Malick’s “Tree of Life”

I’d love to know what the one-paragraph synopsis is for Terrence Malick‘s Tree of Life project, if anyone knows and wants to share. Getting a copy of the script would be even better. Heath Ledger and Sean Penn are said to be in talks to star and costar, respectively. River Road Entertainment’s Bill Pohlad will produce with Sarah Green, who helped produce Malick’s The New World.

Does that title scare anyone besides myself? Any title that ends with the words “of life” carries a potential for big trouble. Fountain of Life, Hot Dog of Life, Vacuum Cleaner of Life…they all stink. I’m especially concerned with a suggestion in Gregg Goldstein‘s Hollywood Reporter story that one-third of the film might take place in India.

  • Noah

    “I’m especially concerned with a suggestion in Gregg Goldstein’s Hollywood Reporter story that one-third of the film might take place in India.”


  • Mr. Gittes

    “Imagine this surrealistic reptillian world,’ says Richard Taylor(now with WETA) a special effects consultant Malick hired. “There is this creature, a Minotaur, sleeping in the water, and he dreams about the evolution of the universe, seeing the earth change from a sea of magma to the earliest vegetation, to the dinosaurs, and then to man. It would be this metaphorical story that moves you through time.”

    I hope this is true…

  • actionman

    Anything with the word MALICK attached to it is just fine by me. think i’ll watch the new world tonight

  • Mgmax

    Texas Monthly had a Malick piece about 20 years ago that contained some info on this thing.

  • vulgar71

    According to Dark Horizons “[the movie] is described by an insider as a complex drama.”

    I’m glad I could be of some help.

  • Mgmax

    “Imagine this surrealistic reptillian world,’

    Not Colin Farrell again!

  • Mr Gittes is quoting from a December 1995 Los Angeles Magazine article and didn’t include the preceding paragraph:

    And yet in the summer of 1978, Malick had begun work on Q–easily his most ambitious project. The original concept was a multicharacter drama set in the Middle East during World War I, with a prologue set in prehistoric times. But after dispatching an assistant for 10 weeks to scout locations, Malick chucked the Middle East section. By the end of the year, the prehistoric prologue had become the whole script.

    This is the same article that contained Malick last (semi) interview. It’d be cool if Taylor was still working on this, though Malick will turn him insane trying to approximate natural light in FX.

  • Jack Price

    Wait… the Richard Taylor quote wasn’t a parody?! That’s actually true?!

    Suddenly, I shifted from LQTM to actually being excited.

  • gert

    Any chance it’s based on Tree of Life by Hugh Nissenson? Great novel, but certainly not set in India.

  • Chance

    Maybe he’s remaking THE FOUNTAIN.

  • I also meant to link to this month old story with a rumored source saying the movie might be shot in Austin. Austin doesn’t really look much like India.

  • Aris P

    Does anyone have a link to the Malick/Thin Red Line article that ran in Vanity Fair a few years back? I would assume it was right before, or after, the film came out. I can’t find it anywhere on the net and would love to re-read it. Thanks.

  • Mikael

    Aris P –

    The link you requested:

  • Mikael

    Jeffrey –

    “I’d love to know what the one-paragraph synopsis is for Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life project, if anyone knows and wants to share.”

    I don’t know what paragraph would truthfully distill any of Mr Malick’s movies, especially the last three of ’em. More so it’s a very different challenge with a movie of his yet to be seen, even with the script at hand, in that you may likely find comparisons from movie to script while it would be a serious stretch of imagination and mind to go from script to (not yet realized) movie; devoid of voice-overs, music, and of course the visuals/editing – all of which in combination serves heavily as narratives themselves – reading anything out the script, and not least a paragraph, would leave you with the written poetry alone(admittedly no small thing in itself).

    “Does that title scare anyone besides myself?”

    I guess my initial thought on the title was one related to how it might have been shamelessly used in a typical Hollywood production, but Mr Malick seems very well suited to handle the sheer scope of it; i.e.: the scope of the title is actually my way of trusting Mr Malick putting exactly that into it.

    Here’s the link to a very enjoyable interview with Nick Nolte(in conjunction with the release of The Thin Red Line) in the Charlie Rose Show I found on Youtube. The part with Mr Nolte begins 25:44 into the programme:

  • Aris P

    Mikael – thanks very much. This is a great read.

    The best, for me, however, is the recent piece in VF on Pat Dollard. I haven’t laughed that much reading an article in my entire life.