Biskind’s Malick Backup

Yesterday I ran a short piece that explained certain parallels between the plot of Terrence Malick‘s To The Wonder, which will be screened at the Venice and Toronto film festivals, and Malick’s romantic history as it unfolded from the early ’80s to late ’90s. The facts are in a 2011 Brett McCracken post called “39 facts About Terrence Malick,” but McCracken told me last night that he drew his information mostly from Peter Biskind‘s December 1998 Vanity Fair piece about Malick, called “The Runaway Genius.”

Yesterday’s article, titled “Wonder Based on Malick’s Romantic Past,” recounted a synopsis of To The Wonder as provided by the Venice Film Festival, and then compared it to basic Malick information supplied by McCracken via Biskind.

Venice Film Festival synopsis of To The Wonder: “After visiting Mont Saint-Michel — once known in France as the Wonder — at the height of their love, Marina (Olga Kurylenko) and Neil (Ben Affleck) come to Oklahoma, where problems soon arise. Marina makes the acquaintance of a priest and fellow exile (Javier Bardem), who is struggling with his vocation, while Neil renews his ties with a childhood friend, Jane (Rachel McAdams). An exploration of love in its many forms.”

McCracken, Biskind and at least one other source report that in the early 80s, Malick, raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, fell for Michele Morette, “a Parisienne who lived in his building in Paris and who had a daughter, Alex. After a few years the three of them moved to Austin, Texas. Malick married Michele in 1985, but they divorced in 1998.” That same year, McCracken writes, “Malick married Alexandra ‘Ecky’ Wallace, an alleged high school sweetheart from his days at St. Stephen’s school in Austin, Texas. They are still married and currently reside in Austin, Texas.”

Biskind’s piece is all based on first-hand sources, and the portrait he paints of Malick is in some ways that of a highly eccentric, almost paranoid obsessive with somewhat peculiar habits and a constant concern and/or suspicion about being watched or observed by strangers. A full reading of the Biskind piece is advised.

Here are capturings of portions from the article:


Malick, wife MIchelle, producers John Roberdeau and Bobby Geisler in 1992.

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