Tideland production blog


Tideland is Gilliam’s current film project. It was in production in Canada Autumn 2004, with postproduction in London in Spring 2005. Follow the project’s development on this page.  In backwards chronological order…

3 June 2005

Terry Gilliam confirms to Dreams that Tideland is practically complete in a brief update…
“Tideland is now finished. Just needs a bit of massage on the soundtrack. Don’t know when it will hit the screens. Sometime in the fall I reckon.”
An interview that Vincenzo Natali gave to Dreams, about his documentary film on Tideland, has today been uploaded to this website.

20 February 2005
Terry Gilliam sends to Dreams news of progress on his forthcoming project…
Tideland is marching smoothly onward…surprisingly smoothly. The cut is almost locked. The effects are looking good. Mychael Danna (The Ice Storm, Vanity Fair, and all Atom Egoyan’s film) has started work on the score. We have a had a couple of screenings and what is clear is that the film is like no other. It’s very beautiful, powerful, hypnotic, disturbing, and for some folk, exhausting. Whatever their opinion of the film, everyone finds that they are still stuck with it the next morning. The cast is fabulous. Jodelle is extraordinary. Jeff is wonderful. Brendan heartbreaking. Janet frightening. Jennifer outrageous. All in all I’m very pleased with what we have done. The experience has been delightful for a change. It’s going to be a hard film to ignore. The plan is to premiere it at this year’s Cannes Festival. I’m describing it to the French as Amelie with Balls.”

6 February 2005
As I write, the Saskatchewan shoot of Gilliam’s latest picture Tideland is complete, and the postproduction is well underway in London. Shooting on Tideland finished on December 12, except for the flying doll’s heads which being done in London. Gilliam told the Daily Llama, “The last few days were spent shooting SFX….Jeliza Rose falling down the rabbit hole. Jeliza Rose and her long and thin spaghetti arms and legs dangling from a little bed halfway down the even bigger rabbit hole. Three weeks ago we finished shooting with Jeff Bridges at a rock and roll venue where he and his band blew everyone away. His bass player, Chris, had just survived a brain operation two weeks earlier in which they removed a small tennis ball sized tumour from his skull. For some people there seems to be nothing we can so to keep them from appearing in the film.”

The movie’s official website is now live, featuring short films from the set and film stills. Further, it provides a link to some of Jeff Bridges’s black-and-white photographs from the set. New images from Tideland have been sent to Dreams, and are available here. An article from the set featuring a picture of the train crash is available from Hollywood North Report. An article in French by Jérémie Couston about Tideland written was published at the Telerama site.

14 December 2004
Principal photography on Tideland in Regina is now complete. An interview with Terry Gilliam, and an interview with the picture’s cinematographer Nicola Pecorini have been added to this site.

29 November 2004
As the shooting of Tideland continues in Canada, here are two stills by Francois Duhamel from the set. These pictures have just been released to Dreams by the production company. Both pictures show Gilliam with the star of the film Jodelle Ferland as Jeliza-Rose. Click on the images for larger, more detailed versions.


8 November 2004
Here are two pictures of Terry Gilliam on the set of Tideland. Click on the images for more larger, more detailed versions. Pictures taken by Phil Stubbs.


7 November 2004
Tideland has just completed its sixth week of shooting, and is on schedule. Practically all of the on-location scenes have now been shot, so the rest of the shoot is predominantly in the studio. Dreams spent most of the sixth week on set, so look out for more news and interviews from the Tideland set over forthcoming weeks and months.

14 October 2004
Terry Gilliam tells Dreams that things are going well with Tideland in the first few weeks of the Canadian shoot. “We’re in our third week with no major disasters. In fact, we are chugging along through thick and thin quite happily. We return to Regina this weekend. Hopefully before we are snowed in. It’s a rough weather world out here.”

Also Oxford Student reports that PJ Harvey is “writing songs for a new film by Terry Gilliam” – presumably Tideland.

21 September 2004
At the time of writing, Terry Gilliam is about to start shooting Tideland in Canada. The announced cast is summarised in the following table…

Jeff Bridges

Jodelle Ferland
Classique etc
Brendan Fletcher
Janet McTeer
Jennifer Tilly
Queen Gunhild

The location for shooting is Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. More news here when available.

20 August 2004
Gilliam filed the following with official Monty Python news source The Daily Llama. “I’m off to Canada next week to start the prep on Tideland. We start shooting on Sept. 27 in Regina, Saskatchewan. That’s where they invented The Regina Monologues… it’s very lonely there in the winter.”

22 June 2004
Gilliam spoke to Dreams in mid-June about Tideland. The good news supplied by Gilliam here is that Nicola Pecorini is going to be DP.

Dreams: Tideland – What’s in place? And is the cash solid?
Gilliam: Yeah! After this last screening in New York two weeks ago, I then went up to Toronto and met all the people up there and I saw already some young girls who read. The team – we’ve got a designer and Nicola’s gonna be shooting it. We’re starting shooting in September. Everything is happening. In fact today I just got this pile of more tapes of girls, and we are looking at locations. It’s quite an interesting one because I’m here [in London] and they’re there but it’s working… we’re just doing it with tapes and things.

Maybe you don’t have to go over there at all to make this film?
Yeah, maybe that’s the new way of doing it. Tony and I had a session a couple of days ago – we went through the script again and did some rewriting. We’ve just got to get the little girl – that’s the key. She’s so vital, but everything else is pretty straightforward. I’m really looking forward to it.

What plans do you have for the voices of the dolls heads?
My plan is that there is going to be just the girl’s voice. What happens in the thing is that there is a point when she’s talking to them and then at a certain point her lips stop moving and the dolls are just speaking. The way I want to do it is to have a couple of actresses next to the camera playing the parts of the dolls. And then in post we’ll get the girl to re-voice them to be like the actresses but it will be her voice. So it’s always her. Some girls have been pretty amazing I mean one did Classique with a French accent. Another one did it with an English accent. So they’re pretty good.

I read a press release saying that established actresses would be doing the voices of the dolls heads.
I don’t know where that came from.

The US cover of Tideland

11 May 2004
While Gilliam remains busy finishing off The Brothers Grimm, more developments on Tideland from Variety

“New movies by Terry Gilliam and Tom DiCillo head the slate of HanWay Films, the sales arm of Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Co.

“Thomas has finally pulled together the long-mooted Gilliam project Tideland. It will start shooting Sept. 7 in Saskatchewan, Canada, once the director has finished his current pic, Brothers Grimm.

“Co-scripted by Gilliam and Tony Grisoni, Tideland is adapted from Mitch Cullin’s novel about a girl in rural Texas who escapes from the grim reality of her life into a world of fantasy.

“She is accompanied on her adventures of the imagination by four disembodied dolls’ heads, which Thomas says will be voiced by well-known actors.

“Pic is being set up as a British/Canadian co-production, with tax coin from the U.K. and Saskatchewan. A block of European rights has been pre-sold to an investor, and HanWay will be selling those territories to distribs on the investor’s behalf.”

10 February 2004
More news on Tideland… Variety reports from Berlin that some British producers – inlcuding Jeremy Thomas – have signed up with a new production fund being launched by Prescience Film Finance, dubbed Foresight Film. Foresight has first refusal to provide up to 25% of the budget for nine potential projects with a total budget of $72 million the four producers are hoping to set up in the 2004-05 tax year. Projects include Terry Gilliam’s Tideland.

29 April 2002
Terry Gilliam tells Dreams, “Tideland hasn’t been funded yet, much to my surprise and chagrin. Might not get made this year.” The director therefore turns to other projects…

9 April 2002
An exclusive interview with Cullin is added to Dreams.

3 July 2001
Gilliam reports progress with this project to Dreams.  “Tony [Grisoni] is almost finished with the first draft of Tideland which we are doing with [producer] Jeremy Thomas. Sometime in the future.”  Also Gilliam describes this project to Total Film magazine as “kinda like Alice in Wonderland meets To Kill a Mockingbird meets Psycho“.  Phew!

14 May 2001
What’s this?  Just as we were expecting Terry Gilliam to start work on Good Omens after his jury service at Cannes, we hear that Terry Gilliam may direct a movie called Tideland before Good Omens.

Tideland is a book by Mitch Cullin, about which Gilliam has said the following: “Beautifully written. Perfectly paced. Sad. Magical. Funny. Excellent woodworking…. images kept tumbling off the page and into my eyeline – beautifully, clearly, spookily.”

The following was announced today by Screen International:
Terry Gilliam, in Cannes on the main jury, has teamed with producer Jeremy Thomas on Tideland, an adaptation of US author Mitch Cullin’s dark twist on child fantasies such as The Wizard Of Oz and Alice In Wonderland.

The often surreal story of a girl who flees from Los Angeles to a farm in Texas is shaping up as either the maverick director’s next project or his first after Renaissance Films’ Good Omens. Screenwriter Tony Grisoni is currently putting together the finishing touches to the first draft of Tideland, along with collaborating with Gilliam on Good Omens.

Budgeted at an estimated $20m, Tideland revolves around Jeliza-Rose, a girl who moves to her grandparent’s farm What Rocks after her mother dies from a drugs overdose. She escapes into a fantasy world of disembodied Barbie heads, monster sharks swimming down railroad tracks and bog men who awaken at dusk.

“[Gilliam and I] have tried to work together before on various occasions and I am thrilled to be starting this project,” said Thomas, whose credits include Sexy BeastCrash and The Last Emperor. “Mitch Cullin’s cult novel is such an evocative story of a young girl’s journey.”

Here is some more information from the publisher’s website – you can also find the first chapter of the novel here.

“Welcome to the world of Jeliza-Rose, the young female narrator of Mitch Cullin’s provocative new novel, Tideland. And what exactly has brought Jeliza-Rose from Los Angeles to rural Texas? And why won’t her father talk to her anymore, preferring instead to gaze at the wall? And who is making all that racket in the attic? In a story which is at times suspenseful, darkly surreal, and often humorous, Jeliza-Rose drifts from the harsh reality of her childhood, escaping into the fantasies of her own active imagination where fireflies have names, bog men awaken at dusk, monster sharks swim down railroad tracks, and disembodied Barbie heads share in her adventures.

“In the tradition of such cult classics as Iain Banks’ The Wasp Factory, Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy, and William Goyen’s The House of Breath, Mitch Cullin’s novel introduces us to an extraordinary world as created by an extraordinary narrator-Jeliza-Rose. Like his previous novels (Whompyjawed, Branches), Cullin offers up a unique voice, one that moves through a landscape populated with singular characters and stark imagery: a remote farmhouse in Texas owned by Noah, an aging rockabilly guitarist; the mysterious Dell, who wanders her property in a beekeeper’s hood; Dickens, the childlike man with an affinity for maps of the ocean floor, his wigwam, and sticks of dynamite. Set amongst grassy fields, alongside an abandoned quarry, in dim bedrooms and mesquite-shaded trails, Tideland illuminates those moments when the fantastic emerges from seemingly common occurrences and lives-and a lonely child discovers magic and danger behind even the most mundane of events.

“Mitch Cullin is the author of the acclaimed novels Whompyjawed and Branches. He has received a Dodge Jones Foundation grant, writing sponsorship from Recursos De Santa Fe, the Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize, and a nomination for inclusion in the ALA’s “Notable Book List, 1999.” His fiction has appeared in The Santa Fe Literary Review, Christopher Street, The Bayou Review, Austin Flux, Harrington’s Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly, and other publications. He currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.”

More to explore

Roque Baños – Scoring Quixote

Roque Baños, who composed the score for Terry Gilliam’s film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, spoke with Phil Stubbs during the picture’s postproduction.

Films in depth

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
The Zero Theorem
The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus
The Brothers Grimm
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
12 Monkeys
The Fisher King
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Time Bandits