Well, after To the Wonder premiered last month to a devise set of reviews—either raving that it was a symphonic ballet of emotion and beauty or a shallow and two-dimension story that looked stunning but lacked feeling—we’re all wondering just where the other features he’s been working on will fall on the Terrence Malick scale of greatness. And next up, before his Austin-set music film is Knight of Cups, starring Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, and Cate Blanchett. And with the Cannes Film Festival kicking off today, foreign distributor’s will get their first taste of the film when FilmNation debuts footage at the festival. But for us, The Hollywood Reporter has now released the first time from the film—and it’s truly shocking.
Enigmatic director Terrence Malick is known for his signature style of filmmaking that unites sight and sound (and usually a wheat field during magic hour) to create something highly cinematic while being virtually dialogue-less (save some sweeping philosophical voiceovers). That, and the fact that his films are almost always made at least half a decade apart. At least until last year, that is, when he surprised everyone with the news that The Tree of Life was to be followed by not only To the Wonder but two other films to be rolled out in the next two years.
His latest effort, To the Wonder, premiered at Venice and Toronto to mixed reviews, and although the film is slated to star Rachel McAdams and Ben Affleck–the two providing the main image released for the film–apparently it’s ex-Bond girl, Olga Kurylenko, who garners most of the screen time. Dealing with themes of love and abandonment from God, it seems audiences are not digesting this one well, and U.S. distribution remains to be seen. His next drama, Knight of Cups, which is said to star Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, and Cate Blanchett, is currently in post-production with a new log line released that reveals the film as “a story of a man, temptations, celebrity, and excess.” With a description that vague, we could assume he’s basing this off a Bret Easton Ellis novel. But whatever, there’s still more coming. Now that he’s got that one in the can, his next elusive project, previously titled Lawless, seems to be in full swing with Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara in starring roles.
Last fall, photos of Mara and Gosley frolicking around Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas, began circling around with buzz about another Malick picture in the works. And as one could deduce, those shots were tests for what is now known as Untitled Terrance Malick Project. The only word revealed on the film is that it involves “two intersecting love triangles," and is "a story of sexual obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.” Not too much can be gathered from these new on-set photos, but we can tell the film looks to feature bridges, puppies, Gosling behind the wheel (as usual), and Rooney Mara sans Lisbeth Salander harshness. Principal photography appears to be going swimmingly (and Terrence seems to be looking like he’s on a safari), but again, it’s Malick so, who really knows?