation. Does full-color animation sections on "Marty" (BBC-2 series) Makes three animated fiims for second series of "Do Not Adjust Your Set".

1969 Monty Python begins. Doesn't think it will be successful.

197O Does animation title sequence for "Cry of the Banshee." Film a dud. Pyton continues with 2nd series.

1971 Twenty-five minutes of animated sequences for "The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine." "And Now For Something Different" - first Monty Python Film made in London.

1972 Title sequence for "William," a CBS special on Bill Shakespeare. Goes commercial with an animated campaign for the British Gas Board entitled "The Great Gas Gala." Python Canadian Stage Tour. 3rd series of "Flying Circus."

1973 Python UK Stage Tour, otherwise no memories of this year.

1974 Python Stage Show at City Center, New York. Co-directs "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Decides film making is slightly less a waste of time than film school.

1975 Recovers from previous year.

1976 Illustrates a little-purchased book, "Sporting Relations." Directs "Jabberwocky" - definitely not a Python Film - written by himself and Charles Alverson.

1977 Spends a year promoting and defending "Jabberwocky" -- definitely NOT a Python film. Decides film festivals are a waste of time.

1978 Publishes "Animations of Mortality" - a book that lays bare the dark and tortured wealthy and successful animator. Signs two copies. Designs (whatever that means) "Monty Python's Life of Brian."

1979 Writes brief biography for earlier press kit. Begins writing new film script, pausing only to travel around promoting "Life of Brian." Abandons above-mentioned script project in November, when suddenly struck by a different film idea.

1980 Convinces Micbael Palin to join him in writing a script based on last November's inspiration - project is given working title of "Time Bandits". Produces and directs "Time Bandits" throughout the summer, completing shooting just about in time to make it across the ocean for Python stage show at the Hollywood Bowl.

1981 "Time Bandits" is released and is a FAR BIGGER SUCCESS than "Chariots of Fire," and should have won at least thirteen Oscars as well as a self-sufficiency badge (Girl Guides).

1982 Picks up a previous script idea (see 1979) and begins writing again, this time with Tom Stoppard. Describes story line as something like "Walter Mitty meets Franz Kafka to the rhythm of Latin sambas" (whatever that means). Takes breaks only to plot U.S. re-release of "Jabberwocky". Takes English lessons.

1983 "Monty Python's Meaning of Life" released (UK). Invited to be included in "The Who's Who of Intellectuals," unfortunately can't complete the form.
August: Terry Gilliam's (not forgetting Tom Stoppard & Charles McKeown) screenplay "Brazil" now at the pre-production stage.

1983-84 Film and editing of "Brazil" continued throughout the year.

1985 February 22nd: "Brazil" opens in UK, followed by the rest of Europe.
Summer: Long battles with Universal over the release of "Brazil" in America. Universal wanting to re-cut the film and change the ending to a happy one.
November: "Brazil" wins Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay Awards at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards without being released in the U.S.A.
December. Universal rush release Terry Gilliam's version of "Brazil" so that it can qualify for that year's Academy Awards.

1986 "Brazil" wins 2 BAF'TA Awards, a London Standard Award, a British Film Institute Special Award, and is the only British film nominated for an Oscar (two in fact) which everyone in England managed to ignore... except Terry Wogan!!!!
November: Travelled to Japan to promote opening of "Brazil". Visited Moscow and Leningrad with British Council and Michael Palin for British Film Week, to show, among others, his films "Time Bandits", "Jabberwocky" and "Brazil".

1987 January: Starts pre-production for his new epic "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen," to be filmed at Rome's Cinecitta Studios in the summer with an enormous budget and a cast of thousands!
September: Filming of "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" commences at Cinecitta Studios, Rome, with location shooting in Spain.

1988 March: Principal photography of "Munchausen" finishes. Post-production commences at Pinewood Studios.

1989 Spring: "Munchausen" opens in USA, Britain and Europe. Later in Japan and Australia.
Autumn: Thinking about future film projects!
October: "Munchausen" gets BFI Award for Technical Achievement.

1990 March: "Munchausen" wins BAFTA Awards for Production Design, Costume Design and Make-up. Four Oscar nominations.
May: Director, "The Fisher King", starring Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, filming May to July, USA, for Tristar.
Autumn/Spring 1991: Editing "The Fisher King", due for release mid-1991.

1991 "The Fisher King" released.

1992 February: "The Fisher King" nominated for four Oscars. Terry writing new film "The Defective Detective."

1993 Wrote "The Defective Detective" with Richard LaGravenese.

1994 Nobody made "Defective Detective."
Executive Producer CD Rom "Monty Python's Conplete Waste of Time."

1995 Still nobody made "Defective Detective."
After an absence of four years behind the camera, got behind it again...
January 1995 - Director - "Twelue Monkeys."

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