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THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS

Production Information
The announcement of a new Terry Gilliam film tends to evoke a lively mixture of excitement, curiosity and not a little apprehension. The visionary director has the reputation of a singularly creative maverick, but his creations' passage to the screen has not always been easy. The tragic loss of Heath Ledger during the production of THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS, threatened closedown, but Gilliam fought to reconfigure the story without losing the fine performance which his star had already committed to film. The director, his ensemble cast and his crew worked tirelessly together to complete the journey which had begun in the fervid, boundless imagination of Gilliam and his co-writer Charles McKeown less than eighteen months before.

"Since the format of the story allows for the preservation of his entire performance, at no point will Heath's work be modified or altered through the use of digital technology,” the film's producers reassured the media and public: "Each of the parts played by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law is representative of the many aspects of the character that Heath was playing.”

"I am grateful to Johnny, Colin and Jude for coming on board and to everyone else who has made it possible for us to finish the film,” added director Terry Gilliam, "and I am delighted that Heath's brilliant performance can be shared with the world.”

In the modern-day fantasy adventure, Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) has the extraordinary gift of inspiring the imaginations of others. Helped by his traveling theatre troupe, including his sarcastic and cynical sidekick Percy (Verne Troyer) and versatile young player Anton (recent BAFTA®-winner Andrew Garfield), Parnassus offers audience members the chance to transcend mundane reality by passing through a magical mirror into a fantastic universe of limitless imagination.

However, Parnassus' magic comes at a price. For centuries he's been gambling with the devil, Mr. Nick (Tom Waits) who is coming to collect his prize – Parnassus' precious daughter, Valentina (Lily Cole) on her upcoming 16th birthday.

Oblivious to her rapidly approaching fate, Valentina falls for Tony (Heath Ledger), a charming outsider with motives of his own. In order to save his daughter and redeem himself, Parnassus makes one final bet with Mr. Nick, which sends Tony (played during his several visits to the world beyond the mirror by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law) and Valentina and the entire theatre troupe on a ride of twists and turns, in and out of London and the Imaginarium's spectacular landscape.

The film began principal photography at the beginning of December 2007 in Britain's capital, where Gilliam shot dramatic scenes featuring Parnassus, his company and their imposing horse-drawn dwelling cum theatre, against a wide range of the city's familiar landmarks. The wagon, driven by Verne Troyer's Percy, became a familiar if mindboggling sight for the City of London's merry pre-Christmas revellers as it clattered through the nighttime streets.

A series of wintry night shoots saw the Imaginarium's travelling stage fully dressed and unfolded in a bustling fairground dominated by the familiar profile of Tower Bridge; then at the centre of a drunken riot in the imposing shadow of Southwark Cathedral; and later invaded by Russian mobsters in the glorious Victorian confines of Leadenhall Market. Two of the principal characters were suspended perilously, in an icy gale and an artificial downpour, from Blackfriars Bridge over the Thames, while the gigantic, crumbling magnificence of Battersea Power Station, the largest brick-built structure in Europe, hosted a variety of domestic scenes featuring Doctor Parnassus and his extended ‘family'.

On completion of these present-day sequenc

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