Malick's Biography

    The Early Years
  • Born on November 30, 1943 in Ottawa, Illinois. Eldest of three boys, Chris and Larry.
  • Grew up in Oklahoma and Texas.
  • Graduated from Harvard University with Phi Beta Kappa honours. As a Rhodes scholar, he studied philosophy at Magdalen College, Oxford University, merry old England.
  • Worked as a philosophy teacher at MIT and journalist for The New Yorker and Life magazine.
  • 1968--Malick's brother Larry studied guitar in Spain. Tragically depressed, he broke his hands and committed suicide.
  • 1969--Malick's translation of Heidegger's Vom Wesen des Grundes into English, The Essence of Reasons, was published by Northwestern University Press. The book has the original German on the left-hand pages and Malick's translation into English on the right-hand pages, presumably so that the bilingual reader can make up her own mind regarding the veracity of his translation. This practice seems paralleled by Malick's presentation of opposing viewpoints in his films while leaving the viewer to make up his own mind regarding his preferred viewpoint.

    From Philosophy to Film
  • Also in 1969--accepted to the inaugural class of the Center for Advanced Film Studies at the American Film Institute in 1969. Mike Medavoy, who would later become president of Phoenix Pictures (the studio that co-produced The Thin Red Line) became Malick's agent.
  • 1969/1970--made two short 8mm films.
  • 1970/1971--worked as script doctor on Jack Nicholson's directorial debut Drive, He Said.
  • 1971--Malick's screenplay Deadhead Miles was directed by Vernon Zimmerman and briefly rereleased in the 1980s but is unavailable on video.
  • 1972--with producer Edward R. Pressman's financing, filmed Badlands in Colorado.
  • 1973--Badlands premiered at New York Film Festival. It made no money, but critics loved it.
  • 1975--Divorced first wife Jill Jakes.
  • 1976--The casting for Days of Heaven turned hellish. Jack Nicholson and Dustin Hoffman turned down the lead role, Malick's pick John Travolta couldn't get time off to do it, and so Richard Gere was cast in the lead role.
    However, Malick and the cast of Days didn't get along during the shoot.
  • 1978--After two years of editing, Days of Heaven was released and won an Academy Award for Cinematography by Nestor Almendros ("additional photographer"/co-Director of Photographer Haskell Wexler was understandably miffed at not getting Oscar credit).

    Sadly, once again Malick's film made no money but critics loved it.

  • Also in 1978--Malick planned to make a war film set in the Middle East titled Q. But after vacationing in Paris, he decided to stay there for the next twenty years.
    Why? It's truly one of life's major mysteries. John Travolta, who was Malick's first choice for the lead role in Days, said that Malick felt betrayed by Hollywood at not being able to cast who he really wanted. And presumably during 1976 when Days was completed till its 1978 release, the studio hassled Malick over how the film should be edited.
  • 1985--Married second wife Michele, who is French.

    The Comeback Kid
  • 1996--Malick's former agent and now-Phoenix Pictures executive Mike Medavoy hosted script readings for The Thin Red Line at his house. So excited are Hollywood types about the return of Malick that luminaries Kevin Costner, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Ethan Hawke show up to read.
  • 1997--Divorced second wife Michele.
  • 1997--Directed The Thin Red Line on location in Guadalcanal Island for 20 days, near Port Douglas in northern Australia for 80 days and the US for three days.
  • 1998--Avenue Pictures is to develop Malick's adapted screenplay of Walker Percy's novel The Moviegoer.
  • 1998--The Thin Red Line is released--woohoo!
  • 1998--marries partner Ecky
  • 1999--starts Columbine Productions

Film Credits

  • The Thin Red Line (1998)
  • Days of Heaven (1978)
  • Great Balls of Fire (1989) (uncredited)
  • The Gravy Train (credited as David Whitney) (1974)
  • Badlands (1973)
  • Pocket Money (1972)
  • Deadhead Miles (1972)
  • Dirty Harry (1971) (uncredited)
  • Endurance (1998)
  • Badlands (1973)
  • Badlands (1973) (Man at rich man's door)
  • Pocket Money (1972) (uncredited)(Workman)

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