New Details on Terrence Malick’s Romantic Drama Starring Ben Affleck, and Is He Shooting Another Film This Year?

     May 28, 2011

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Writer/director Terrence Malick’s latest film, The Tree of Life, just opened in limited release this weekend, marking only the fifth film released by the auteur in an almost 40-year career. To say Malick takes his time in choosing and editing projects is an understatement. But the director’s trademark lag between productions may now be a thing of the past. Last year, Malick shot his follow-up to Tree of Life, a romantic drama starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem, Rachel Weisz, Barry Pepper and Olga Kurylenko. While details on the plot are extremely hard to come by (typical of a Malick film), a bit more information has been unveiled about the drama.

Previously referred to as Burial, the untitled drama is a love story described as being even more experimental than Tree of Life, a film that has drawn some polarizing responses given its lack of narrative and expansive reach for greatness, despite winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Someone who has seen footage from Malick’s follow-up stated that the director’s trademark meditativeness “is there in spades.” Even more interesting, though, is the fact that Malick has alerted his production crew to keep the summer and fall open to possibly shoot another film this year. Hit the jump for more.

terrence-malick-imageThe Affleck-starred drama shot in a small town in Malick’s home state of Oklahoma last year (see set photos here), but 24 Frames’ report states that there have been at least two sets of reshoots requiring the actors to fly to Paris this past March. Tree of Life star Jessica Chastain also recently revealed that she visited the Oklahoma set of the film last year and shot a small role, though given Malick’s penchant for forming—and sometimes completely restructuring—his films in the editing room, who knows if Chastain’s role will remain in the flick once it hits theaters.

Footage from Malick’s Tree of Life follow-up is currently being shown to foreign buyers in order to secure distribution, and compounded with the report that Malick may be shooting yet another film this year could signal that the director is just about finished working on the drama, meaning audiences may get to see the film as early as next year. However, this could also well mean that Malick is putting the romantic drama aside while he shoots his next film, with the intent to return to working on the Affleck-starred film after photography wraps on his other film. That would be very bad news bears, as a release could be even further off than previously assumed.

Nonetheless, we should be happy that Malick is becoming so prolific as of late. The director waited 20 years to follow-up Days of Heaven with The Thin Red Line, and The Tree of Life is releasing while he’s already got his next film in the can. Though the fact that Malick has alerted his crew to keep their schedules open this year doesn’t guarantee that he’s shooting another film so soon, it’s definitely a good sign. We can assume that he at least has another script either completed or nearly ready to go. Whether he decides to actually shoot it is another question altogether.

In addition to The Tree of Life and his romantic drama, Malick has also been working on a documentary-like Tree of Life companion piece entitled Voyage of Time. Comprised of a lot of material shot for the natural history sections of Tree of Life, the IMAX film is expected to be a “history of the universe”-type flick, narrated by Brad Pitt. Producers Bill Pohlad and Dede Gardner recently revealed that new footage will be shot for Voyage of Time, and that it’s very much still in the works. The Tree of Life is currently in limited release, and is expected to go wide on July 8th.

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