Terrence Malick was a no-show at the Venice press conference for “To The Wonder,” which was dominated by talk of one of Malick’s favorite subjects: love. Star Olga Kurylenko was one of the more vocal attendees, who talked at length about her character who has an on-off relationship with her partner (Ben Affleck, also absent).
“The relationship in the movie is the relationship of a couple who just can’t live together,” said the “Quantum of Solace” star. “People love each other. That’s why they separate many times. I think very often when you separate you realize you do love someone. What really matters is the love, not everyday tedium and problems – people really hope it’ll work this time. The questions is, is there free will or is there something bigger than us, that no matter what we do, we have destiny?”
Present to fend off trickier questions were producers Nicolas Gonda and Sarah Green, who responded to queries about the “poster” featuring Rachel McAdams, a relatively small player in the film compared to Kurylenko. “We posted just one photograph in the early days of shooting.” said Green. “Obviously, there is no question that Olga is the lead.”
Appropriately, the actress took the lead in the press conference, revealing a close relationship with director Malick. Recalling her audition, she said, “He was doing auditions and it’s funny, he came into the room very quietly. He mainly just watched, gave me a lot of freedom. Honestly, I did feel he didn’t have to tell me he was going to work with me. I had a feeling the way he spoke to me. The telepathy there is amazing. On set, I just knew what he wanted. I think he’s psychic.”
Co-star Romina Monello echoed her words. “[Terrence] had met me once, and to know someone so well after just one meeting… I was really astonished.”
Kurylenko attended an audition in Paris and said one of the reasons her character narrates in French is that Terrence originally intended the part for a French actress. Now a French citizen, Kurylenko appreciated Malick’s focus on looks over dialogue. “Terry’s movies are very visual,” she said, saying that the director often asked her to think the words rather than speak them.
The actress was more than happy to acquiesce to Malick’s demands regarding pre-shoot reading, namely “The Brothers Karamazov,” “The Idiot” and “Anna Karenina” – books she’d first read at school . “A second time I got a totally different message. These books should be read every decade, I think.”
So where were Kurylenko and Monello’s co-stars? Said Gonda, “Javier Bardem is filming the Ridley Scott film in London. Ben is prepping for ‘Argo’s’ release, they regret they’re not here.”
As for director Malick, Brown said, “He’s buried in his work right now. We’re about to shoot another one. It’s not that he doesn’t care – he’s already thinking about the next one.”