News and Articles on Terrence Malick


Farm Fatale
March 30, 2003: Last night, I saw Tully, a small treasure of an independent American film. Go see this film! If only because the filmmakers cite Malick as one of their influences. Producer Anne Sundberg told me that they had Days of Heaven in mind when they filmed Tully's magic hour shots. Set on a midwestern farm, Tully is a tale of love, death, life and family told honestly and sometimes surprisingly. Just gorgeous.

From Swimfan to Undertow
March 25, 2003: Shiri Appleby has joined the cast of the upcoming Undertow to be directed by Malick disciple David Gordon Green (George Washington) and produced by Malick himself. Yay! Appleby's best-known for playing the human half of a pair of star-crossed, alien-human lovers on the teen space opera Roswell (a show siller than all that sounds). But she's a really really good actress.

Going with the Undertow
February 17, 2003: Malick is producing the latest film directed by David Gordon Green (George Washington) who consciously acknowledges Malick as one of his greatest influences. Written by Green adn Joe Conway, Undertow stars Dermot Mulroney, Josh Lucas as his "volatile" and "dangerous" brother, and Jamie Bell as Mulroney's son, who scarpers with his younger brother when uncle Josh shows up. Shooting will take place in Savannah, Georgia beginning in April.

Director of photography Tim Orr told The Village Voice that Malick is his and Green's "primary influence and favourite filmmaker ever." Orr calls the upcoming Undertow a Night of the Hunter like film about kids on the run but promises it'll have the look of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Says Orr, "If you told me four years ago that we'd be making a film with Terrence Malick, I'd say you were crazy." Crazy like a fox!

Casualty of War
February 3, 2003: Malick's latest film has become a casualty before even the first shot is fired. After scouting locations in Morocco for his latest, an "untitled desert adventure," Malick's had to put the project on hold since he can't get it bonded. Why ever not?

"We have to assume that within 8 to 10 weeks, we'll be at war," said Richard Holbrooke, ex-UN ambassador to Hollywood studio heads on Jan. 29. (Post-script on March 30, now 10 days into the latest U.S.-Iraq war: If you want the scoop on world politics, read Variety! Not the useless TV news networks, who in January were nattering about "If it comes to war...")

Nick Nolte on Malick
January 19, 2003: Nick Nolte talks about Malick to Time Out:

'Terrence Malick is oblique. As I got into that role, Terry would come tome and show me a few pages he'd written, and I'd read this wonderful poem. I'd say: "That's great, Terry, but it's six pages." He said: "Yes, take those six pages and edit it down to what you would say." So I would edit it down, show it to Terry and he'd say "It's a bit long " I'd end up with one or two lines out of six pages.

'My first day on set, the actors had called a meeting and he asked me to come along. So I watched all the actors talk about why they felt so discombobulated. One complaint was that he didn't finish scenes. Terry listened to everything, and at the end said: "Thank you, this has been a wonderful meeting, you're absolutely right, and we must do what we've talked about." They're all looking at Terry like, "We do it? What can we do?" I've never seen a guy defuse a situation like that.

'So I watched Terry. He would start shooting the scene, but watch the sky. And about six, when the sky was just right, he'd say "That's enough of this scene, let's revisit the scene we shot the other day. Nothing will match, but that's fine " He was finishing the scenes in golden light. He couldn't tell the studio he was only going to shoot in golden light, they would have freaked, so he would hold these scenes off. The actor didn't get to do what he wanted to do, John Toll didn't get to photograph it the way he wanted to, and Terry didn't get to shoot it as he'd written it. All those elements were thrown out, and the only new element was this light that's what it was about.'

Malick Goes In Country
December 2, 2002: The Malick-produced Beautiful Country is shooting on location in Vietnam in resort town Na Trang. The film stars Nick Nolte and Harvey Keitel as brothers (okay) with a U.S. soldier father (gotcha) and a Vietnamese mother (huh? Aren't Nolte and Keitel a whiter shade of pale for that?).

Review Less Than Rosy For Dawn
October 14, 2002: You would think that a film subtitled On Terrence Malick would feature, well, Malick. But no. Malick fails to show in the Italian documentary Rosy-Fingered Dawn: A Film on Terrence Malick. An acording to the review in Variety, the film fails to glow. The documentary screened at the Venice Film Festival.

Tuck Thanks Terry
September 9, 2002: The new film Tuck Everlasting is beautifully-lensed, and that's not just because Alexis Bledel (TV's Gilmore Girls) and Jonathan Jackman (TV soap General Hospital) are in it! The filmmakers had Malick in mind, which is why his name appears in the acknowledgements at the end. The titular Tuck family may be everlasting, but disappointing box office receipts foreshadowed a quick end for the film. Too bad, because it's actually quite good.

Rock On!
August 19, 2002: Asif Kapadia will direct Brighton Rock which Malick is producing with Grant Hill (The Thin Red Line). Kapadia made his feature film directing debut with The Warrior, which has yet to be released in my small hamlet of Seattle, Washington.

Faith No More?
May 29, 2002: Sad news: Thin Red Line co-producer John Roberdeau died May 6 in New York. It may no doubt affects Senator John McCain, who signed a deal with Roberdeau and Thin Red Line co-producer Robert Michael Geisler to turn his autobiography Faith of My Fathers into a biopic.

News of the deal was somewhat surprising, since the last film Geisler and Roberdeau produced ended in a bitter feud with Thin Red Line director Terrence Malick banning them from the set. A May 29 New York Times story described the duo's financial difficulties, including the fact that they've filed for bankruptcy a total of four times, something which was not known by McCain. (CLARIFICATION: Geisler and Roberdeau put four companies into bankruptcy.)

The senator said it was his dream that actor Robert Duvall play his father and Edward Norton play himself as a young man. Now it remains to be seen whether that dream will come true.

Malick Goes Country--Again
May 24, 2002: Variety reports that Malick will produce one Beautiful Country. Malick will team up again with co-producer Edward Pressman (Badlands) and star Nick Nolte (The Thin Red Line) to produce a film based on Malick's original story. The film, wrtten by Sabrina Murray and Larry Gross, will co-star Harvey Keitel and focus on the aftermath of American involvement in the Vietnam war.

Beautiful Country has been in development since February 2000 with Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) originally slated to direct. That's changed, but don't get your hopes up for Malick to step in. Hans Petter Moland (Aberdeen) will direct.

Shooting is scheduled for September in the U.S. as well as an unnamed Southeast Asian country. Hmm, could it be Vietnam?

The Sporting Life
At long last, what everyone's been waiting for--the Terrence Malick football movie! I kid you not.

May 3, 2002: Variety reports that Malick's teaming up with fellow Texan Richard Linklater (Waking Life) to produce a movie about high school football players. Linklater will direct the so-called "fictional documentary" (isn't that called docudrama?). The film will focus on the Black Cats team of Bay City, Texas, a small town some 80 miles from Houston.

Linklater plans to intercut real games and fans with the actors. "It was also important that the team be ethnically diverse," said Linklater, a former quarterback, in a letter addressed to the Bay City school board. Said superintendent Richard Walton: "(Linklater) said, 'I just want people to understand what it means to play Texas high school football because it meant so much to me and to so many people.'"

Filming will begin in the fall.

Senator John McCain Keeps the Faith
April 15, 2002: Thin Red Line producers Robert Michael Geisler and John Roberdeau plan to produce the movie version of Senator John McCain's best-selling autobiography Faith of My Fathers. McCain's memoir centres on his Navy admiral father and grandfather and how that helped him cope with 5-plus years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

"I wrote 'Faith of My Fathers' to acknowledge my first and most important advantage in life: to have been born the son and grandson of Navy officers," Senator McCain said. "Bobby Geisler and John Roberdeau understand why that single biographical fact has influenced every important decision of my life. Their fathers had worn the uniform, too. I know that Bobby and John will bring to the subject both affection for the honor of military legacies and an appreciation for the challenges they impose."

Geisler and Roberdeau responded, "We are deeply honored that Senator McCain has called on us to tell the story of his family heritage and the price he paid personally as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Young aviator McCain resisted the temptation of an early release in favor of the love and duty he felt for his brothers-in-arms."

They're referring to the offer of release McCain's north Vietnamese captors made to him after the then-naval aviator was shot down and seriously injured. McCain turned them down and remained as a prisoner for over 5 years.

Gawain and Do It, Malick!
March 29, 2002: The Independent of London newspaper had this to say about Malick's next project:
"Caviezel's old friend Malick (also a Catholic) is apparently planning to make a film of the Middle English poem, Gawain and the Green Knight. Gawain is a proud and virtuous knight tempted three times by a beautiful lady, the Green Knight an emissary from God who ultimately exposes the chinks in his armour. Caviezel may well have talked himself out of a job by the time Malick gets round to casting, but he'd make a perfect Gawain. He's so determined to be a saint, but what he always sounds is human."
That was from an article on Thin Red Line star Jim Caviezel, plugging his new movie The Count of Monte Cristo.

The Falcon and the Showman
March 29, 2002: If you've seen The Thin Red Line, you know from all the nature shots how much Malick loves birds. Now he may make a movie about them. Entertainment Weekly reports: "It doesn't sound very high-concept, which may be one reason Terrence Malick likes the story: Two guys in a beat-up Cessna Skyhawk track peregrine falcons on their long migration from the Arctic to South America. That's the subject of Aloft, which naturalist Alan Tennant has just sold to Knopf for a rumored $ 650,000--and which the director of Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line may adapt for the screen. "Alan and Terry are old friends, and they have what I would say is an informal arrangement," says Tennant's agent, David McCormick. While the movie would focus on the buddies--Tennant and World War II veteran pilot George Vose--the book mixes the adventure of tracking a falcon through the air with the author's passion for bird lore and natural science. "They almost die 50 different ways, and they find out all these things scientists didn't know," says Knopf editor Deborah Garrison, who hopes to publish in 2004."

Brighton Up, Malick Fans!
May 17, 2001: Variety reports that Malick will produce a new adaptation of Brighton Rock, a novel written by Graham Greene. Unfortunately, Malick will neither write nor direct it himself. The screenplay will be adapted by British writer Don MacPherson ("The Avengers" and the upcoming "Possession" directed by Neil LaBute).

Malick and Grant Hill, who produced The Thin Red Line, will produce the film for Intermedia Films. Brighton Rock is slated to shoot in the UK in summer 2002. The original 1947 version directed by John Boulting starred Richard Attenborough as Pinky, a gangster whose life goes downhill after killing a rival.

Variety speculates that, "It's thought that his [Malick's] enthusiasm for producing "Brighton Rock" reflects a desire to increase his movie output without always having to take on the chores of directing."

    Film Reviews
  • Millett, Allan. December 1999. "The Thin Red Line." Journal of American History 86:3:1429+.
  • Morisson, James. 1999. "The Thin Red Line." Film Quarterly 53:1:35-38.
  • Stevens, Sharon Ritenour. July 1999. "The Thin Red Line." Journal of Military History 63:3:706-709.
  • Cohen, Eliot. 1999. "The Thin Red Line: Let It Slip Away." SAIS Review 19:2:237-241.
  • Cull, Nicholas. June 1999. "The Thin Red Line." American Historical Review 104:3:1050.
  • Grant, Megan. June 1999. "War is Hell? (War According to Hollywood)" Arena Magazine pp.70+.
  • Craven, Peter. June 1999. "War Lines." Quadrant 43:6:67.
  • Doherty, Thomas. 1999. "The Thin Red Line." Cineaste 24:2-3:83+.
  • Alleva, Richard. March 12 1999. "The Thin Red Line." Commonweal 126:5:15+.
  • Macnab, Geoffrey. March 1999. "The Thin Red Line." Sight and Sound pp. 53-54.
  • Hynes, Samuel. February 26 1999. "The Thin Red Line." New Statesman 129:4425:41+.
  • Klawans, Stuart. February 19 1999. "In memory of movies as grand but futile gestures." Chronicle of Higher Education 45:24:B9-B10.
  • Simon, John. January 25 1999. "Of Blood and a Poet." National Review 51:1:54-56.
  • Kauffmann, Stanley. January 25 1999. "On Films After Twenty Years." The New Republic p.24.
  • Travers, Peter. January 21 1999. Rolling Stone 804:83-84.
  • Johnson, Brian D. January 18 1999. "Apocalypse Then: Terrence Malick is Back with a Hallucinatory War Saga." Maclean's p. 52.
  • Shargel, Raphael. January 11 1999. "Triumphs of Independence." The New Leader 82:1:18.
  • Lane, Anthony. December 28 1998. "Doing Battle." The New Yorker 74:40:138-140.
  • McCarthy, Todd. December 21 1998. "The Thin Red Line." Variety 373:6:73.
    Scholarly Articles
  • Donougho, Martin. 1985. "West of Eden: Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven" Post Script 5:1, 17-30.
  • Henderson, Brian. 1983. "Exploring Badlands" Wide Angle 5:4, 38-51.
  • Philipp, Claus. 1993. "Ein verschwundener Rebell: Der US-amerikanische Filmerzahler Terrence Malick und seine beiden Filme 'Badlands' (1973) und 'Days of Heaven' (1980) (sic) Blimp 25, 9-12.
  • Whalen, Tom. 1999. "'Maybe All Men Got One Big Soul': The Hoax within the Metaphysics of Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line." Literature Film Quarterly 27:3:162-66.
  • Wondra, Janet. 1994. "A Gaze Unbecoming: Schooling the Child for Femininity in Days of Heaven." Wide Angle 16:4:4-22.
  • Zaller, Robert. 1999. "Raising the Seventies: The Early Films of Terrence Malick." Boulevard 15:1-2:141-155.

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