The Enigmatic Terrence Malick

The long, long wait for Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life continues, and I’m enjoying every delicious day of suspense.

In the meantime, here’s one of the more substantial articles about it that I’ve seen.

And I love this bit:

Malick’s eccentric directing style is well known by those who have shot with him. Will Wallace, actor for The Thin Red Line, The New World and The Tree of Life described one occasion: “Terry has a very unique style of directing. It was Martin Sheen who first told me (before I was leaving for Australia to shoot TTRL) to just trust in Terry and his direction even though you may wonder what he is trying to get out of you. Martin says that to this day, he is most proud of his work in Badlands, and he told me that he attributes that to the direction he got from Terry. You may ask for an example of such: A line might be as simple as “Where is everyone in Charlie Company?”… Terry may ask that you say it again as if you are staring at a strange canoe. Upon trying to visualize a strange canoe, the actor says the line again. Terry then says, “no… that wasn’t it… say it again, but this time say it as if you are staring at a strange totem pole.” Upon commencing the lines, your eyes might tend to veer upwards in applying this direction, in which case Terry might shout “BUT DON”T LOOK UP!” This actually happened to Adrian Brody.”

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.


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