Terry Gilliam faced a problem in 1985: Although it had been released without a hitch by distributors outside the US, his final cut of Brazil was deemed unfit for release in North America by executives at Universal. Faced with Gilliam’s stern refusal to re-edit his work and craft a more commercial movie as proposed, a team at Universal — headed by Sidney Sheinberg — took on the job themselves and began to reshape the film. In October, with hands tied, Gilliam went public, and responded by way of a very brief open letter to Sheinberg. It was printed as a full-page ad in Variety and can be seen below.
Gilliam’s cut of Brazil went underground and, despite being unreleased, was quickly awarded Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Director by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. An official release soon followed.
Dear Sid Sheinberg
When are you going to release my film, ‘BRAZIL’?