Terry Gilliam wanted Katherine Helmond as Mrs. Ogre but the studio didn’t think she was a big enough star and suggested Ruth Gordon. Ruth broke her leg on the set of a different movie and the studio finally agreed to Katherine. (x)
Universal executive Sid Sheinberg didn’t want the film released because he thought it too pessimistic, the ending was downbeat, and it was not commercial enough for mainstream acceptance. Terry Gilliam refused to back down and showed the film to several LA film critics. They declared it the best film of the year.