Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What Crap Can We Make Up About Heath Ledger Today?

Can you smell it? It's the tangy waft of another half-arsed Murdoch media beat up :

This story is total crap. The headline is woefully inaccurate.

The Imaginarium has an Australian cinema release deal in place. It was signed and sealed months ago. Heath Ledger's final movie also has cinematic release deals locked in across England and Europe.

A US cinema release has not been locked into place yet for one extremely obvious reason, and if they'd bothered to do some googling they would have the info easily - director Terry Gilliam hasn't finished the movie, though he's close to being done.

Pre-release deals for The Imaginarium all over the world have already just about put the new Terry Gilliam film, starring Ledger, Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp, into profit. That means the producers don't have to go begging to American movie studios like, say, Murdoch's Fox, to get a US cinema release signed and sealed before the movie is even finished.

The Imaginarium is not going to be another Batman Begins, obviously. It's a Terry Gilliam film, so it's going to be extremely weird, and more than a little non-mainstream. Gilliam knew there would be a fairly limited audience for The Imaginarium before he began shooting, which is why it was made on a fraction of the budget of, say, the Rupert Murdoch and Australian taxpayer funded epic 'Australia'.

The Imaginarium will make money for its investors, as almost every Terry Gilliam film has, eventually, despite the cliched guff about The Gilliam Curse. It will be controversial, and the story of how Gilliam refused to shelve the movie when Heath Ledger died mid-shoot and how it was finished with the help of Ledger's friends, like Johnny Depp, will draw the film plenty of attention as it moves closer to a release date.

And The Imaginarium will divide people firmly between those who hate it, because it is Gilliam weird, and those who love it, because it is Gilliam weird.

If the Murdoch tabloids are looking for a story angle, maybe they should have pursued this
one (and they probably still will): Heath Ledger filmed a shocking suicide scene for Gilliam's movie shortly before his death. Will it be cut? Should it be cut? Will scenes of Ledger hanging from a noose upset too many people for it to remain in the movie?

An image of the Ledger suicide scene from the Just Jared website

I can't wait to see The Imaginarium. Ledger turned down some major movies and big paydays to join Terry Gilliam on this adventure because he loved the story, and the director's vision for what he wanted to bring to the screen. It promises to be one very strange, fun, magical and challenging movie, like all of Gilliam's.

More On Heath Ledger And The Imaginarium Here