After The Fisher King was released, somewhere in the early to mid-1990s, with several projects in development hell, Terry Gilliam directed an advert for Nike, featuring baseball players. The agency was Radical Media. The advert is available to view below.
The following text is brief excerpt from the highly recommended book, “Gilliam on Gilliam”, edited by Ian Christie and published by faber and faber:
You did a commercial around that time for Nike. How did this come about?
Michael Kamen’s brother runs a commercials house in New York. He’s a very nice guy and there was a pile of money to come over and do it. It was a funny ad, easy to do, and I thought, ‘Why not?’ But it put me off doing commercials again, as they always do. I think what’s so disgusting about them is that they’re so easy. I actually feel corrupted because it’s taking the money and doing rather minor work, although everybody does it. Even Scorsese has done Armani ads. I have a funny feeling about commercials. It’s some kind of puritanism that’s floating around in the back of my head, because I worry about what they do to us and yet they’re actually an art form in themselves. They shouldn’t all be denigrated, because there are great commercials and I think the Brits have done some of the best ones. The most interesting are usually terrible at the job they’re supposed to do — i.e. selling the product. I never know what the product is, I just know I’ve seen an amazing bit of imagery.
Do you think feature films involve a different attitude and skills?
Yes, they’re very different: are you telling a story in thirty seconds or in two hours? For me, it’s not so difficult because it’s like doing a cartoon or a Python sketch: ads are short, succinct things that are easy to do. But I don’t get any pleasure out of them — they’re not worth the time, just the money.