Terry Gilliam Feels Every Cut as a Castration

Months after Terry Gilliam’s Brazil was already a success abroad, he and the studio were still fighting over how to cut it for America. When the studio head at the time, Sid Sheinberg, wanted to turn the very dark comedy into a light-hearted romp, Gilliam came at him hard. Well, as hard as a letter can be. He wrote:

I am not sure you are aware of just how much pain you are inflicting, but I don’t believe “responsibility to the company” in any way absolves you from crimes against even this small branch of humanity. As long as my name is on the film, what is done to it is done to me — there is no way of separating these two entities. I feel every cut, especially the ones that sever the balls.

Letters of Note has the full, impassioned letter. When Sheinberg didn’t respond, Gilliam decided to take out a full-page ad in Variety that read:

Dear Sid SheinbergWhen are you going to release my film, ‘BRAZIL’?Terry Gilliam

There is something beautiful about how a mad genius’s craziness doesn’t stop just because the film is finished.

Terry Gilliam Feels Every Cut as a Castration