Terrence Malick has traditionally been one of the most reclusive American filmmakers. He does few interviews, and makes his films shrouded in as much secrecy as possible. But it’s very difficult to make a movie in a vacuum of late, and so we see occasional behind the scenes glimpses.

For To the Wonder, his most recent film, we’ve now got behind the scenes footage released through official channels ahead of the film’s opening. Here the actors, (Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, and Javier Bardem) discuss how there was really no script, and that their characters were shaped by Malick describing them, and that there was essentially a syllabus that included novels and philosophy.

There’s a lot here about shooting on location and the way the director likes to use light. One thing is noticeably absent in this footage, however: Terrence Malick. If you’re hoping for interviews with the still-reclusive director, forget about it. Still, this long featurette is worth a look. Read More »

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UPDATE: On The Tree of Life and another, separate Malick project here.

Today brings a rare update on legendary director Terrence Malick‘s forthcoming epic, The Tree of Life, that is quite the internet-tickler. Tacked for release sometime this year, the film stars Sean Penn, with Brad Pitt in a flashback role originally intended for Heath Ledger, and now apparently features meditative scenes with dinosaurs. The news arrives via a print-only excerpt in the latest issue of Empire

“We’re just starting work on a project for Terrence Malick, animating dinosaurs, the film is The Tree of Life. It’ll be shooting in IMAX—so the dinosaurs will actually be life size — and the shots of the creatures will be long and lingering.” – Visual Effects artist Mike Fink (X2, Mars Attacks, Project X)

The above quote first surfaced at HE, where Jeff Wells explains that Malick, who also wrote the script, is incorporating prehistoric themes from a decades-defunct passion project called Q. The film is listed in post-production, and it remains unclear if the dino-scenes (and possibly others) were shot in the newly-embraced IMAX format a la The Dark Knight. Back in 2007, when Pitt’s casting was first announced, we described the project as…

In one version of the screenplay, the story opened with “a sleeping god, underwater, dreaming of the origins of the universe, starting with the big bang and moving forward, as fluorescent fish swam into the deity’s nostrils and out again.” Malick supposedly wanted to create something that has never been seen before, and dispatched cameramen all over the world. They shot micro jellyfish on the Great Barrier Reef volcanic explosions on Mount Edna, and ice shelves breaking off in Antarctica. special effects consultant Richard Taylor describes sections of the script as “pages of poetry, with no dialogue, glorious visual descriptions.”

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