Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin reminisce over ‘dirty time' filming Jabberwocky
Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin reminisced over filthy costumes and stolen props as they celebrated the 40th anniversary of comedy film Jabberwocky.
Palin described working on the 1977 film as a “very dirty time in my life” as they reunited for an audience Q&A as part of the BFI London Film Festival on Thursday. The Monty Python stars were also joined by Annette Badland, who played Griselda Fishfinger.
He took centre stage in the medieval-style movie as the unfortunate pauper Dennis Cooper, who finds himself unwittingly embroiled in a mission to save the countryside from a fearsome monster.
Explaining how he would wash and shave before filming, Palin said: “It was a chance to play a character all the way through… little did I know I was going to be beaten up, peed on.
“It was a very dirty time in my life … (Gilliam) tried to break me.”
A particularly awkward moment came while filming at Chepstow Castle, where the 74-year-old said: “It was a National Trust castle and that’s where I had to bare my bottom.
“There were tourists come along and ladies from Coventry who got out of their cars to see some filming … there are some pictures around of my bum.”
Director Gilliam, meanwhile, remembered how he was more concerned with sourcing bargain props, and confessed: “We found in the rubbish tip this fibre glass sewer, as a water ride. We wrote a scene to use it.
“The Pink Panther crowd found out and they destroyed it, they wouldn’t let us use it.”
Admitting that they also borrowed bits and pieces from the making of 1976 spoof Queen Kong, he continued: “The (set) we paid for was the merchant’s city room.
“The whole thing, all the street, is the (1968) Oliver! set. It was the standing set at Shepperton Studios – it was barely standing, it was limping most of the time.
“It was patched together again and it was wonderful because a lot of the decay we didn’t have to do because it was already there.
“We weren’t ashamed (that you could see) prop trucks there, but people had to find it, like Where’s Wally.”