Basically, I remember being afraid a lot of the time. I felt incredibly unsafe. I remember a couple of trips to the hospital after being in freezing water for long periods of time, losing quite a bit of my hearing for days at a time due to explosives, having my heart monitored when one went off relatively close to me, etc. I remember running through this long sort of corridor where explosives went off every few feet, things were on fire, etc. I cried hysterically in my dad’s lap and begged him to make sure I wouldn’t have to do it again, but I did. I think I did it quite a few more times. I remember the terrifying scene where we were in the boat and the horse jumped out and ended up surfacing a plastic explosive that went off right under my face. I remember being half trampled by a mob of extras and then repeating the scene several times. I remember working very long hours.
I know I had some fun as well, but it’s pretty much obliterated by the sense of fear, and exhaustion, and of not being protected by the adults around me. And again, the adults who should have been there to protect me were my parents, not you. This, of course, took some time to arrive at. I admit I was pretty furious at you for a lot of years. –Sarah Polley –Polley recalls trauma of Gilliam set (Toronto Star)
The little girl who starred in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen writes director Terry Gilliam about the trauma she remembers. Gilliam gently points out that she may be constructing memories from having seen the finished film, but Polley responds that that’s part of the point — he had no idea how the film would impact her, overall.