Terry Gilliam already has several of the finest science-fiction films ever made under his belt, but thankfully for us that's not good enough. The director of Brazil and 12 Monkeys is heading back to the genre after a 17-year absence, and his new project seems a perfect fit for his particular brand of mind-bending, self-questioning stories.
It's called The Zero Theorem and will star Christoph Waltz as a computer scientist who turns his sights on discovering the purpose of existence. That alone isn't an entirely new concept - computer scientists using simulations for existential purposes has been used plenty; in fact, M. Night Syhamalan's recently announced Syfy show is about just that - but once you get into the full description, things get fully Gilliam:
Living in an Orwellian corporate world where “mancams” serve as the eyes of a shadowy figure known only as Management, Leth (Waltz) works on a solution to the strange theorem while living as a virtual cloistered monk in his home—the shattered interior of a fire-damaged chapel. His isolation and work are interrupted now and then by surprise visits from Bainsley, a flamboyantly lusty love interest who tempts him with “tantric biotelemetric interfacing” (virtual sex) and Bob. Latter is the rebellious whiz-kid teenage son of Management who, with a combination of insult-comedy and an evolving true friendship, spurs on Qohen’s efforts at solving the theorem. But these visits turn out to be intentional diversions orchestrated by Management to keep control of Qohen’s progress. Bob creates a virtual reality “inner-space” suit that will carry Qohen on an inward voyage, a close encounter with the hidden dimensions and truth of his own soul, wherein lie the answers both he and Management are seeking. The suit and supporting computer technology will perform an inventory of Qohen’s soul, either proving or disproving the Zero Theorem.
Corporation-run futures, disheveled settings, anti-establishment heroes and a journey into the self to seek enlightenment? Yep, sounds like a Terry Gilliam movie all right. Dean Zanuck, son of the late Richard Zanuck, is producing the film, which was written by Pat Rushin and is expected to begin filming this October.