If you take Terry Gilliam‘s comments at face value then, well, more fool you, stop just looking at the surface of things. But the director does seem to be saying that he’s planning some odd mix-and-match casting for his upcoming sci-fi drama, The Zero Theorem.
His first Facebook update on the matter went like this:
Excitement at the front! Zero Theorem now has two more brilliant actors on board: Peter Stormare and Sanjeev Bhaskar. Not just comic geniuses but great friends. They will be sharing two parts at the same time. I hope you like the look.
“Sharing two parts at the same time” was easier to discount before his next update:
Ben Whishaw has now joined our merry gang! Since work for film actors is very slow these days I’m having more than one actor play the same part. I’m hoping Ben and Matt Damon will work wonders on alternating days.
Another joke about the same idea so it looks like he’s actually going to do it.
There’s a long history of this kind of casting, loosely at least. There’s Bunuel’s That Obscure Object of Desire all the way up to Todd Solondz’ Palindromes. And then there’s Gilliam’s own The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus in which Jude Law, Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp played dream-versions of Heath Ledger’s character.
I’m sure that Gilliam has a strong strategy in mind for how he’s going to make the best of this casting.
Incidentally, it’s not yet clear if Tilda Swinton’s role in the film will be twinned in this way, but it’s viable; and it’s also worth considering that, due to the short amount of shoot time needed for an actor to play just part of a role, maybe Gilliam will get Johnny Depp to appear after all, and – ha! – maybe even David Walliams.