Terry Gilliam doesn’t pander to the zeitgeist. If anything, he knowingly evades it.
So crammed with ethereal subtext and twisted gothic set design are Gilliam's films, they could only belong to another creative mind if it were some surreal plot device employed by the man himself.
It's certainly no different for his latest sci-fi, The Zero Theorem, set in a near dystopian future and starring Christoph Waltz as a computer programmer tasked by Matt Damon’s mysterious CEO to get working on a data formula which could bring about the end of the world.
Naturally then, when we asked the Python-turned-auteur to list his guilty pleasures, we were not left disappointed.
The Zero Theorem is out now in cinemas nationwide
The Despicable Me films are superb. Wonderful animation, great characters, they’ve got a real zing to them. The sequel went slightly more commercial, more sentimental, but it was still smart, and the little Smurf-y characters - that’s right, Minions - I identify with those the most. Hollywood films in general are getting boring, they’re all the same, generic. Technically speaking, I can’t fault the look or action - but what are the ideas in those films? Why do we always have to see someone obliterating a city at the end? It’s like The Avengers, I watched that and thought of a script I wrote with Richard LaGravenese after The The Fisher King, which ends with a guy turning evil and tearing up a city. That was 20-something years ago and I was already wise enough not to do it.
The only TV show I keep going back to is Family Guy. It’s a shame BBC3 is dying because that’s the channel I watch it on. Some of the humour is very Python-like, very surreal. What's more, it’s outrageous, not timid, not once does it play it safe; he [Seth MacFarlane] keeps getting it right. The other show I love is Breaking Bad - an extraordinary piece of work, up there with anything cinematic or otherwise. People told me about it for several years before I got around to it. My wife was away last November and Netflix offered me a free month, so I thought ‘I’ll check it out’, and in three days I got through four seasons. I finished the fifth over Christmas. It was wonderful. The premise just keeps giving. Some episodes are better directed, some are better written, and it just pulls you in. Above all else, the actors look like they’re having fun. It's the finest bit of art I’ve seen in a long time.
Eminem is my guilty pleasure. It’s sad that the only rapper I like is the white guy, but he's good. My real love is Hungarian gypsy music. We shot The Brothers Grimm in Budapest, and that’s where I really got into heard Parno Graszt, a terrific Hungarian folk band. The music is very complex, so full of life, so full of love, so full of pain! As for modern stuff, I only listen to Arcade Fire and The Arctic Monkeys. I’m not even in the B’s yet. But seriously, those two bands are great, as it Tom Waite, who I’ve cast in a few of my films. Tom’s one of the great modern American poets, as far as I’m concerned. On the one hand, his music’s very simple, incredibly raw; on the other hand, he deals with death and romance better than anybody.
SAGA, only because I was on the cover and had a big article inside - yes, I’ve reached elder statesman status. I’ll also flick through House & Gardens if I’m flying on British Airways. My own gardening skills are terrible - we have a very large garden in Highgate, and wife is outside all the time, but not me - the last time I went out there I almost chopped my thumb off in a lawnmower. I had to have it operated on and was under general aesthetic. I've had better days!
That’s an easy one: a Lamb doner kebab from Archway Kebab House on Junction Road, London. I stopped by on my way home last night. A good kebab at 4.35, AM or PM, is a great meal. My advice? Hottest sauce you can get - and they do a mean chilli sauce - with fresh vegetables on it. What more can you ask for?
(Images: AllStar, Youtube)