Terry Gilliam didn’t know ‘The Zero Theorem’ theme ‘Creep’ was a Radiohead song

Lounge cover of the Radiohead single is used extensively in the director's new film

Film director Terry Gilliam has admitted he didn’t know ‘Creep’ was a Radiohead song, despite using a version of it as the theme to his new movie The Zero Theorem.

The science fiction drama, which was released in cinemas last week (March 14), uses Karen Souza’s lounge music version of ‘Creep’ as its theme. But Gilliam told NME he had never heard the song until a sound engineer on the film played it to him.

“I didn’t know Radiohead’s version of ‘Creep’ at all,” said Gilliam. “I had no idea they had anything to do with it.”


The Zero Theorem stars Christoph Waltz as a computer genius trying to develop a programme to prove that life is meaningless, before he falls for call girl Bainsley (Melanie Thierry). ‘Creep’ is also used as the intro music on Bainsley’s porn website.

“I hadn’t listened to the lyrics of ‘Creep’ until the film was being edited,” said Gilliam, who has reunited with the other surviving members of Monty Python for 10 concerts at London’s O2 in July. “Suddenly, it was as if the song had been written for the film, because the lyrics were perfect. That’s where film magic happens, when all the elements you’re working on suddenly come together. Karen’s version is so beautiful in the way it flows, so I wanted her version, not the original.”

Gilliam himself believes that life is meaningless. “I probably finished the film more pessimistic than when I started,” he said. “Life has no meaning. It just is. It’s atoms and molecules, which double and triple. That’s it. You give meaning to life in what you choose to do and believe in.”

Gilliam denied reports that The Zero Theorem is intended to complete a trilogy with his films Brazil and Twelve Monkeys, but accepted there are similarities. “Someone else said that it’s a trilogy,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s not true. It evens things up to say so. ‘We’ve got a trilogy’; that makes sense. There’s elements of all my films in The Zero Theorem, or that’s what I thought when I read the script.”

Asked if smartphones with video cameras had democratised film-making, Gilliam responded: “Anybody can make a bad film. That’s a great freedom. But how many people can make a good film? I love that people can do it, but if I were a Native American I’d worry. Every time you take a picture a little bit of your soul is removed, and we’re soulless people now, having taken so many selfies for so long.”