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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 September 2005, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Gilliam defends his Grimm reviews
By Victoria Lindrea
BBC News entertainment reporter in Venice

Director Terry Gilliam has defended negative reviews in the US of his new film The Brothers Grimm at a press conference at the Venice Film Festival, where the film is showing in competition.

Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam is not bothered by poor reviews
Gilliam, best known for films like Twelve Monkeys, Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, joined forces with producers Miramax to make his first film in seven years.

It is a fantasy about a pair of con-merchants in 18th Century Germany which incorporates many of the famous Grimm fairytales.

"I like the fact that my films have always encouraged bad and good reviews. The most depressing thing would be a review that was just mediocre. That would kill me," said Gilliam, 64.

"I have no problem with the fact that people don't see the film or don't like it, because there is as many people out there who love it.

"Everybody has their opinion - and some people are wrong."

Matt Damon and Heath Ledger
Heath and I were both surprised and felt pretty lucky there was a Terry Gilliam movie available to us
Matt Damon (left)
His unique vision was also defended by Grimm stars Matt Damon, Heath Ledger and Italian actress Monica Bellucci, who flanked Gilliam at the press conference.

"The fact that Terry was directing the movie sold it to me," said 34-year-old actor Damon.

"Heath and I were both surprised and felt pretty lucky that there was a Terry Gilliam movie available to us.

"Originally Terry wanted us to play the opposite roles, but we petitioned him to switch roles because we wanted to do things a little differently than we had a chance to so far in our careers. But no sales pitch was needed for the film, a Terry Gilliam movie sells itself."

For her part, Monica Bellucci, who plays a wicked queen seeking eternal life in the film, called the director "a genius", adding "he has taught me many things."

Monica Belluci
Monica Belluci has called the director a "genius"
Gilliam, who is still searching for funding for his abortive Don Quixote project which was called off in 2001 following a string of on-set catastrophes, has called The Brothers Grimm "his commercial film".

But it remains a film of fantastic and surreal proportions.

"I hate being dragged into genres. I like movies that are full of a lot of conflicting and interesting things," says Gilliam.

The film-maker, the only US-born member of the famous Monty Python troupe, said he wants to make films "that inspire people to explore their imagination".

"We live in a world that is defined by numbers and calculations - and there is very little room for myth and dreams.

"I think we need both of those things in our lives, to make life worth living."

"Children really love my films. They haven't lost their ability to dream, to imagine - they are open-minded.

"As we get older the world seems to close in. I'm trying to break that shell open occasionally. This is just one more desperate attempt to do so."

Terry Gilliam, Lena Headey, Matt Damon, Monica Belucci, Heath Ledger
Gilliam with his all-star cast: He calls Grimm his "commercial film"
The director, who admits his favourite fairytale is not a Grimms tale but Hans Christian Andersen's The Emperor's New Clothes, has sought to recreate the world of fairytales on screen.

"One of the things we concentrated on with Grimm was detail. Everything is tactile, so that you actually believe the world before you is real."

"Just because these days you can do so much with CGI, it's not necessarily a good idea - sometimes it's better to keep things small.

"The fairytales I remember as a child were about people, the stories came out of characters, out of the forest that you invariably went into.

"I hope that with this film we've created a world that's closer to the fairytales that all of us have read and been affected by."

Terry Gilliam describes the appeal of the Grimm fairy tales

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