Comic-Con 2013: The Zero Theorem

The-Zero-TheoremNo Comic Con is complete without a little bit of weirdness on one of the panels and thankfully we had a new film from writer/director/Monty Python veteran Terry Gilliam to provide plenty of weirdness.  The Zero Theorem is the latest project from the famed and eccentric director of films such as 12 Monkeys and Brazil.  Occurring later in the afternoon on Thursday in Hall H, it was certainly a low-key but interesting panel to watch, as Gilliam makes very interesting films, which are sometimes a success and sometimes a mess.  Here is the panel description:  Appearing on stage to introduce the trailer, the first 10 minutes from the film and take your questions are producers Zev Foreman (Killer Joe), Dean Zanuck (Get Low) and Terry’s daughter Amy Gilliam (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), who produced many of the commercials featured in the film. The panel will be moderated by Gina McIntyre of the Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex.  Read on to learn more about what went down on this panel as well as see some brand new photos from the film.


Terry Gilliam was unfortunately unable to make the panel, nor were any of the stars, including Christoph Waltz, who I would have welcomed wholeheartedly, if he were there.  Regardless, Gilliam did have a presence at the panel for his film and I am not just talking about his daughter Amy, who was there.  No, I am talking about the video introduction that Terry Gilliam made for the Comic Con audience, which did a number of things to set the mood.  Given that Gilliam is an eccentric figure in the realm of filmmaking, the way in which he conducted himself was humorous with a tinge of paranoia (in a satirical manner) behind it.  This is made clear by his frequent citing of the NSA listening in and how he hoped that they would be the ones responsible for leaking the video to Comic Con.  The introduction video also gave a setup to the footage of the film we were about to see, as watching Gilliam talk to the audience from inside a musty room filled with all sorts of random objects, papers, and monitors was very similar to this story about a reclusive computer genius.  Let me just get to what was seen as far as the film goes.

First up, the trailer for The Zero Theorem played.  Attempting to describe it could be tricky, as I am pretty sure letters, numbers, and symbols would be needed to do it proper justice.  Condensing a Terry Gilliam film to a 2-minute trailer is not a way to really highlight the strengths, but I can say that it seems to be a mix of a lot of elements seen in previous Gilliam features, Brazil most notably.  Christoph Waltz is indeed the star of the film and he dons a bald head and much of the rest of his body in the footage seen.  It would appear that he is at the center of some sort of mysterious business taking place in a future society and things only become more complicated from there.


Slightly more effective was getting to watch the first 10 minutes of the film.  I would have preferred more setup or discussion, but given that the panel had (no offense) the least interesting people to talk about the movie up on stage, I was happy to take what I got.  The film begins with a long shot pulling out from the depths of space, only to reveal a naked man sitting in front a monitor, working away.  This man is Waltz’s character, who then begins his day.  He gets dressed and heads outside where we are introduced to the world these characters exist in.  It is very colorful, but also full of pollution and other details that very much put the film right in line with other Gilliam efforts that emphasize the world-building from the get go.  Eventually we watch Waltz’s character head inside some kind of cyber bar, which leads him to a conversation with David Thewlis’ character.  It is all setup for some larger picture, which will incorporate whatever the Zero Theorem actually is.


Directed by Oscar nominee Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), THE ZERO THEOREM revolves around an eccentric and reclusive computer genius  (two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz) plagued with existential angst who works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence ­or the lack thereof­ once and for all. However, it is only once he experiences the power of love and desire that he is able to understand his very reason for being.


Directed by Terry Gilliam
Written by Pat Rushin

2 time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Oscar winner Tilda Swinton (upcoming Only Lovers Left Alive), Ben Whishaw (Skyfall), Mélanie Thierry (Ombline), David Thewlis (Harry Potter series) and Lucas Hedges (Moonrise Kingdom)

CINEMATOGRAPHY BY Nicola Pecorini (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
EDITED BY Mick Audsley (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, High Fidelity)
COMPOSED BY Oscar nominee George Fenton (Dangerous Liaisons, Gandhi)

The Zero Theorem Hits Theaters 20 December 2013


No trailer yet, but here is some making of footage and photos from the film:

The Zero Theorem - Terry Gilliam behind the scenes BIG The Zero Theorem - Christoph Waltz in the street BIG zip-t-600x255

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com.


1 Response to “Comic-Con 2013: The Zero Theorem”

  1. Sean Ferguson

    I’m glad you covered this and not me because you are right it’s tough to describe what we saw although you did a good job at it. I really liked Gilliam’s introduction but I think it ran five minutes too long and it ran out of steam by the end. This movie looks out there but I’ll give it a shot because it looks interesting at least.