Terry Gilliam recently accepted an award remotely from his Highgate house from the Ventotene Film Festival and let slip he was working on an old Stanley Kubrick idea. Gilliam has said the casting was in place and shooting was expected to start in September but with coronavirus that “ruined everything”. Speculation included a possible adaptation of Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, a book that Kubrick wanted to adapt sometime soon after it’s publication in 1988. It has been confirmed by Flippo Ulivieri (Italy’s leading Kubrick expert) on his Twitter page that the project is Lunatic at Large, which is based on a treatment the pulp novelist Jim Thompson wrote for Kubrick and by 1962 Kubrick no longer interested in the project.
The details of Lunatic at Large are scarce but in a nutshell, it’s about carnival worker going mad and ends up kidnapping a barfly he meets in a bar. It’s set in 1950s New York so maybe Gilliam will be making a long-awaited return of shooting in the United States, something he hasn’t done in over 20 years. The project has been in development for nearly a decade with Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson being attached back in 2011. I’m sure Gilliam will add and improve the outline Jim Thompson gave Kubrick back in the early ’60s and add some of that trademark Gilliam magic. Gilliam doing noir is a very enticing idea especially given he used some of the style of noir in Brazil and 12 Monkeys.