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Plot Details Firmed Up For Terrence Malick’s Untitled Ben Affleck/Rachel McAdams Film

Plot Details Firmed Up For Terrence Malick's Untitled Ben Affleck/Rachel McAdams Film

That’s His Next Film, Not His Next Next Film, His Next Next Next Film Or His Next Next Next Next Film

What in the name of grace and nature has gotten into Terrence Malick recently? With the announcement yesterday of two new projects both starring Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett — “Lawless,” also with Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara, and “Knight of Cups” with Isabel Lucas — it means that the reclusive auteur looks likely to make more films in the space of this decade than he did in the previous 35 put together. Of course, he unveiled “The Tree of Life” this year, and has the IMAX documentary “Voyage of Time” reportedly still in the works, not to mention his rumored involvement with “Green Lantern 2.” Okay, that we just made up.

But there’s one more that shouldn’t be forgotten, considering that Malick already has it in the can — the untitled romantic drama, also referred to as “The Burial.” The film shot at the end of 2010 — plus reshoots in Paris this spring — with a cast including Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel Weisz, Javier Bardem, Barry Pepper, Charles Baker and Jessica Chastain — but solid plot details have, as is usually the case with Malick’s projects, been thin on the ground. However, 24 Frames have a few updates on the project, including a logline that gels with a gossipy, spoilery report that surfaced on The Wrap late last year.

The LA Times blog says that the film “concerns a philanderer (Affleck) who, feeling at loose ends, travels to Paris, where he enters a hot-and-heavy affair with a European woman (Kurylenko). Said Lothario returns home to Oklahoma, where he marries the European woman (in part for visa reasons). When the relationship founders, he rekindles a romance with a hometown girl (McAdams) with whom he’s had a long history.” As set photos last year confirmed, Bardem plays a priest in the picture that Affleck’s character visits for advice. Supposedly the contemporary set film — the first in Malick’s career — is set to retain the director’s trademark distinctive visuals, while also being perhaps more commercial and upbeat than, say “The Tree of Life.” But then, you never know with Malick, do you.

There’s plenty of mysteries left on this one, however. For example, it emerged this week that Michael Sheen and Amanda Peet both have small roles in the film; how do they figure into the picture? Is it really called “The Burial?” How do Rachel Weisz’s $100 protein bars fit in? And, perhaps most importantly, when will we end up seeing the thing? Malick wrote in a statement earlier in the year that the film was “rushing towards a mix,” which sounds positive, and StudioCanal (then Optimum) bought the U.K. rights, planning a 2012 release for the film.

But with Malick shooting two films in 2012, if the film isn’t ready before he gets his next one underway, we could end up facing a wait as long as the one for “The Tree of Life,” particularly as the director has supposedly refused to sell the film to a U.S. distributor so far. But then, Malick does seem to have a new fire in his belly, so it’s conceivable that the movie could be close to completion. Is another return to trip to Cannes next spring in the works? Let’s hope so.

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