Terry Gilliam's latest is The Zero Theorem: a touch of Brazil and Monty Python

gilliam-zeroFormer Monty Python animator and eccentric filmmaker Terry Gilliam is returning with a new dystopian science fiction project titled The Zero Theorem. Gilliam's last film was the disappointing Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, after he failed to complete the highly troubled production The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.

Christoph Waltz, best known for his exceptional role as a Nazi Officer in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, will star as Qohen Leth. The Zero Theorem is scheduled to start shooting October 2012.

The plot is pretty out there (just the way they should be). According to The Playlist, Gilliam revealed there may be nude people flying through space and talked about a semi-monastic computer hacker searching for the answer to human existence in a dystopian world. Gilliam said the film is not as dark as it sounds and there will be comic elements.

According to Deadline, "...living in an Orwellian corporate world where 'mancams' serve as the eyes of a shadowy figure known only as Management, Qohen Leth (Waltz) works on a solution to the strange theorem while living as a virtual cloistered monk in his home - the shattered interior of a fire-damaged chapel."

Qohen's isolation and work are interrupted now and then by surprise visits from two acquaintances: Bainsley, a flamboyantly lusty love interest, and a young man named Bob. 

Bob is the "rebellious whiz-kid teenage son of Management who, with a combination of insult-comedy and an evolving true friendship, spurs on Qohen's efforts at solving the theorem. But these visits turn out to be intentional diversions orchestrated by Management to keep control of Qohen's progress."

Management's son Bob also tempts Qohen with "tantric biotelemetric interfacing" (virtual sex).

"Bob creates a virtual reality 'inner-space' suit that will carry Qohen on an inward voyage, a close encounter with the hidden dimensions and truth of his own soul, wherein lie the answers both he and Management are seeking. The suit and supporting computer technology will perform an inventory of Qohen's soul, either proving or disproving the Zero Theorem."

As a Monty Python enthusiast and a fan of Gilliam's previous science fiction and fantasy films, I have high hopes for The Zero Theorem. The dystopian aspects remind me of Gilliam's Brazil and Twelve Monkeys, while flying naked people and a search for the meaning of life are very Pythonesque (I was going to write "I have high hopes for flying naked people" but decided against it).

Since Gilliam is starting in October 2012, I guess we won't get a chance to watch The Last Theorem until the end of 2013 at the earliest.

UPDATE - Discovered this post on Terry Gilliam's Facebook page:

"Announcement! I'm heading of to Bucharest to start work on my new film, The Zero Theorem. It stars everybody's favorite Nazi, the great Christoph Waltz. Very original script about a man waiting for a telephone call that will give meaning to his life. Some other things happen as well. It's profound and funny in more or less equal measures. We're going to have fun. I'll keep you posted as the cast expands."

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