January 22 could not have been a good day for Terry Gilliam.
On that day, with shooting still incomplete for Gilliam’s upcoming film “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” the film’s lead, Heath Ledger, died of a drug overdose. While I’m sure Gilliam’s initial concern was focused on the death of his colleague, there must have been a time thereafter when Gilliam and his cohorts had to decide how to proceed with the film project. I’m equally sure the mood during these discussions was less than cheery.
Luckily for this film, it appears as though Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law will take over for Ledger, thanks to some goofy plot mechanics involving portals, Tom Waits and the dude who played Mini-Me (seriously, they’re all in the film). Most full-length features should be more or less finished after the death of a lead. You couldn’t really sub Tom Hanks into the second half of “There Will Be Blood” without paying a crew to clean up the requisite 3.5 exploded heads per theatre. The genre just isn’t conducive to actor changes.
Television, however, is a different beast. TV shows have been replacing actors forever,