Reclusive filmmaker Terrence Malick is suddenly becoming prolific. Something about the long, arduous ordeal to create The Tree of Life, his Palm d’Or winning 2011 film conceived in the late ’70s, has stirred Malick back to work. He now has four projects in various stages of development, which is out of character for the Austin, Texas-based director who typically takes years off between films, including a decade between 1978′s Days of Heaven and 1998′s The Thin Red Line.
In August, Malick said he was “rushing towards a mix” on his next movie, an untitled drama often referred to as The Burial. The LA Times has more this week, including a plot synopsis that explains the previously reported “international love triangle.” Ben Affleck plays a philanderer who travels to Paris where he has a “hot-and-heavy” affair with a European woman (Olga Kurylenko). The two return home to Oklahoma, where he marries her for visa reasons, but he rekindles his romance with a former girlfriend (Rachel McAdams). Javier Bardem plays a priest he seeks for advice. Amanda Peet and Michael Sheen have also been rumored, and Tree of Life‘s breakout star Jessica Chastain is said to play a small role.
Malick is “rushing” the mix despite reportedly turning down distribution offers and his meticulousness in the editing room. (If you’re a Tree of Life fan, read this account of his extraordinary process from one of the editors.) It seems Malick is eager to clear his schedule for his next two films, Lawless and Knight of Cups, both announced this week.
The back-to-back productions will shoot next year and The New World‘s Christian Bale, who was replaced by Affleck on the previous film due to scheduling conflicts, and world-class actress Cate Blanchett, according to The Playlist. Malick and Bale were at the Austin City Limits music festival last month shooting among the revelers, and, as it turns out, those shots were to help the actor get into character for Lawless. Ryan Gosling is also on board, as well as Rooney Mara (the new Lisbeth Salander in Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and relative newcomer Haley Bennett. Otherwise there’s little known about the film.
Knight of Cups is also under the same shroud of secrecy. (Maybe it’s about tarot cards?) It will feature Bale and Blanchett again, along with Aussie actress Isabel Lucas.
The last film is an IMAX production called Voyage of Time that would use footage shot during the process of making Tree of Life. Brad Pitt has been rumored as its narrator, though again it’s unclear how far along he is with the documentary.