In the absence of Terrence Malick (naturally…), Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem and Rachel McAdams, it was left to Olga Kurylenko to fly the flag for “To The Wonder” at the film’s Venice press conference, alongside producers Sarah Green and Nicolas Gonda and Italian co-star Romina Mondello. But as this morning’s screening revealed, “To The Wonder” is Kurylenko’s film more than anyone else’s (Green referred to her as “the lead”) so at least the front-and-center star was on hand.
Of course the former Bond girl (“Quantum Of Solace”) was delighted that Malick chose her to play Affleck’s on/off lover in his sixth feature, but she possibly raised a few eyebrows when she insisted she shared a telepathic connection with the reclusive filmmaker. “In the audition, he didn’t have to tell me he was going to work with me,” she explained. “The telepathy between us was amazing because on set he didn’t need to speak to me that much, I just knew what he wanted. I understand him so well, it’s an amazing communication. He knew exactly who I am from the moment of meeting me without even speaking to me. It’s a bit scary.”
That was the most interesting titbit in a press conference otherwise light on stories and revelations and missing most of its major players. Green, who’s been producing Malick’s films since “The New World,” and Gonda, who stepped up to join her after a co-producing role on “The Tree Of Life,” revealed that the production set up shop several months early in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where most of “To The Wonder” is set. They wanted to get to know the local community in the hopes of getting them invested in the film, and the move paid off. Several of the town’s residents appear on screen, particularly in scenes with Bardem who plays the parish priest.
On Malick’s sudden productivity (“To The Wonder” trails “The Tree Of Life” and will be followed by “Voyage Of Time,” which recently completed shooting), Gonda said, “People are hungry for new ideas, and especially for somebody so bold to explore them, so I think it’s clear that the appetite is there [for his films].”
“It’s exciting to work with someone as original as Terrence. He really is enjoying stretching the boundaries,” added Green. “He’s on a creative roll. He just finished shooting another movie and he’s already thinking about the next one.”