Image Credit: Kevin Westenberg; Inset: Tony Lowe/PR PhotosThe recent announcement that the Arcade Fire had recruited Terry Gilliam to direct tomorrow night’s concert webcast from Madison Square Garden prompted much head scratching at EW Towers. Just what was the maker of such films as Brazil and 12 Monkeys going to bring to the live broadcast format, creatively-speaking? It turns out, Gilliam was wondering exactly the same thing and, with only a day to go before showtime, the jovial auteur says he remains a tad confused about his role in proceedings.
“I’m trying to find out what this f—ing thing is,” admits the director and Monty Python comedy team member. “I keep reading that I’m directing this thing, but I’m not sure that’s what I’m doing. Their manager called my agent less than two weeks ago and said, ‘We’re doing this webcast and the band would love it if you got involved.’ [Tonight's MSG show] will be the fourth that I’ve been with them. I’m a groupie, basically! If I see somebody doing something stupid I’ll probably mention that to them. But their show’s really good, and they’ve got really good video stuff already. So we’ll stick with what they’re doing and I can sit back and take credit for everything.”
One thing Gilliam con confirm is that he is a big fan of the Canadian outfit: “I do think they’re very special. I’ve felt that since Funeral.” That admiration is apparently reciprocated by band members, and married couple, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne. “Win said something to the effect that the first movie they ever saw together was Brazil,” reveals the director. “It’s a good way of finding out if your date is going to be part of your future! When Brazil came out I remember some married couples practically splitting over it. One would like it and the other would just despise the film.” Gilliam says he is regarding the webcast gig as an extended “date” during which he and the band can get to know each other, with an eye on collaborating properly at a later point. “It’s really about seeing if there’s a future between them and me,” muses the director.
Of course, Gilliam is infamous for the disasters that tend to befall his movies: “Me? What?” he deadpans when the subject is raised. But the director says that fans attending tomorrow night’s show at MSG need not worry about the possibility of an earthquake, or some freakish indoor monsoon, ruining their evening’s entertainment. “That’s why I’m staying as far away from this as possible,” he chuckles. “I’m literally hands-off. The Curse of Gilliam will not apply tomorrow night!”
The live stream of the show—part of the American Express-sponsored Unstaged series—will start tomorrow at 10pm EST, while a special pre-show will begin at 9:30. Are you going to tomorrow’s Arcade Fire show? Or will you be watching the webcast? What do you think of Mr Gilliam’s “involvement”? Let us know!
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