The Zero Theorem is the upcoming science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam. The film stars Christoph Waltz, Lucas Hedges, Mélanie Thierry, Tilda Swinton, Peter Stormare, David Thewlis and Matt Damon.
Qohen Leth is an eccentric and reclusive computer genius who lives in an Orwellian corporate world and suffers from existential angst. Under the instruction of a shadowy figure known only as “Management”, Qohen works to solve the “Zero Theorem” – a mathematical formula which will finally determine whether life has any meaning. Qohen’s work in the burnt-out chapel that serves as his home is interrupted by visits from Bainsley, a seductive woman, and Bob, the teenage son of Management.
It turns out that this is the cheapest film Gilliam has ever made.
I do get great enjoyment putting stuff on screen that looks really interesting and expensive, when it costs nothing. You saw the street scene and Renault, the car company, gave us 15 privies, what these small cars are called, and we said, “That’s not enough for the street.” So we got some golf carts, built panels on the sides, and taxi lights on the top, because we had no money. The costumes that Carlo [Poggioli] made were extraordinary. Outside of Bucharest, he found this Chinese market, and a lot of cheap crap stuff from China. He was buying fabric, not by the yard but by the kilo. Horrible stuff, but it looked amazing when he was done. He made all these costumes out of cheap tablecloths and shower curtains. When you are put in that situation, without the resources, it takes a considerable burden off your back and requires you to rely on your imagination and your ability to play and have some fun and throw things together out of nothing. That’s very much what this film is, even though I promise you, it doesn’t look like that.
It also looks as if Gilliam is almost ready to give up on his long and perilous journey to bring Don Quixote to the big screen.