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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Trailer

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a 2009 fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and written by Gilliam and Charles McKeown. The film follows a traveling theater troupe whose leader, having made a bet with the Devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations and present them with a choice between self-fulfilling enlightenment or gratifying ignorance.

Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Andrew Garfield, Lily Cole, and Tom Waits star in the film, though Ledger’s death one-third of the way through filming caused production to be temporarily suspended. Ledger’s role was recast with Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell portraying transformations of Ledger’s character as he travels through a dream world.

The film made its world premiere during the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, out of competition. The UK release of the film was scheduled for 6 June 2009 but was pushed back to 16 October 2009 due to its successful premiere at Cannes. The film was given a limited release in the US on Christmas Day 2009 and a nationwide expansion on 8 January 2010.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was nominated for two Academy Awards in the categories Best Art Direction (art directed by Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro, and set decorated by Caroline Smith; lost to Avatar) and Best Costume Design (costumes designed by Monique Prudhomme; lost to The Young Victoria).


Heath Ledger as Tony, a mysterious outsider who joins the group. When Ledger died in the midst of production, the role was recast for certain scenes to have Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law portray “physically transformed versions” of the character within the eponymous Imaginarium.
Christopher Plummer as Doctor Parnassus, a former monk, and the 1,000-year-old leader of a travelling theatre troupe.
Andrew Garfield as Anton: a member of Doctor Parnassus’ troupe.
Verne Troyer as Percy, Doctor Parnassus’ confidant.
Lily Cole as Valentina, Doctor Parnassus’ daughter.
Tom Waits as Mr. Nick, a personification of the Devil.
Peter Stormare as the President, a world statesman
Maggie Steed as Louis Vuitton Woman
Mark Benton as Dad
Simon Day as Uncle Bob
Paloma Faith as Sally
Richard Riddell as Martin
Montserrat Lombard as Sally’s friend
Bruce Crawford as Face Changed Martin

Release and box office performance

Before The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was finished, the film had already received healthy interest from worldwide distributors and the film sold out across the world. However, the film received lukewarm response from many distributors in the United States. Gilliam said that Fox Searchlight Pictures and other distributors had declined to release the film in the US. Eventually, the film’s US distribution rights were acquired by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group, which released the film in the US through Sony Pictures Classics. In fact, the US was the last territory in which the film was sold.


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