No, Terry Gilliam Did Not Defile a 12th-Century Portuguese Religious Monument
It almost sounds like something that would happen to Don Quixote, that calamity-prone knight errant: Terry Gilliam has been roving the European countryside as of late, shooting in Spain and Portugal for his freely interpretive Miguel de Cervantes adaptation/riff The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. During this production process, he and his crew set up shop near a 12th-century religious monument called the Convent of Christ. Word has now been circulating that Gilliam and Co. did irreparable damage to the widely beloved landmark, in the sort of well-intentioned accident that Don Quixote himself pretty much invented.
Not so, say local Portuguese authorities. The Hollywood Reporter relayed word from the General-Directorate for Heritage, a person I imagine wearing comically tiny eyeglasses, that the damage sustained by the Convent was “insignificant” and that Gilliam would not face any punishments for it. The report went on to directly contradict an earlier notice from public broadcaster Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, claiming that the earlier overstatements “lacked rigor and revealed a lack of scientific knowledge.” But, hey, with all the delays that Gilliam’s production has already sustained, this would’ve been the cherry on top.
Fun fact about the Convent of Christ, included in THR’s item: it was a former stronghold of the Knights Templar, a clandestine order of Christian soldiers that readers may remember as the guys who came up with the wild goose chase in National Treasure. So while they’re touching up whatever dings Gilliam might have left around the place, maybe take a look for any hidden messages. Spray some warm lemon juice on some stuff — couldn’t hurt, that’s all I’m saying.