As much as I hated Terry Gilliam's last film, Tideland, I still consider him my favorite living filmmaker (Tideland was the first to completely disappoint me) and was looking forward to his next feature, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus more than possibly any other film in the works. Unfortunately, Parnassus lost its star when Heath Ledger died suddenly last week, and there was lots of talk that Gilliam's latest would be scrapped. Anyone who has followed Gilliam's career knows that would be more than tragic, because Parnassus would be the second major work of Gilliam's to go unfinished after shooting had begun (see the depressing documentary Lost in La Mancha for the story on his shut-down project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote). Well, after rumors that Ledger would be replaced by Johnny Depp, who would come in and reshoot the late actor's scenes, there is a new claim that Gilliam is going to keep Ledger's footage and continue the shoot using special effects magic.

The claim comes from Parnassus co-star Christopher Plummer, who spoke to People magazine and had this to say: "Fortunately, because the film deals with magic, there is a way, perhaps, of turning Heath into other people and then, using stills and I think they call it CGI..." Plummer, who plays the title character in the film, also mentioned that Gilliam wants to finish the film for his friend (Ledger) and dedicate it to him, too. Additionally Plummer spoke on the working conditions of the Parnassus shoot in London and on Ledger's health prior to his leaving the set, further providing for speculation that Ledger's death was of non-narcotic causes. Anyway, about the finishing with CGI Ledger, that is excellent news, and something I've been expecting to happen all along (if it was good enough for The Crow 14 years ago, it's good enough now). I absolutely loved Ledger in The Brothers Grimm (the first of Gilliam's films to somewhat disappoint me), and I can't wait to see him and his computerized clones in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.