Newsbites: Tree! Antichrist! Ollie! Pompeii!

Newsbites: Tree! Antichrist! Ollie! Pompeii! April 14, 2008

Another week, another batch of news items.

1. The Screengrab links to a couple of items on Terrence Malick’s typically secretive film-in-progress Tree of Life. First, there is a casting call for “expectant moms” and “Infants one day to ten days old, as well as one-month olds, one-year-olds, and two year olds with brown hair and pale complexions.” Second, movie blogger Michael Corcoran happens to live three blocks from where the film is currently shooting, and he writes:

Smithville is standing in for 1950s Waco, where Malick grew up. We know this because the film has asked the Waco Tribune to make some mock 1950s front pages. Could this be Malick’s first personal memoir film?

Brad Pitt plays the father and Jessica Chastain is the mother of three boys, ages 7- 12. One scene filmed Tuesday was at a barbecue pit on Lee Street and one witness told me that Pitt was driving three boys in a vintage 1950’s car. The day before filming started, the three kids were hanging out at the house on Burleson Street where the title tree is planted. The temporary schoolhouse where all the kids are being tutored is across the street. I asked the teacher, the only adult around, if I could take a picture of the “Tree of Life” and one of the young co-stars, in a colorful Texas drawl, asked me if I knew which tree it was. I think we’ve found the film’s narrator.

A couple days before filming started, there was a casting call for newborn babies, which makes me think the film will follow those three boys from creation to old age or maybe even death. Isn’t the Tree of Life from the book of Genesis?

2. Variety says Lars von Trier will start shooting Antichrist in Germany this summer. In the past, this film has been described as “based on the theory that it was Satan, not God, who created the world” and a “psychological thriller that evolves into a horror film” about “cruelty between the sexes” — but now, Variety adds the detail that it will concern “a couple who retreat to a cabin in the woods to recover from the death of their child.” Sounds like fun.

3. Jerry Beck and Jim Hill report that Ollie Johnston, the legendary animator and last surviving member of Walt Disney’s ‘Nine Old Men‘, has passed away. He was 95 years old.

4. Newsweek says an Italian government official “plans to talk to Pixar and Warner Bros.” about using the ruins of Pompeii as a movie set. The Pixar Blog speculates that the Italians might be pitching the ruins as a possible set for John Carter of Mars, or perhaps for an entirely different project that has not yet been announced. At any rate, the locals are apparently concerned that the ruins might be “Disneyfied” by these sorts of plans.

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