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'The HobbitBeefs with unions, endless delays, a famed director jumping ship, the bankruptcy filing of its studio, complaints from hardcore fans about the time-shifting casting of famous characters and, now, emergency surgery for its creative mastermind/director. Is “The Hobbit” the latest Hollywood epic to be plagued by the cinematic boogeyman?

There’s a long tradition of major pictures falling prey to an endless succession of bad luck, bizarre accidents and a seeming black cloud hanging over them. Peter Jackson’s two-part prequel to his billion-dollar “Lord of the Rings” franchise appears to be the latest entry in the club you never want to join. Production on the first film in the prequel pair was delayed this week when Jackson required emergency surgery for a perforated ulcer.

Thankfully, he’s resting now and is expected to make a full, fast recovery. But following the departure last year of director Guillermo del Toro and the myriad other issues that have hit the project, we wondered where “The Hobbit” fits in the pantheon of spooked flicks?

“Green Hornet”
The path to the multiplex for Seth Rogen’s superhero movie was twistier than the plot of “Inception.” In addition to a parade of stars and directors who came and went beginning in the late 1990s, Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg finally got it revved up again in 2007, but then faced immediate backlash from fans who were worried about Rogen’s casting. Then there were multiple push backs on the release date, Nicholas Cage dropping out as the main villain over his insistence on using a Jamaican accent, and a last minute conversion to 3-D that forced the release date back again. Read More...

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Terry GilliamLet's not rehash the appalling collapse of Terry Gilliam's "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" a decade ago, OK? You can read all about the natural disasters, backstabbing producers and injured actors here.

And, hey, let's not dwell on his latest stalled effort to bring "Don Quixote" to the big screen with Robert Duvall in the title role and Ewan McGregor as an ad exec who travels back in time to the 17th Century. Instead, how about we just check in with Gilliam for a general update on the long-troubled project, which was quietly moving forward until recently?

Gilliam is quite happy to talk about the film. Maybe that's because, at the moment, he's hanging out with Arcade Fire in advance of directing a webcast of their live show at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (August 5). Or maybe, at the age of 69, the director has encountered enough professional hardship to be serene about this latest holdup. Whatever the case, Gilliam opened up about the reasons for the "Don Quixote" delay, the difficulty of making films these days, and how he's rewritten a great deal of the script. Read More...

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Earlier this week we learned that Ewan McGregor will star opposite Robert Duvall in "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote." McGregor was on the red carpet at the 30th anniversary celebration for "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" on Wednesday night, and MTV contributor Todd Gilchrist was there to ask about his feelings on "Quixote," a project which has been destined for -- and failed to reach -- big screens a number of times.

"I try not to think about the pressure and the scary side of what you're about to embark on, but just think of it as being a challenge," McGregor explained. "If ['The Man Who Killed Don Quixote'] comes about, which it may -- and I certainly hope it does, because I've wanted to work with [director Terry Gilliam] for a long time -- to play that part would be very, very exciting." Read More...

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Most fans will agree that Terry Gilliam has had an off bunch of years, really since the exceptional 1998 adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's book, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Of course, until last year's undeniably solid "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" it had only been two movies. It was the failed "Don Quixote" project I think, the one that was recounted in the documentary "Lost in La Mancha."

Gilliam is gearing up for another crack at it now, with "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote." It's been known for some time that Robert Duvall would star as the delusional Spaniard. Now his sidekick has been cast, a modern day man thrown into the past and caught up in Quixote's adventures: Ewan McGregor. Gilliam confirmed the casting to Empire at Cannes; you can check out a video of the interview there.

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Terry Gilliam excels at bringing bizarre things into this world. Not terribly surprising for a guy whose brilliant early work came out of his involvement with the Monty Python comedy troupe. This is also the same man who gave us "Time Bandits," "Brazil," "The Fisher King" and the exceptional adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

By all reports, next up for Gilliam is his latest attempt to tell the story of Don Quixote. Sort of. "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" will follow an advertising executive who jumps back and forth in time between 21st century London and 17th century La Mancha, where Don Quixote mistakes him for Sancho Panza. Today brings an odd update from the director, via his "Quixote" co-writer Tony Grisoni. Read More...

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Early in December, word buzzed around that "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" director Terry Gilliam was eying Robert Duvall to star in his next effort, the long, long-awaited "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote." Johnny Depp was set to star in Gilliam's first ill-fated attempt at telling the tale, and he's been an on-again, off-again contender to join the cast of the filmmaker's latest attempt for some time.

Now the director is saying that Depp is definitely out, Duvall is definitely in and another, as-yet-unnamed actor is also in talks to join the cast -- no one "A-prime," as Gilliam says (via The Playlist). Read More...

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Don't ever let it be said that Terry Gilliam doesn't have a knack for putting the right performer into the right role. My all-time favorite is his casting of Johnny Depp as Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Today's news though... if things pan out, it's going to be a mighty close second.

The word is that Gilliam wants Robert Duvall to saddle up as the Man of La Mancha in "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote." The actor revealed as much in an interview with Collider while promoting his new movie, "Crazy Heart." Nothing's definite yet, but it sounds like Duvall will have the part as soon as the project firms up. Read More...

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--Terry Gilliam is getting back to his work on the man of La Mancha, Don Quixote. The filmmaker's seemingly cursed efforts at bringing the mad knight to the silver screen seem to have finally paid off, likely thanks to the goodwill his work on the soon-to-be-released "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" has fostered. Said Gilliam of "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote": "We're up and running again, we've rewritten the script and finally got it back, the budget's come in... and I think we've found our Quixote! But who's it going to be? Well, I'm not going to tell you, but it'll start next Spring." (Empire Online)

--Accomplished filmmaker Paul Schrader (he wrote "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull"!) is coming back to Hollywood. Halfway at least. In a joint Hollywood/Bollywood production, Schrader will direct "Xtrme City," which follows a U.S. ranger and an Indian commando as they comb the Mumbai underworld for the Yank's kidnapped sister-in-law. (Variety) Read More...

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Terry GilliamTerry Gilliam still wants to return to his long-suffering dream project "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," but he appears to have accepted that the show will have to go on without former leading man Johnny Depp. The man who almost directed "Watchmen" will finally release his delayed film "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" (starring Heath Ledger) in October and plans to then turn his attention back to "Quixote," even if that means abandoning his other film "The Zero Theorem."

"I'm about to sit down this evening with Tony Grisoni and see if all the bits we've been doing in this last couple of weeks are enough to keep us happy and say that's it," Gilliam told his online fanzine Dreams. "Basically, we are pretty much there on the script and then Jeremy Thomas and I have been moving ahead on different deals." Read More...

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Terry Gilliam'Terry Gilliam hasn't been able to catch an easy break in the last decade, but the mad scientist filmmaker behind "Brazil" and former Monty Python star apparently cannot be stopped. First, his budget ran off a cliff alongside injury and natural disaster in 2000 with his epic re-imagining of Don Quixote, forcing the film's production to a halt. Then, with scenes still left to be filmed in his Heath Ledger and Verne Troyer vehicle "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" the leading actor's death threatened to kill a second Gilliam film in a row.

Now, after saving "Doctor Parnassus," Gilliam is officially returning to finish "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," and he sounds even more determined than ever.

“Tony [Grisoni] and I have started rewriting 'Don Quixote' just this last week," Gilliam told Empire. "I re-read the greatest script ever written and realize we gotta get rewriting! I really wanna knock that one out in the next month or so.” Read More...

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