Preemptively Anticipating the Long Career of ‘Mud’ & ‘Tree of Life’ Star Ty Sheridan

Jeff Nichols’ Mud was a fantastic film about the cycle of first love and masculine desire for protection, but what stood out for me the most was the incredible performance by newcomer Ty Sheridan. The small boy who we saw as the youngest of Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt’s sons in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life appears in Mud a much more grown up version of the little guy we’d previously seen, not only holding his own amongst McConaughey and the rest of the adult cast but delivering one of the best and most endearing performances I’ve seen this year thus far.

And now, The Hollywood Reporter tells us that Sheridan is in talks to star in Kyle Wilamowski’s coming-of-age drama Grass Stains. No stranger to highly emotional films about the treacherous nature of love, Sheridan will take on the role of "a teen discovering his first love. When a prank goes awry and causes the death of his girlfriend’s older brother, the boy must balance his secret guilt with his feelings for the girl." Wilamowski’s film is set to shoot in North Carolina later this month but in the meantime, we’ll see Sheridan in David Gordon Green’s Nicolas Cage-led Prince Avalanche-follow-up Joe. I have a feeling this kid is going to go on to do some great things.

Jessica Chastain to Join the Cast of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’

Jennifer Lawrence may have taken home the Oscar for Best Actress, but there’s no denying it’s Jessica Chastain who has become Hollywood’s most coveted actress—and rightfully so. After first seeing her in Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, the world fell under her spell of talent and charm and watched closely as went on to give one of the year’s best performances in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. And since, directors have been pining after the actress, landing her starring roles in the upcoming Miss Julie from Liv Ullmann and Crimson Peak from Guillermo del Toro. But now, it appears she can add another notable name to the list as she joins the cast of Christopher Nolan’s much-anticipated Interstellar.

We reported last month that Matthew McConaughey would be joining the cast as well, in the film that was originally set in place by Steven Spielberg in 2006. In January, Nolan signed on to write a script that merged the original idea about the existence of wormholes used for time travel written by his brother Jonah, with his own original idea. Nolan and Emma Thomas producing will be prodicing and, "the ambition is a film that will depict a heroic interstellar voyage to the farthest borders of our scientific understanding." 

So although shooting is set to begin later this year, a date has already been set for the film’s theatrical release, a prime November 7th spot for 2014.

Learn More About Terrence Malick’s Expansive ‘Voyage of Time’ & the ‘Tree of Life’ Director’s Cut

Yesterday, in our interview with Michael Shannon, we shared that although he was cut from Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, "it was still a fascinating experience." He then went on on to say that he, "spent a day down there walking around with Ben Affleck and doing these completely random scenes where the camera was just going all over the place, and you never knew where it was going to be." And speaking the the enigmatic director’s desire to capture the ineffable moments in everyday life said that, "I’ve heard Malick say, ‘I’m just trying to find the spontaneous, I just want something truly spontaneous to happen.’"

And in today’s bit of fascinating Malickian news, we learn that his expansive project Voyage of Time is looking to be completed and in theaters by 2014. In an interview with The Playlist, Malick’s co-editor Billy Weber stated that the film currently has an undisclosed date and distributor lined up and is a "big IMAX film." With narration from Emma Thompson and Brad Pitt (hey, maybe not too far off from that perfume commercial mashup), the film is "aesthetically and scientifically accurate," venturing "the whole of time, from birth of the universe to its final collapse,"following "the first signs of life, bacteria, cellular pioneers, first love, consciousness, the ascent of humanity, life and death and the end of the universe." Well Malick, I tip my hat to you—that is quite an undertaking. Actually, it seems like all his films have been but hints at those very themes, this shaping up to be the amalgamation of his interests and desires.

In speaking with Weber, it was also revealed that, yes, Malick still working on the long-awaited directors cut of The Tree of Life—which is rumored to be well over five hours long. However, Weber stated that "although he doesn’t know how much footage was even shot for the movie" there will be deleted scenes on the DVD release. So I suppose we’ll have to wait and see on that one. But in the meantime, it’s great to know that for someone who spent so many years parted from the camera, that there looks to be no shortage of Malick to come. And with Knight of Cups and his still untitled other drama shot back to back in the last year, we can all stand on guard only waiting to discover more.

Take a Look at Terrence Malick’s Elemental Obsessions With ‘Malick: Fire and Water’

Terrence Malcik’s emotionally symphonic world of beauty vacillates between pleasure and pain, divinity and destruction, told through shadows of life that play out like memories rather than moments. And whether or not you were dazzled by To the Wonder, his latest and perhaps most divisive, there’s a undeniable grace there that exists and breathes inside all of his work. My favorite moments in To the Wonder had little to do with the characters, finding transfixed by his portrayal of the physical modern world—from the vacant fields of Oklahoma to the machines that watch over us with loving grace, and the ways in which he uses the camera like a gentle gust of wind to guide us. 

And when it comes to nature, Malick has always had an affinity for the elements of fire and water. For someone whose work plays so heavily with the philosophy and ideals of religion, it would be hard not to see his obsession with these elements as the juxtaposition of heaven and hell. His films are filled with sparks that ignite and liquids that soothe but oddly, To the Wonder was sans those elements in any strong way. 

But now, to indulge in your own obsession with Malick’s auteuristic harmony, you can watch "Malick: Fire & Water’ a brief but interesting super cut of his use of the two elements throughout his oeuvre. The description for the video reads:

Of all the recurring signatures of Malick, his use of fire and water might be the most telling, in part because there’s a significant shift between early Malick (Badlands & Days of Heaven) and late Malick (The Thin Red Line, The New World, The Tree of Life & To the Wonder). Early Malick favors fire. Late Malick favors water. In his most recent film, Malick forgoes fire altogether for the first time in his career. Water reigns.

Take a look below.

Malick // Fire & Water from kogonada on Vimeo.

See a New Poster for Terrence Malick’s ‘To the Wonder’

It’s interesting to remember a time when Terrence Malick’s new work would creep out of the woodwork without a sound, appearing like an unearthed treasure upon our screens. But since the praise of The Tree of Life and the fact that Malick has been full speed ahead on his next enigmatic projects full of stars, we seem to be getting a new taste of his latest poem of images To the Wonder, almost daily.

And in today’s installment of Malickian delights, EW has premiered a new post for the film. This one shows the pair of tortured lovers, Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko upon the shores of Mont Saint-Michel or “The Wonder of the Western World.” It’s more structured than the previous ethereal visuals from the film that we’ve seen, however, still beautiful. The exclusive doesn’t mention the artist of the poster but I’m going to say it’s safe to assume this is the work of Neil Kellerhouse? We’ll be checking on that.

In the meantime, watch that brilliant first trailer again and check out the poster below.



Natalie Portman’s First Post-Oscar Role: Two Terrence Malick Films

Following her Best Actress Oscar victory for The Black Swan, Natalie Portman took maternity leave so she could raise her child, like any responsible mother would. After a year, the hiatus is over: Deadline reports that she’s just signed on to star in two Terrence Malick films, both set to shoot this year. For the first, Knights of the Cups, she’ll join Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Isabel Lucas; in the second, Lawless, she’ll be alongside Bale, Blanchett, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and Haley Bennett. No plot details are forthcoming, of course, just the way Malick likes it. 

It’s not the first mysterious Malick project of recent: We’re still waiting to here on the as-yet untitled Ben Affleck-starring flick  that he shot after finishing last year’s The Tree of Life. That one, in case your memory isn’t so firm, is about a ladies’ man (Affleck) who enters a string of (I presume) emotionally complicated relationships with two women, played by Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams. It’s supposed to be the only film Malick’s shot that takes place in the present day, but with little progress announced following a few 2011 reports, it’s hard to say anything else. Considering Malick’s pedigree it’s easy to see why so many actors want to work with him, but it is a little surprising that he’s so openly embraced this generation of Hollywood actors factoring in his penchant for snubbing the Hollywood industry. With two Oscar nominations for The Tree of Life — Best Picture and Best Director — maybe he’s just feeling the love.

The streak of productivity is new, but reassuring: Malick famously spent 20 years in the wild before returning to showbiz with The Thin Red Line, followed by another seven before 2005’s The New World. With three projects in secretive development, maybe Malick is just trying to cash in all of his film chits before death finds its way into his backyard. But not to get depressing: below, watch the uplifting final scene from The New World, still one of the most — fuck it — elegiac things I’ve ever seen in a movie.

2011 Oscar Nominations Go More or Less as Expected

With the speed of a lumbering engine powered by critical hubris and self-importance, the 84th Academy Awards nominations dropped into our newsfeeds this morning with predictable result. Did you know that people liked The Descendants this year, The Artist as well? Brad Pitt and George Clooney scored the requisite Hollywood heartthrob acting votes (they will lose to the no-name French guy who doesn’t talk), while Meryl Streep got her due for sticking around. Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese were also nominated, just like they always are. It’s another Oscar ceremony, y’all!

But not to sound cynical or anything. It’s somewhat surprising, though definitely nice, to see Terrence Malick get official recognition for The Tree of Life, even if there’s almost no way the hype-happy Academy will give their highest awards to a movie with more than a handful of inscrutably artsy scenes. Equally surprising on the other end is the inclusion of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, a movie that no one seemed to like but not for any inscrutably artsy reasons, simply because it’s kind of schmaltzy and not very good. Why not give the spot to something innocuous like Bridesmaids or even the last Harry Potter movie, if they’re trying to go commercial? Madness, it’s all madness. (I won’t even get started on Albert Brooks’ snub for Drive.) You can look at the important nominees below, or go to the Academy’s website for the full list.

Best Picture
The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse

Actor in a Leading Role
Demian Bichir – A Better Life, George Clooney – The Descendants, Jean Dujardian – The Artist, Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Brad Pitt – Moneyball

Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis – The Help, Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady, Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn

Michael Hazanavicius – The Artist, Alexander Payne – The Descendants, Martin Scorsese – Hugo, Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris, Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life

Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branaugh – My Week with Marilyn, Jonah Hill – Moneyball, Nick Nolte – Warrior, Christopher Plummer – Beginners, Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Actress in a Supporting Role
Berenice Bejo – The Artist, Jessica Chastain – The Help, Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids, Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs, Octavia Spencer – The Help

Learn How ‘Tree of Life’’s Gorgeous Effects Were Created

Depending on how many times you’ve watched Koyaanisqatsi on a stomach full of mushrooms, The Tree of Life was one of the 2010’s most stunning or most baffling films. What everyone remembers, whether you liked it or not, is the wordless sequence in which director Terrence Malick explains the creation of the universe, or something like that. There’s a stunning array of supernovas and constellations, of stars and cosmic matter washing out from nothingness.

Typical fare for our CGI wizards, but did you know that the effects weren’t all computerized? To create the feel he wanted, Malick enlisted Douglas Trumbull, veteran of trippy visuals on films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner. Trumbull had been out of Hollywood for sometime, but the promise of "showing these bastards how it’s done" was apparently enough to get him started up again.

Entertainment Weekly‘s got the exclusive "for your consideration" vignette produced by Fox Searchlight in which Trumbull explains how he got involved with the film. "Terry Malick is a very old friend of mine, and we are contemporaries," Trumbull announces, as though it’s the most casual thing in the world. "We are both amateur astronomers among other things, and we’re very into space. He told me about this movie and said ‘I’m really not into computer graphics as a way to get there,’ and I said, ‘Well, I’m with you 100%.’" He refers to the images he produced as "organic effects," more art than science.

Over a montage of the film’s more stunning space shots, Trumbull explains how experimental the effects were: they’d shoot a glass with water running over it, or with paint being sprinkled over it, and figure out afterwards what they’d be able to use and how. "The whole agenda was to be able to be free to experiment, and to try things we couldn’t be sure what direction they’d go," he says. "Mysterious, unexpected things happen that you can’t think of, that you can’t draw. And they remain exciting on the screen. That’s what I think Terry was after, to create things that look naturalistic and beautiful." A successful goal, then. You can watch the explanatory video at EW, and part of the film’s sequence below.

Some ‘Tree of Life’ Footage Is Over 30 Years Old

Terrence Malick’s Palme d’Or-winning The Tree of Life contains footage that was shelved for over 30 years, according to The Daily. After Paramount released the slow-moving Days of Heaven in 1978, they cut Malick a check for $1 million and told him to get started on The Tree of Life. He didn’t make another picture for 20 years.

Back in the 70s, Malick shot “ice floes in Antarctica, microscopic jellyfish along the Great Barrier Reef and a solar eclipse in Montana. But when worried Paramount execs pressured him for a production schedule, he abandoned The Tree of Life, claiming exhaustion, and moved to Paris with his girlfriend. Malick did not make another film until The Thin Red Line in 1998.” From the sound of it, the old footage is the stuff from that awe-inspiring creation-of-the-world establishing sequence in Tree of Life. It would be interesting to know what Malick did with the rest of the $1 million Paramount gave him. And it would also be interesting to know why Terrence Malick is allowed to work at a positively glacial pace while the rest of the film industry frenetically pumps out film after film. Some people are just that good, I suppose.