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The Story Behind The Tree Of Life
If director Terrence Malick lived life by a mantra, we’d put good money  on that mantra being ‘Slow and steady wins the race’.
The cult director  of Badlands and The Thin Red Line has been making movies for over 30 years, but until recently he still only had four feature directing credits to his name. His fifth and latest is The Tree Of Life, a CG-infused dramatic  human-struggle genre-splicer that seemingly takes its title from Norse  mythology, and has been consistently shrouded in mystery. But like all  of Malick’s films, Tree has taken its time getting to the big screen…

The Story Behind The Tree Of Life

If director Terrence Malick lived life by a mantra, we’d put good money on that mantra being ‘Slow and steady wins the race’.

The cult director of Badlands and The Thin Red Line has been making movies for over 30 years, but until recently he still only had four feature directing credits to his name.

His fifth and latest is The Tree Of Life, a CG-infused dramatic human-struggle genre-splicer that seemingly takes its title from Norse mythology, and has been consistently shrouded in mystery. But like all of Malick’s films, Tree has taken its time getting to the big screen…



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Cannes 2011: The Tree Of Life first reaction
Terrence Malick’s long-awaited The Tree Of Life has finally screened in Cannes – to a mixed reaction.We’d say the cheers/catcalls ratio at the film’s end was roughly 70/30.Both sides will agree that it’s the US auteur’s most abstract meditation to date on life, the universe and everything.While the bulk of the film is set in the ‘50s, it also flashes all the way back to the birth of life as we know it. Yes, the rumours are true: there are dinosaurs.If the CG dinos aren’t the most impressive ever seen, there will be few films this year to beat Tree Of Life’s overall visual splendor.

Cannes 2011: The Tree Of Life first reaction

Terrence Malick’s long-awaited The Tree Of Life has finally screened in Cannes – to a mixed reaction.

We’d say the cheers/catcalls ratio at the film’s end was roughly 70/30.

Both sides will agree that it’s the US auteur’s most abstract meditation to date on life, the universe and everything.

While the bulk of the film is set in the ‘50s, it also flashes all the way back to the birth of life as we know it. Yes, the rumours are true: there are dinosaurs.

If the CG dinos aren’t the most impressive ever seen, there will be few films this year to beat Tree Of Life’s overall visual splendor.

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Cannes 2011: Jessica Chastain on The Tree Of Life
You may not know Jessica Chastain yet, but you’re about to. She has two films in Cannes – thriller Take Shelter and Terrence Malick’s loooong anticipated The Tree Of Life.
Total Film caught up with her to talk Malick, Brad Pitt and being almost famous…

On her character, Mrs O’ Brien…

“She’s the perfect mother. She sort of represents the unattainable; she’s the kind of mother I would love to be. She’s the embodiment of grace and compassion, of putting others before yourself.
I’m a similar character in Take Shelter. So I’m playing two good mothers in Cannes!”

On working with Brad Pitt…

“I was intimidated before I met him! Because the idea that you’re going to play Brad Pitt’s wife carries so much weight.
But once you meet him, he really goes out of his way to make you feel equal and at ease and brave enough to be inventive in each scene.
He was wonderful. He plays a very different person from who he is in real life. His character is very closed down, very difficult to be with. 
Early on, he did a scene where he has a confrontation with our kids and I was so shocked by it. He said he hated doing it but his performance was so generous to [the other actors] because it enabled us to give our best in the scene with him.
It was great to see him totally throw himself into the character and then at ‘cut’ be normal Brad again, because I’ve heard stories where people don’t throw themselves out of the character!”

On starring in Terrence Malick’s next film…

All my scenes are with Ben Affleck, but I only did two days on that project so I don’t know if I’ll end up in it!
It was a great experience. I got to go to the set and see how it had changed and developed from our set a few years before – how Terrence is constantly evolving as a filmmaker. He’s not stuck in his ways. But I wouldn’t be shocked if I’m cut out of the finished film.”

Cannes 2011: Jessica Chastain on The Tree Of Life

You may not know Jessica Chastain yet, but you’re about to. She has two films in Cannes – thriller Take Shelter and Terrence Malick’s loooong anticipated The Tree Of Life.

Total Film caught up with her to talk Malick, Brad Pitt and being almost famous…

On her character, Mrs O’ Brien…

“She’s the perfect mother. She sort of represents the unattainable; she’s the kind of mother I would love to be. She’s the embodiment of grace and compassion, of putting others before yourself.

I’m a similar character in Take Shelter. So I’m playing two good mothers in Cannes!”

On working with Brad Pitt…

“I was intimidated before I met him! Because the idea that you’re going to play Brad Pitt’s wife carries so much weight.

But once you meet him, he really goes out of his way to make you feel equal and at ease and brave enough to be inventive in each scene.

He was wonderful. He plays a very different person from who he is in real life. His character is very closed down, very difficult to be with. 

Early on, he did a scene where he has a confrontation with our kids and I was so shocked by it. He said he hated doing it but his performance was so generous to [the other actors] because it enabled us to give our best in the scene with him.

It was great to see him totally throw himself into the character and then at ‘cut’ be normal Brad again, because I’ve heard stories where people don’t throw themselves out of the character!”

On starring in Terrence Malick’s next film…

All my scenes are with Ben Affleck, but I only did two days on that project so I don’t know if I’ll end up in it!

It was a great experience. I got to go to the set and see how it had changed and developed from our set a few years before – how Terrence is constantly evolving as a filmmaker. He’s not stuck in his ways. But I wouldn’t be shocked if I’m cut out of the finished film.”

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Tree Of Life trailer debuts

It’s been a long time coming, but the first trailer for Terrence Malick’s Tree Of Life has finally been released online. Malick’s fifth film, and his first since 2005’s The New World, Tree Of Life looks set to continue the celebrated auteur’s romance with dreamy visuals and intimate human drama.