The New World
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Excerpted from New Line Cinema's invitations to various industry screenings in 2005

"While the film is Terrence Malick's 'imagining and artistic rendering' of the Jamestown settlement era and England's colonization of the Americas, he insisted on the production values being absolutely authentic. So the props, costumes, sets, etc. were hand built for the film by these masters, utilizing native woods, plants, leaves, metals, fabrics, etc. and working from historical writings and drawings, and with the assistance of an advisory board consisting of more than a dozen archivists, librarians, professors and others...

...The important recreation of Fort James was accomplished with wood chopped out of growth in the actual Jamestown area, just as the English would have in 1607. All other elements - clothing, makeup, hair designs, guns, swords, bows & arrows, etc. - were constructed under Fisk's supervision from materials which would have been available to the Indians and to the English colonists at that time... "

Clicking on the following link automatically downloads the 10th October 2005 TNW Production Information press release to your computer as a PDF

The film's basic story is factual; however, the personal interrelationships are unknown, undocumented, or disputed. The director interpreted the relationships for dramatic effect to serve the film's symbolism

Copious research was done for physical historic accuracy. Dozens of local professional scholars consulted throughout the film's development and shooting (visit the film's official website at

Some general facts historians agree upon --

Captain John Smith (aged about 27 years at the beginning of the story) had been a colourful adventurer who left rural England at 15 to become a French mercenary (in the Netherlands, Hungary, North Africa, Near East). Returning home a decade later, he joined the newly formed Virginia Company and accompanied their 1607 gold expedition to the site which became Jamestown. (Much of what is known about his life comes from his own journals- often regarded with skepticism: during his lifetime and now)

His overbearing personality made him unpopular among fellow colonists; however he was tolerated because of his abilities as an outstandingly resourceful leader, survivalist, and negotiator with the "Naturals" (he was a military professional: most of the first wave of Colonists were middle class merchants, gentlemen, and goldsmiths; his social superiors, but inept providers- over 100 of the 130+ "First Wave" settlers died within the 1st 2 years). In 1608, the year he became Colony president, full scale war errupted between natives and settlers. In the film, Smith is told that King James has offered him an opportunity to head an expedition searching for a rumoured NorthWest Passage to the Indies, and instructs his only friend, Ben (ship's cook) to wait a few months, then tell Pocahontas that he had drowned; in effect, setting her free. (Historically, he was shipped home to recuperate from severe burns after his gunpowder pouch ignited, rumoured to have resulted from yet another assassination attempt by fellow Englishmen (1609)

(Some scholars find it significant that Smith's journals never mentioned his near execution by the Powhatans until the time Pocahontas had been accepted by London Society as the "Princess of Virginia"; however, years earlier, he had hinted at a similar event involving a Turkish lady to whom he had been sold as a slave. In the film, you'll notice he wears his Turkish mistress' earring as a trophy)

Matoaka, nicknamed "Pocahontas," was the favourite child of Wahunsunacock (chief of the Powhatans). Colonists estimated her to have been between ages 10-13 in 1607. There is evidence of her having brought food to the struggling settlers and of her having resided with them as a royal hostage at the time of the hostilities in 1612 (there is some anecdotal evidence that she had been held on John Rolfe's plantation 30 miles from Jamestown)

In 1614 she adopted "Rebecca" as her Christian name, married and had a son with John Rolfe (5 years younger than Cpt John Smith) who had arrived in 1609 to farm tobacco (a milder strain preferred by the English, which he had transported from Bermuda, where his 1st wife had died when they were shipwrecked by a hurricane) For two years they lived in a brick cottage on land given as a wedding gift from Chief Powhatan. Their marriage alliance was thought to have helped stabilize native/settler relations for the next several years

The Rolfes moved to England where Pocahontas/Rebecca Rolfe was presented to Queen Anne at the Court of James I as foreign royalty and and became a celebrity. In 1616, they intended to return to Virginia

First person accounts of Pocahontas/Rebecca's death never describe its cause. Most likely it was aboard ship while still in English waters. Various unsubstantiated assertions have been "broken heart" (a Victorian era speculation), tuberculosis (then pandemic), and small pox (ran through SE England in waves; however went unmentioned at the time. Contraindication: the ship was never quarantined for it) Most sensible guess: pneumonia, or some simple infection which, today, would have been treatable. She was ceremoniously buried in St George's churchyard at Gravesend where there is a commemorative plaque (location of her grave now is unknown) She was believed to have been 21 years old

Later, Rolfe continued to Virgina. He died suddenly, commonly reckoned to have been killed (perhaps by mistake) by the Powhatan Confederacy at the same time as the Indian Massacre of 1622

Captain John Smith outlived Rolfe by 9 years and died a bachelor

Thomas Rolfe (the son) returned to Virginia as a young adult and later was accepted by the Powhatan. He is credited with having brought peace between the factions for a generation

Their context --

All characters had been born during the time Elizabeth I was Queen of England (reigned 1558-1603)

The events of the film begin in 1607, during the reign of James I (1603-1625)

The characters were contemporaries of William Shakespeare (lived 1564-1616) and the initial publication (1611) of The King James version of the Bible into English (however, James' major contribution was having repealed a death penalty for its vernacular translation, and prohibiting editorialization and footnotes from accompanying the text)

Pocahontas and husband John Rolfe died during the reign of James I

Captain John Smith died 6 years into the reign of Charles I (1625 -- beheaded 1649); 8 years prior to the beginnings of the 1st English Civil War; only 1 generation before before the Great Plague of London; 35 years before the Great Fire of London

[*Until the 20th Century, tobacco smoke was presumed to strengthen and purify the lungs, protecting them from plague and ejecting evil "humours" with the resulting expectorants]

The highly romanticized version of the love triangle legend began appearing in English literature around the 1840s (only a few years into the reign of Queen Victoria)

A few sites to get some information on the real history behind the movie --

From the Production Notes for the press

" ... One of the earliest challenges faced by the production team was determining where to shoot the film. Initially, they were skeptical they would be able to find an area that could adequately resemble the world which European settlers first encountered in America.

We thought that in a million years there's no place left in the United States that looks as untouched as the James and Chickahominy Rivers would have been in 1607, says
[producer Sara] Green. We thought it would be in some mysterious place where no one lives, so we looked at obscure regions in Canada where there were hopefully untouched forests and rivers. But (production designer) Jack Fisk, who lives in Virginia, felt that we shouldn't go anywhere else until we saw where it all started. So Terry, Jack and I traveled to see the original site of James Fort, and to the Jamestown Settlement recreation nearby. Then we took a boat up the Chickahominy River to see how the landscape flowed, and we thought, gosh, there are a whole lot of stretches that weren't quite as settled as we thought they might be. At one point, we came around a bend in the river and saw a big old concrete fish house with a For Sale sign on it. We didn't think we could afford to shoot in Virginia, but with our collective aversion to runaway productions, and with a lot of help from the State of Virginia, we decided that we had to make it work. There's a look in Virginia that's nowhere else.

Green credits the Virginia government with helping make it feasible for the production to shoot in the state where the story took place so many years ago.

The Virginia Film Office really helped pave the way for us to shoot there, says Green. The unions wanted us in Virginia, the crews wanted us in Virginia and the actors wanted us in Virginia. Then Governor Warner really threw his weight behind us, and that was it. Its one of the rare examples of a historical film shooting in almost the exact place where the events originally occurred, and that fish house became the site of the Jamestown fort...."

Virginia locations --

The film's Fort James was built on the privately owned land off of Little Creek Dam Road in Toano, VA (then for sale) a few miles (30-45 minutes rough drive) outside Jamestown on the former site of a pre-Revolutionary War boat yard on the Chickahominy River. Also the former site of the Menzel Brothers Fish House.

The Powhatan city of Werowocomoco was built across the river in the Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area, Charles County (20 mins from town if the bridge was usable, 90 mins if not. Usually it was not).

Agecroft Hall (Richmond) -- Rolfe's Jamestown house was one of the only two sets built with modern materials (due to scheduling collapse) and has been kept intact by the property owner of Agecroft Hall, ancestral manse of the Langley and Dauntesey families, born on the Irwell River in Lancashire at the end of the 15th Century; transported in 1925 to Windsor Farms on the James River, near Richmond, Virginia (open to the public)

Belle Isle (Richmond);

Sherwood Forest Plantation (Charles City);

Berkeley Plantation (Harrison's Landing);

Yorktown battlefields Lake Rawlings a state park (Virginia Beach)

The Ships --

Jamestown Settlement's replica ships "Godspeed", "Discovery", and "Susan Constant" were repainted for the show.

The replica ship "Half Moon", privately owned by the nonprofit New Netherland Museum, sailed from New York state and was repainted to portray the "Susan Constant" (whose own replica's draft was too deep for the location's landing). It also appeared in the films The Scarlet Letter and Disney's Squanto: An Indian Warrior's Tale, as well as several documentaries, including the History Channel's "Conquest of America: The Northeast". The Half Moon is primarily engaged in an ongoing program taking of educational voyages, taking up to a dozen New York capital region students at a time out to study the history and science of the Hudson River. This program has also been expanded to incorporate Union college students, who re-explored the three rivers of the original Dutch New Netherlands Colony: the Hudson, the Connecticut, and the Delaware

In England --

Scenes of Capt Smith exploring the coast of Greenland were shot in Cornwall

Hatfield House (noted for the topiary gardens used in the film) in Hertfordshire was used as "Heacham Hall," the Rolfes' English home, and his gardens at Dorney.

Royal presentation scenes were shot at Hampton Court Palace, the medieval house renovated by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and appropriated by Henry VIII (13 miles SW of London).

London street scenes were shot on Merton Street looking toward Corpus Christi College (one of the five early Tudor colleges at Oxford University) often used in films: and

Many of London street scenes were shot in Oxford: on New College Lane; in the main quod of Bodleian Library looking toward the tower; at the entry of Divinity School (whose door has a Greek inscription); near the Sheldonian Theatre looking to the Clarendon Building.

Interactive Virginia locations map at the following website (many thanks to poster, davedavidl, "proud Virginian in Isle of Wight", for having provided this Jamestown1607 link):

A local travel company offers tours of the filming sites:

Several non-original pieces were used in the movie as well as original score by James Horner. Since the soundtrack contains only original score done by James Horner not all the music in the movie can be found on the soundtrack.

For a listing of the non-original score pieces heard in The New World refer to the "Soundtrack Listing" section right here on imdb by clicking on the following link:

NOTE: The music most asked about is the music at the beginning and end of the film which is the first music listed in the above link, Wagner. The other music asked about is what plays during Smith and Pocahontas's interactions which is the second piece listed in the above link, Mozart.

Mummified remains have revealed evidence of tattooing from as early as 5300 years ago in Asia.

From Germany through Ireland, various preChristian tribes luxuriously covered themselves in woaded scarifications.

In 54 B.C., Caesar described the the permanent blue body art of the Picts (Commentarii de Bello Gallico: L- V); and in 922 A.D., Ahmad ibn Fadlan (a member of an embassy of the Caliph of Baghdad) wrote of the Scando-Russo tribesmen as having arms decorated from "fingernails to neck" in patterns of dark blue.

Due to its roots in animistic paganism, the Church prohibited it, and the preBanksian Gentry avoided it; however, common sailors/ "jacks"/ mercenaries/ adventurers were not Gentry.

As applies to this film: Working class Elizabethan and Jacobean sailors/adventures (including the aristocratic Sir Walter Raleigh) often had symbolic, monochromatic tattoos or tattooed themselves (with mixtures of soot and urine) for many of the same reasons as today (self-expression; group membership; superstition; testosterony braggadocio) or for a secondary reason Scots wore clannish tartans and Irish fisherfolk wore cable-knit sweaters in family specific patterns: to aid in the positive identification of weathered remains).

For TNW, most anachronistic tattoos ("Oriental technique" modern: delicately polychromed/pictorial) were camouflaged by being painted over with larger, bolder patterns (others were buried beneath a heavy make-up base) One of a handful of sacrifices of authenticity made for budget or comfort.

Some of Farrell's personal decorations cover such acreage that camouflaging them beneath heavy applications of fleshy make-up base looked distractingly skin-graft-like in tests (and perspiration made them appear necrotic).

Since digitally removing tattoos is prohibitively expensive, the solution was to disguise them with larger, bolder, archaic patterns.

Surviving letters from the first Jamestown settlers to families and reports to the sponsoring Virginia Company described all the North American people (regardless of age, or sex) as being entirely tattooed, nude above the waist as adults (children were completely naked), and devoid of any hair except for a switch of ponytail with ornaments woven into it.

No, there are no extra scenes, not even deleted ones. The idea that there might be extra scenes possibly derived from the longer cut which was shown briefly before the theatrical release of the film.

In October 2008, a D.V.D. was released offering an extended cut, with twenty minutes of footage not seen in the theatrical release. Much of the added footage consists of scene extensions and some of it is of new scenes.

Not quite, but his voice is heard twice very briefly when we see Emmanuel Lubezki setting up for a shot of Kilcher sitting in front of an oil lamp in a cabin.

As if Colin Farrell's love scene with a male character in 'Alexander' didn't cause him enough grief, now he's in one with a fourteen-year-old girl. But looking to avoid the sort of furor that erupted over one of Nicole Kidman's scenes with a young actor in 'Birth', the film-makers reportedly have reshot the scenes, toning them down.

Colin Farrell stars as English colonist John Smith in The New World, and Q'orianka Kilcher plays Pocahontas. The film is said to be slavish to period detail and the love scene between the two was gentle, according to a defender, but when studio lawyers for the film saw an early cut, acording to a report, they nearly had a heart attack.

Farrell was told to get romantic and sensual but knew there was a certain amount of kissing involved, a source told the British magazine The People. He played the scene brilliantly and he really put Q'orianka at her ease. But when the lawyers saw the finished product with Colin and Q'orianka rolling around on the ground kissing they flipped out. The lawyers were concerned about paedoerotica laws, and a tamer version of the scene was reportedly shot.

At least three: there's of course the well-known Theatrical Version that was shown in cinemas and was released on D.V.D. Prior to this version the so-called Oscar's Cut was made in order to get a shot at the 2006 Academy Awards. This version is fifteen minutes longer than the later released Theatrical Version and was released in Italy only on D.V.D. A detailed comparison between the Theatrical Version and the so-called Oscar's Cut with pictures can be found here.

The third version is the Extended Cut that is even longer than the so-called Oscar's or Italian Cut and runs nearly 172 minutes. Here, changes can be found throughouth the movie in comparison to the Theatrical Version. In total more than 80 changes can be found and a detailed comparison between the Theatrical Version and the Extended Cut with pictures can be seen here.


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