Sarah Polley: ‘It took me years to see how responsible Terry Gilliam was for my terror’

The little girl from Adventures of Baron Munchausen grew up thinking the explosions and fire on set were much more dangerous than director Terry Gilliam remembers them.

This was painful to read.

I couldn’t breathe. It didn’t seem possible that this could have been the plan, that things hadn’t just gone terribly wrong. But they hadn’t. This was the plan. And I had just ruined the take. I was mortified. It took a long time to reset the take and while Terry didn’t show any frustration about the delay, he also didn’t seem to notice how scared I was.

I had to do it again. I had to do it until I got it right. I went cold with fear, shaking. I sobbed in my father’s arms in between takes and pleaded with him to intervene. He held me close, soothing me. But when an assistant director came over to say they needed another take, my father said, with genuine remorse: “I’m afraid they have to do it again, love. I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do.” And so I ran the gauntlet of explosives again. And again. And again. — Sarah Polley: ‘It took me years to see how responsible Terry Gilliam was for my terror’