SDCC ’13: THE ZERO THEOREM Panel Live-Blog

One of the biggest mysteries of Hall H this year is The Zero Theorem. Unlike the other major studio panels (Marvel, Sony, etc) this movie is truly off the radar as of right now.

Directed by Oscar nominee Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), The Zero Theorem revolves around an eccentric and reclusive computer genius (two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz) plagued with existential angst who works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence ­or the lack thereof­ once and for all. However, it is only once he experiences the power of love and desire that he is able to understand his very reason for being.

Appearing on stage to introduce the trailer, four new scenes from the film and take your questions are producers Zev Foreman (Killer Joe), Dean Zanuck (Get Low) and Terry’s daughter Amy Gilliam (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), who produced many of the commercials featured in the film. The panel will be moderated by Gina McIntyre of the Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex.

The Zero Theorem Panel Live-Blog:

Before I get in to the movie and meat of the panel, I just wanted to point out that this marks the very first time that a woman has moderated a Hall H panel. It’s crazy to think that it’s taken until 2013 for this to happen in the biggest room of the biggest con.

Dean Zaneck, Amy Gilliam, and Zev Foreman are here today. Terry Gilliam couldn’t be here today, but sent a video message.

The video message was a hilarious “NSA-leaked” video from his computer since he’s currently being held hostage finishing the film. Then it was followed by a beautiful and weird and so very Terry Gilliam trailer for the film following Christoph Waltz in his quest to solve The Zero Theorem and find a point to the meaning of our existence.

UPDATED: You can now watch his hostage video here:

Johnny Depp said that Terry is one of the last true auteurs. he is a mad man in the finest possible way.
Zev – Mad is a very interesting word. When you look throughout history you see people that are “mad” and they are the ones that actually change the world. We hope that with this movie and beyond, Terry continues to change the world.

Any particularly fun or memorable moments from shooting?
Amy – Every day is fun with Terry! We’re always laughing, even when we’re crying. Every day is a challenge and we definitely make the most out of everything. It’s like getting a family together and making something magical.

When Terry makes a film, it is an event. It’s not an indie in that sense at all.

12 Monkeys and Brazil were referenced in the trailer, but how will The Zero Theorem be different?
Dean – Those are great films in their own right and so is this one. He does touch on themes he has in the past, but with this script, these actors, it’s going to feel unique unto itself.

Something I’ve noticed is that Gilliam is fascinated with the idea that the universe is trying to personally drive you insane. Was there anything going on on set to heighten that paranoia?
Zev – I think movie making is that – every day is a challenge and you feel the universe is out to get you. I don’t think there’s any other answer to that question – Terry’s profession inhabits that idea.
Amy – I think Terry likes to be tormented. Without the torment, it’d be boring.

Terry likes films that asks lots of questions but that don’t give any answers. Based off the trailer, it seems like we’re going to get a lot of answers. Was that an intentional response to his feelings about movies?
Zev – I think he just wanted to throw people off.

They showed the first 10 minutes of The Zero Theorem film, which show an ad-filled future complete with stuff like “Occupy Mall Street” for the best bargains and “The Future Has Come and Gone – Where were you?”. We open in on Christoph Waltz naked, staring at a black hole, and it’s obvious he’s not quite right. He goes to work where the creedo is “Don’t Ask- Multitask!” and Management (portrayed by Matt Damon) is always watching. He thinks he’s dying, but repeated physicals show nothing is wrong with him. He keeps insisting that “we are dying” and “we are not well” so the medical team assign him psychiatric help. Though, apparently, that means a serum//shot of some sort in this reality.

It’s a very weird, unique film and the peek definitely got me interested in seeing the final film.

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The Author

Kristal Bailey

Kristal Bailey

With a soft spot for movies that fall into the “So Bad They’re Good” category, Kristal Bailey regularly watches B-movies, 80s comedies, and sci-fi from the 50s and 60s. She also refuses to grow up if that means she has to hide her love for Disney and Pixar films.

In her free time, she enjoys reading graphic novels or books that are soon to be turned into movies, watching hours and hours of television, and spending way too much time on Twitter.