French-based producer Paulo Branco says he believes Amazon has withdrawn from U.S. distribution of Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” because sales agent Kinology did not have the right to sell the movie.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Cannes, Branco distributed a letter from Amazon’s lawyers, dated Feb. 14, saying that neither Kinology nor producer Tornasol Films owned the rights to “Don Quixote,” and that Amazon would be justified in canceling its deal.
Amazon had previously picked up North American rights to the film. It announced its withdrawal earlier Wednesday. Amazon also has rights for the U.K. and Australia.
Branco said Cannes’ decision to program the film as the closing-night movie May 19 had “polluted” the legal process. He described the festival as self-interested and called general manager Thierry Fremaux a “puppet.”
Branco spoke ahead of a Paris court’s expected decision on his request for an injunction against the film’s screening in Cannes.
“The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” has had a tortured production history. Gilliam started shooting the picture in 1998 with Jean Rochefort as Quixote and Johnny Depp playing a marketing executive who is sent back in time. However, shooting stopped after Rochefort became ill and the film was plagued with financial difficulties and insurance problems.
Gilliam’s problem-plagued production was the subject of a 2002 documentary, “Lost in La Mancha.” The director tried to restart the film at several different points, with the likes of Robert Duvall, Michael Palin, John Hurt, Ewan McGregor, and Jack O’Connell all getting attached to the production and falling out as delays mounted and funding fell through.