Like many closeted fanboys, my veneer of normality crumbles when exposed to anything by Terry Gilliam. From 12 Monkeys to Brazil to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas—hell, even the heartbreaking documentary Lost in La Mancha—my fawning admiration just grows. I do like to pretend that The Fisher King doesn’t exist, but I doubt I’ll have that reaction to The Zero Theorem, his latest.
Starring a futuristically bald Christoph Waltz, whose career arc is becoming the envy of every serious film actor, The Zero Theorem concerns a poor computer hacker set to an impossible task (making a nonzero number equal zero, as in a wonderful short story by Ted Chiang). Of course, he’ll also have to contend with what looks to be Gilliam’s most frighteningly gaudy dystopia since Brazil itself.
Yesterday a trailer for the film found its way on line, curiously ending not with a release date but the words “In Post-Production,” suggesting that the footage was a bit premature—indeed, shortly afterward, the clip was taken down. But we know this will be a hyperkinetic triumph for the only director who can render this absurd world as the living cartoon it is. A supporting cast including Tilda Swinton, Matt Damon and Melanie Thierry ought to help. For now, here’s some guerilla footage of the making of a street scene.