Director Terry Gilliam has revealed his new project, and he’s heading back to television for it.

The Umbria Film Festival is currently underway in Montone, complete with guest appearances by Terry Gilliam, a recently minted ‘honorary citizen’ of the area.

During his chats at the festival, Gilliam announced that he is currently staying in Montone to write a new screenplay. Over on Instagram he added more detail. Just about. One single bone’s worth of further detail.

I am writing a film right now that Adam’s rib is central to the story.

This, I’m sure, is The Vorrh, an adaptation of the novel by Brian Catling. Gilliam has been working to get backing for this project for some time, and has a company – based near the studio in Elstree – devoted to just this mission. But it hasn’t been easy. In 2018, Catling told The Guardian

The problem is, film producers want you to sum it up in one page. They haven’t got patience to read the thing. They say, ‘What is it? What does it do?’ Those questions are a blank wall to me.

More recent word is far better, with Catling telling Nero that a deal has been made for a TV series (thanks to my superb friend Jérôme Anfré for the heads up).

The most recent news is that we have signed a contract to grow the forest within an epic 3 or 4 series TV production. It’s all a bit top secret right now, so my lips are sealed.

An actual contract… for development or production? We shall see.

The Vorrh, and its sequel novels The Erstwhile and The Cloven, are historical fantasies with heavy biblical components. The first book is set near and around Essenwald, a German town moved to the borders of a time-warping African forest, the Vorrh of the title. There are mutated post-angels (or perhaps post-demons), robots, a cyclops, an army with a hive-mind. It’s a passionately political book and there are so many ideas in it that it would take somebody like Gilliam, and probably even Gilliam himself, to stuff even half of them into a film.

But Gilliam can do it. Stuffing films to bursting is one thing he has absolutely mastered.

More news on The Vorrh as and when it bubbles up. There’s a BBC Arena about Catling due to air in the coming weeks so I’ll be watching that keenly.


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