Gilliam believes Ledger should be given co-director credit because his impact on the film was immense: "He was creating the situations we couldn't get around. Everything he forced me to do was better for the film." Gilliam was also blessed with a great cast. He had previously worked with Plummer on "12 Monkeys"; "He was Brad Pitt's father – great, great actor… I needed someone who was a tent pole – holds up the entire story and gives it gravitas," said the director. Waits, whom Gilliam describes as "the man who writes songs for angels and sings them in the voice of Beelzebub," took the part of the devil without reading the script.
Surmounting huge obstacles in movies is part of Gilliam's directing DNA. When he tried to film his dream project, "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," it was so jinxed that a documentary called "Lost in La Mancha" was made about his trials and tribulations. "If you take on Don Quixote, you become Don Quixote," admitted Gilliam, "It's been seven years in the French legal system wilderness. And the years have been really good. Scales fell from my eyes. I could see what was wrong with the script. It was clear what was wrong with it. I rewrote it. It's 100 percent better ….I've got one [actor to play Quixote] -- I can't tell you his name, but he's 'the guy'. Nobody is putting money in any films. The plan is next April to start shooting -- we're lacking a few cast members and money but that's it!"
Gilliam is no stranger to controversy. In 1968, he obtained British citizenship and became a dual American-British citizen. Three years ago, in protest over President George W. Bush's policies, he renounced his American citizenship. "Bush was making me crazy," he recalled, "Why am I still paying taxes in this country? If I died, my wife would have to sell the house to pay the taxes." So, as a result of Bush and taxes, Gilliam is allowed back in the country for only 30 days a year. "My wife and I keep very close tabs," he admitted, joking that they fear he would be incarcerated if he stayed a day longer in his homeland.