The Adventures of Baron de Münchausen, released in March 1989 in France, takes us to the Age of Enlightenment. A city is preparing to succumb to the onslaught of the Turks. Only the royal theater is still standing where actors and stagehands struggle to give a drinkable spectacle but invariably booed by the spectators.
They present that day “The Adventures of Baron de Münchausen”. In the middle of a scene, an old man rises and claims the identity of the baron. He then suggests to the incredulous inhabitants to drive out the Turks. To do this, he asks them to help him find his four former fellow adventurers.
ROBIN WILLIAMS REFUSES TO BE CREDITED TO THE GENERIC
The famous actor Robin Williams, who died in 2014, categorically refused to be credited in the credits of The Adventures of Baron de Münchausen by Terry Gilliam. The actor wanted to use a pseudonym, Ray D. Tutto, a reference to his character in the film, the Moon King.
This name means in Italian “king of everything” (“re di tutto” in the language of Dante). Williams did not want to appear in the credits because he did not want the producers to use his name to promote the film.
Initially, the role of the Moon King was to be played by the legendary Sean Connery. However, the latter finally declined the offer, the role not being sufficiently fleshed out according to him. Terry Gilliam therefore chose Robin Williams to replace him. The director had also thought of the ex James Bond to play the Baron of Münchausen before hiring John Neville, an actor more used to theaters than to film sets. The actor had in fact not shot for the big screen for 18 years and Les aventures du Brigadier Gérard in 1970.
In 1991, three years after the release of Münchausen, Robin Williams and Terry Gilliam met again for Fisher King, which earned the first an Oscar nomination for best actor … under his real name this time! Williams was also in dispute with Disney because he refused that the cartoon Aladdin is sold only on its vocal performance, that of the genius.
INFERNAL SHOOTING FOR CURSED FILM
Note that Terry Gilliam is surely the king of cursed films. Before the incredible adventure of Don Quixote (Lost in la Mancha), the filmmaker has already experienced the joys of a delicate filming with these Adventures of the Baron of Münchausen. Indeed, the production of the film has been endangered many times by logistical concerns, in particular the sets, and an astronomical budget overrun.
Initially, the feature film benefited from a comfortable envelope of 23 million pounds. He will end his race with a crazy sum exceeding 45 million. To top it off, the film will be a monumental failure in theaters. With 8 million dollars in worldwide receipts, the work is one of the most striking industrial disasters in the history of cinema.
Terry Gilliam also revealed that the chaos reigning around the project was partly the fault of producer Arnon Milchan. The latter had indeed concluded a deal with Fox without informing the director, who had signed with Columbia. Gilliam did not learn until after filming that the film would therefore be largely owned by Milchan and Fox, and then ceased to collaborate with the producer.
OUR TRIBUTE TO ROBIN WILLIAMS