Door 16: Lost in La Mancha

When presented with the final work of a design, an artwork or a movie, one rarely questions the process, difficulties or the possibility of failure, that went into making this piece. Most likely there were some and it is interesting to see the struggle along the way. The 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe beautifully does that.

It did not set out to document failure, their intention was rather, after filming the making-of process of Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys, entitled The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys, to film another making of. Terry Gilliam's plan was to make a film loosely based on Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote and change it slightly into Mark Twain's novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. He worked on the film from 1989 and after securing funding started shooting in 2000.

Johnny Depp, as a lead role, should play a 21st century marketing executive, who through time travel meets Don Quixote, initially played by Jean Rochefort, who mistakengly thinks he is Sancho Pancho. The struggles, they had on set, besides overrunning the budget, were that they were filming in Spain near a NATO base, so constantly aircrafts flew over the set. Gilliam thought he could redo this in post-production, but then on the second day of shooting a flood and flash hail destroyed some of the set, where some scenes were not finished. Additionally Jean Rochefort was diagnosed with a herniated disc, which made it impossible for him to ride a horse. This led to the end of the production and only the documentary was released.

After further attempts and legal problems, the film was finally released in 2018 with a new cast featuring Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Olga Kurylenko in the leading roles. Additionally Fulton and Pepe were following this process as well and will be releasing another documentary entitled He Dreamed of Giants in the near future.