Terry Gilliam has revealed that he was initially reluctant to cast Bruce Willis in his classic sci-fi movie 12 Monkeys – because he didn’t like the actor’s ‘rectal’ mouth.
The former Monty Python star, 80, cast Willis, 65, as lead character James Cole in the futuristic 1995 movie, about a prisoner sent back in time to stop a virus that decades earlier had wiped out all of humanity.
And while the film won acclaim and proved to be a hit at the box office, Gilliam has admitted that he took some time to warm to the idea of Willis in the role.
Reluctant: Terry Gilliam has revealed that he was initially reluctant to cast Bruce Willis in his classic sci-fi movie 12 Monkeys – because he didn’t like the actor’s ‘rectal’ mouth
He told Inverse: ‘I had never been a great fan of Bruce’s before, but I liked talking to him, and I thought, OK, this guy’s smart; he’s funny.
‘I explained to him my concerns about him as an actor. I hated the Trumpian mouth he does in films. Rectal. It’s like I’m looking at somebody’s a**hole.’
During the interview, Gilliam also revealed that the likes of Tom Cruise and Nicolas Cage were also suggested – and rejected – for the blockbuster.
He recalled: ‘That was at a time when I was still a hot director, so people wanted to come near me and touch me. So they were coming up with all these names. And I just kept saying no. Tom Cruise, Nic Cage, they were all being thrown at me.’
Role: Bruce Willis starred as James Cole in the futuristic 1995 movie, about a prisoner sent back in time to stop a virus that decades earlier had wiped out all of humanity
Gilliam’s interview comes exactly one after he lashed out at political correctness in Hollywood, saying he’s ‘tired, as a white male, of being blamed for everything’ and that Harvey Weinstein’s victims were ‘adults who made choices’.
The filmmaker also repeated criticisms of the #MeToo movement, calling it a ‘witch hunt’ that has victimised ‘a lot of people, decent people’.
‘Yeah, I said #MeToo is a witch hunt,’ the director told The Independent last year. ‘I really feel there were a lot of people, decent people, or mildly irritating people, who were getting hammered. That’s wrong.
‘I don’t like mob mentality. These [women who came forward with claims] were ambitious adults.’
Co-star: He appeared alongside Brad Pitt in the movie, which was a critical and box office hit
Weinstein is the powerful film mogul who in October 2017 was first accused of sexual misconduct by actress Ashley Judd.
Judd was quoted by The New York Times, which investigated numerous other claims against Weinstein stretching back decades.
The groundbreaking report opened the floodgates as dozens more women came forward with allegations of a litany of crimes committed by Weinstein, including harassment, assault, and rape.
Alyssa Milano, the actress from the hit show Charmed, invited other women who were either harassed or assaulted to share their stories on Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo – igniting the viral phenomenon.
The Weinstein revelations inspired other women to come forward with claims against powerful men in several industries, including Hollywood, the media, music, sports, politics, and academia.
Award-winning performance: Pitt was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his performance, for which he scooped a Golden Globe
Weinstein, 68, pleaded not guilty to charges brought by New York prosecutors who said he sexually assaulted two women – one in 2006 and another in 2013.
He was subsequently found guilty of two of five felonies in February 2020, and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Gilliam, however, said in his interview published one month before the mogul’s conviction that Weinstein’s victims share some responsibility for what happened to them.
‘There are many victims in Harvey’s life and I feel sympathy for them, but then, Hollywood is full of very ambitious people who are adults and they make choices,’ Gilliam said.
‘We all make choices, and I could tell you who did make the choice and who didn’t.’
Slammed: Gilliam had previously slammed the #MeToo movement, branding it a ‘witch hunt’
He recalled that he had a negative experience working with Weinstein, saying: ‘I hate Harvey. I had to work with him and I know the abuse, but I don’t want people saying that all men [are abusive].’
Gilliam said that when he directed the 1991 hit film The Fisher King, ‘two producers were women. One was a really good producer, and the other was a neurotic b***h. It wasn’t about their sex. It was about the position of power and how people use it.’
Gilliam then said he spoke to a famous actor recently. The topic of conversation was #MeToo.
‘She has got her story of being in the room and talking her way out,’ he said. ‘She says, “I can tell you all the girls who didn’t, and I know who they are and I know the bumps in their careers.” The point is, you make choices.’
Gilliam continued: ‘I can tell you about a very well-known actress coming up to me and saying, “What do I have to do to get in your film, Terry?”
Classics: The British-American filmmaker directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail and wrote the script for Monty Python’s Life of Brian
‘I don’t understand why people behave as if this hasn’t been going on as long as there’ve been powerful people.
‘I understand that men have had more power longer, but I’m tired, as a white male, of being blamed for everything that is wrong with the world.’
Gilliam then reported held up his hands and exclaimed: ‘I didn’t do it!’
The Independent writer pushed back and said that while not all white men are to blame, they are automatically given privileges that others aren’t.
Gilliam responded: ‘It’s been so simplified is what I don’t like. When I announce that I’m a black lesbian in transition, people take offence at that. Why?’
Gilliam then said: ‘I don’t like the term black or white. I’m now referring to myself as a melanin-light male. I can’t stand the simplistic, tribalistic behaviour that we’re going through at the moment.’
Gilliam then tried to clarify, saying: ‘I’m talking about being a man accused of all the wrong in the world because I’m white-skinned. So I better not be a man.
‘I better not be white. OK, since I don’t find men sexually attractive, I’ve got to be a lesbian. What else can I be? I like girls. These are just logical steps.’
Controversial: Gilliam is seen right with Harvey Weinstein at the Venice Film Festival in 2005. Gilliam said that Weinstein’s victims were ‘adults who made choices’