With the Cannes premiere and Palme d’Or win now come and gone and the roll out for “The Tree Of Life” beginning this Friday, the long wait for Terrence Malick’s latest is finally over. But that doesn’t mean the project isn’t without its mysteries. As Malick fans know, at some point in the film’s gestation, plans were floated for a companion documentary entitled “Voyage Of Time” that would screen in IMAX.
Just to recap, back in 2009 bits and pieces of info about the project leaked with word that Brad Pitt would narrate and that the film would contain dinosaurs and chronicle the birth and death of the universe. Sound familiar? As always with Malick, it appears his plans for both “The Tree Of Life” and “Voyage Of Time” have shifted and changed and as readers will know from any cursory review of the film, dinosaurs and cosmos abound in Malick’s latest film. When we caught the film in Cannes, we thought that perhaps this meant that Malick simply fused the two projects together during the extensive editing process but according to producer Bill Pohlad, “Voyage Of Time” is still very much on the table.
“It’s still a strong desire of Terry’s,” Pohland said at the Hollywood premiere of the film (via ComingSoon), “and we’re all kind of working on getting it together… There will be footage that we shot during the course of ‘Tree of Life’ that we shot during that movie, but it won’t be that same footage.”
So, the characters reappear in “Voyage Of Time” or will it be more of the free form space footage featured in “Tree Of Life”? “Largely the latter,” producer Dede Gardner said, “But, again, it’s going to change, too. There’s some new stuff getting shot.” Whoa, wait. New stuff getting shot? That’s definitely the first we’ve heard of any movement on that project since “The Tree Of Life” slowly took the foreground. But a whole, IMAX sized film in the style of the poetic, free form universe sections of “The Tree Of Life”? We’d be there in a second. Of course, details are as usual scarce so there’s no word if Pitt’s narration will stick, if any “Tree Of Life” footage will carry over or even if the project will ever get finished. Malick will take his time and we’ll just have to be there when he’s ready.
But it’s certainly a very prolific time for the director. He recently wrapped another film in something a record pace, a drama starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem, Rachel Weisz, Olga Kurylenko, Barry Pepper and featuring a small role for Jessica Chastain. The actress herself recently dropped that little morsel of news but even she won’t believe that she’s in the final cut until Malick finishes it up.
“I feel weird saying I was in two [Malick] films,” she said. “I can say I was on two sets. I’m in one film and I was on another set. I don’t know if I’m going to be in that film. It was a small [part]. I was only there for two days.”
So, the universe, life and death, fractured family relationships….what on Earth does Terrence Malick do to crack a smile? Apparently, when he needs a laugh, he throws on his copy of “Zoolander.” In a recent profile of the director in The Independent, they reported:
He is also said to be such a fan of ‘Zoolander,’ the 2001 send-up of the fashion world, that colleagues say he watches it regularly and likes to quote it. Ben Stiller, the star of the film, once dressed up in character and recorded him a special birthday video message.
That’s kind of amazing and hopefully will help shatter the myth of Malick as some kind of eccentric recluse with no sense of humor. Plus, the thought of Malick sitting at home chuckling as Owen Wilson says “They’re in the computer?” is priceless. Terry, if you ever need company for a night of “Zoolander,” we’ll bring the popcorn. And Ben, if you need an inspired choice to direct “Zoolander 2“….just sayin’….
“The Tree Of Life” opens in limited release this weekend and nationwide on July 8th.