When Terry Gilliam Asked Robert Downey Jr to Star in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote – and Got No Reply (Video Update)

Terry Gilliam's movie The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is finally getting a release in the UK, which is why he is doing the publicity runaround in the UK now. which included appearing just now on The Graham Norton Show in BBC1 alongside guests Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and Robert Downey Jr. it was a relatively sedate show, though Downey Jr did his best to ascertain if Laurie and Thompson had shagged when they were at University together, without joy. The evening jumped a tad when Gilliam joined them on the sofa, noting the death of his Python compatriot Terry Jones with a 'I'm not dead yet' T-shirt.

But what really livened things up was when Gilliam brought on – and Norton read out – a letter from 2009 that Gilliam had sent to Downey asking him to play Toby in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote – and had never got a reply. The letter did praise Downey's performance in Tropic Thunder, which of course has similar themes, if handled in very different ways. But could it have been the tone of the letter? It did specifically say that the lead role, which Robert would be perfect for, was "Toby – an asshole." The film didn't happen – not then anyway – as it fell apart again. Over the years, Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor and Jack O'Connell had been lined up for the role, but this was the first time we knew that Downey had been offered the role. Instead Adam Driver got the part when it was finally filmed in 2017…

UPDATE: AMC Networks Public Relations has just sent us the clip in question, telling me that in the US the show will be on BBC America at 11pm ET this Friday, 1st March.

Here were the original screencaps.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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