Terry Gilliam is the writer and director behind some of the most creative and darkly humorous films of the last 30 years including Time Bandits, Brazil and 12 Monkeys. In a recent interview with Collider to promote his new film, The Zero Theorem, Gilliam gets sidetracked into a discussion about U.S. politics. He winds up suggesting there are certain people he’d like to have shot, sounding a bit like a villain from one of his own dystopian fantasies:
It’s interesting that we look to
that as sort of permission to go with that philosophy since I doubt any
human being will be around anyway at that point. We should maybe be
looking at our own mortality as the signpost for that.
GILLIAM: Your Republican will do that, yes. Your Republican thinks
like that. I remember when Reagan was president, the secretary of the
interior was a guy who was an Armageddonist who actually believed the
end of days were not too far in the distant future. He was put in
charge of the environment and his approach was of course, not to protect
it, but let’s get as much money as we can before Jesus comes back. And
I despise that. We’re here and we’ve got to do whatever we can to keep
the place running. We think in terms of quarterly statements and we
should be thinking a little bit further in advance of that. At least
the communists had ten year plans. We don’t have that anymore.
Actually, the communists had five-year plans, and those plans didn’t work. In fact, the failure of these efforts resulted in the starvation of millions of people. But, hey, if Gilliam thinks five-year plans really showed capitalists how to run things, well that’s pretty pathetic.
But Gilliam didn’t stop there. He ended up making the case for environmentalism and then suggesting the short-sighted capitalists would get a bullet if he were running things:
A lot of times that kind of thought absolves people of
responsibility. I think a lot of times they go with it because it’s the
most convenient thing and it makes the most sense for those quarterly
GILLIAM: Yeah, I know. It’s about how you are inside and there will
always be those people and there will be all the others that worry about
every single thing we do that might cause damage to the planet. I’m
somewhere leaning more towards the damage to the planet side, much more
towards that. This is the problem, it’s like if you happen to be a
Presbyterian, which I was as a kid, there’s a thing called
predestination that creates the same situation. You’re going to heaven
or hell no matter what you do in life, because you’ve been predestined,
so your job is to lead an ethical, moral, and hardworking life while
you’re here, but you’re going to go to hell anyway [laughs]. But it’s
what you do while you’re here, and what you should be doing is living
hopefully and trying to balance your needs and the needs of the world
and the planet, and don’t fuck the place up. So that’s the problem with
the idea that it’s all going to go to rat shit eventually so let’s make
as much money as possible. Those people will always be a fungus and if
I was running the country I would take them out and shoot them frankly,
but that’s something else [laughs].
That’s definitely something else. Maybe one day Gilliam will make a film about environmentalists who want to murder the “fungus” who disagree with them.