The New World (2005) Poster



In an interview, Christian Bale spoke of the eccentric directing styles of Terrence Malick. He said that he wanted to see what Malick would do if he just walked out of a shot and towards the crew. Malick followed Christian with the camera and, as Christian put it, "[the crew] were running, and they were diving behind bushes to get away from the camera."
Both Irene Bedard (Pocahontas' mother) and Christian Bale (John Rolfe) have roles in this movie and the Disney animated film Pocahontas (1995). In the Disney film, Christian Bale provided the voice of Thomas and Irene Bedard voiced the title role, Pocahontas. Terrence Malick was a fan of the Disney film and recruited both Bale and Bedard in the film, as a homage to the Disney animated film.
Christopher Plummer was infuriated after watching the final cut of the movie and discovering that key scenes had been cut and one of his important speeches had been reduced to background noise. He vowed never to work with Terrence Malick again.
Before the start of the shoot, director Terrence Malick and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki devised a series of photography rules that were to be used during filming. They were:
  • 1) No artificial lights. Everything is shot in natural light.

  • 2) No crane or dolly shots, just handheld or Steadicam shots.

  • 3) Everything is shot in the subjective view.

  • 4) All shots must be deep-focus, that is, everything (foreground and background) is visible and focused.

  • 5) You (the camera crew) are encouraged to go and shoot unexpected things that might happen in accident or if your instinct tells you so.

  • 6) Selective shots: any shot that does not have visual strength is not used.

According to Lubezki, many of these rules ended up being broken. Artificial light was used (see above), as were shallow-focus shots.
Casting for the character of Pocahontas proved difficult, producers looked at over two thousand actors before deciding to open up their search criteria for all indigenous actors of both North and South America.
In preparation for the role, Colin Farrell read all seven of John Smith's books he published back in England on his accounts of The New World.
All actors were required to lose 20 pounds in a month and then went to boot camp where they learned to use artillery weapons and live like the settlers
Although it was ultimately determined to be fiscally unfeasible to shoot the entire film on 65mm film stock, this has the distinction of being the first feature film in nine years to shoot on 65mm stock for non-visual effects shots. The last film to shoot in 65mm was Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996), which remained the last feature to be entirely shot on 65mm, until Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master (2012) seven years later.
Native American cast members had to learn the Algonquin language. 3000 people speak this language today, many of whom were hired by producers to teach cast members.
Pocahontas (the better-known nickname for Mataoka) is never called Pocahontas during the entire film; no Native American character is ever addressed or referred to by name.
Terrence Malick finished the script in the late 1970s, but it lay dormant until 2004.
Terrence Malick was so intent on this movie being authentic that he told the actors to do as the characters would. On his breaks, Christian Bale would even sit in John Rolfe's chair and smoke a pipe, and Q'orianka Kilcher did Algonquian dances.
Virtually almost all dialog was dubbed in post-production. The main reason was that during takes, Terrence Malick's voice is often heard at the background.
Over 1 million feet of film was shot for completion of the film.
Producers agreed with Native American leaders not to acknowledge credit to them until the final film met with their approval.
Shot almost entirely with available light. Only the scenes shot in the Hampton Court Palace interiors were supplemented with artificial light coming through the windows.
To increase the light available in interior shots, candles were cast with 4 wicks each.
The clothing Pocahontas is wearing during the audience with the queen is based on one of the few contemporary portraits of her.
The only CGI in the film were the digital re-coloring of shots with a pair of conures and a flock of pigeons to resemble extinct local bird species - Carolina parakeets, and a flock of passenger pigeons.
Average Shot Length = ~6.7 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~6.8 seconds.
Terrence Malick cut the film around a completed score as opposed to creating the music in a studio with a finished film.

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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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