Terrence Malick Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (20)  | Trivia (63)  | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (4)

Born in Ottawa, Illinois, USA
Birth NameTerrence Frederick Malick
Nicknames sparky
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Terrence Malick was born in Ottawa, Illinois. His family subsequently lived in Oklahoma and he went to school in Austin, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1965.

A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, he attended Magdalen College, Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, but did not finish his thesis on Martin Heidegger, allegedly because of a disagreement with his advisor. Returning to the States, he taught philosophy at M.I.T. and published a translation of Heidegger's "Vom Wesen des Grundes" as "The Essence of Reasons". Malick did not get his PhD in philosophy: Instead, he attended the American Film Institute Conservatory in its inaugural year (1969), taking a Masters of Fine Arts degree in film-making. His masters thesis was the seventeen-minute comedy short Lanton Mills (1969), which starred Warren Oates and Harry Dean Stanton. Malick himself acted in the short.

At A.F.I., Malick made a lasting association with Jack Fisk, who would establish himself as an Oscar-nominated art director and production designer and serve as art director on all of Malick's films. He also picked up Mike Medavoy as an agent, who got Malick work doctoring scripts and marketed his original ones. He wrote the screenplay for the 1972 Alan Arkin trucker movie Deadhead Miles (1972), which was many miles from Harvard let along Oxford, and for the 1972 Paul Newman-Lee Marvin contemporary oater Pocket Money (1972), another departure from fields of academia. "Deadhead Miles" was dumped by Paramount as unreleasable and "Pocket Money", despite being headlined by two Top Ten Box Office stars, flopped. It was an inauspicious start to a legendary career, but it influenced Malick to begin directing his own scripts.

His first two films were the now critically acclaimed Badlands (1973) and Days of Heaven (1978). He then took a self-imposed retirement of nearly two decades from film-making before lensing his 1998 adaptation of James Jones's The Thin Red Line (1998), which was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including nods for Malick for directing and adapted screenplay.

Adopting a Kubrickian pace of movie-making, he directed The New World (2005) and the autobiographical The Tree of Life (2011) with gaps of only seven and six years, respectively, between release. However, he reportedly was working on ideas for "The Tree of Life" since the late 70s, including exposing footage that found its way into his finished film.

In an unprecedented burst of productivity, he shot his next four films, To the Wonder (2012), Knight of Cups (2015), an as-yet unnamed drama and the cosmic documentary Voyage of Time: Life's Journey (2016) back-to-back during and immediately after completing the long editing process of "Tree of Life". Like Stanley Kubrick, Malick usually takes well over a year to edit his films. All three are highly anticipated by cineastes the world over.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Family (2)

Spouse Alexandra Wallace (1998 - present)
Michelle Morette (5 July 1985 - 16 December 1998)  (divorced)
Jill Jakes (29 December 1970 - 1978)  (divorced)
Parents Irene Malick
Emil Malick

Trade Mark (20)

Always includes narration by one or more characters
His films are shot almost entirely outside
Many of his movies feature narrated soliloquies by the main characters
Known as a bit of a recluse from public life and rarely gives interviews or makes appearances
Has mostly shot with Steadicam since The Thin Red Line (1998)
Visual dialectics through images
Shoots many of his scenes at magic hour and often keeps the sun in the back of shots
Rarely uses artificial light
Frequent use of classical and religious music
Famous for finding the structure and form of his films in the editing process, often reducing the roles of initially larger characters and vice versa
Known for shooting record amounts of film while trying to capture scenes, emotions and unforeseen moments spontaneously
Sending different actors and non-actors to a scene without warning the actors of the scene, in order to get a very 'real' response.
Often works with Jack Fisk (production design), Emmanuel Lubezki (cinematography), Sarah Green (producer), Jacqueline West (costume design), and David Crank (art direction).
Emphasis on non-verbal communication and body language in his actors' performances
Often shoots films without an official script
Known for drastically reducing or completely removing actors from his films
Strong emphasis on cinematography and editing over plot and character development
Narration in his films is often delivered in hushed, almost whispering tones
Known for large casts that mix well-known stars with character actors and unknown or non-professional actors
Exploring individual transcendence

Trivia (63)

M.F.A. from the American Film Institute.
Attended St. Stephen's High School in Austin, Texas, where he played football. A resident of Austin, he was inducted there into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in March 2002.
In his contract for directing The Thin Red Line (1998), he stated that no current pictures of him could be published or shown anywhere.
Wrote a treatment for Dirty Harry (1971) but none of his work appears in the final version.
After Days of Heaven (1978), it was a full twenty years before he directed his next film, The Thin Red Line (1998).
Appeared as unannounced guest on the screening of Badlands (1973) in the retrospective section of the 54th. Berlin film festival in 2004.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 636-639. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
He grew up on a farm and worked as a farmhand before studying philosophy at Harvard. After graduating he went to Magdalen College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar but left before finishing his thesis (on Martin Heidegger) after a disagreement with his advisor. He moved back to the United States and taught philosophy at M.I.T. while freelancing as a journalist.
Turned down an offer to direct The Elephant Man (1980).
Wrote an unused draft of Great Balls of Fire! (1989).
Notoriously withdrawn from public life, his friends, such as Martin Sheen, have always remarked that he is a very warm and humble man who prefers to work without medial intrusion.
Phi Beta Kappa student.
His grandfather was an Assyrian Christian immigrant to the USA; "Malick" means "king" in Arabic.
Terrence Malick is step-father to actor, producer, and director, Will Wallace.
Began his film career at the age of 25.
Wrote an early draft of Dirty Harry (1971).
One of the most praised aspects of his films are the quality of its cinematography. As of 2014, four of his films have been Oscar-nominated in the Best Cinematography category: Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998), The New World (2005) and The Tree of Life (2011). Only Days of Heaven (1978) managed to win in the category and still is the only Oscar ever given to a Malick film.
Has worked with four different actors who played the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman: George Clooney, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck and Val Kilmer.
His film To the Wonder (2012) was the last film that Roger Ebert reviewed.
Worked as a Journalist for Newsweek, Life and the New Yorker before pursuing a career in film.
Is an avid bird watcher.
His contract stipulates that no photographs are to be taken of him on set.
Spent most of his twenty-year hiatus in France, where he taught philosophy from 1979-94.
In 2004, during the filming of The New World (2005), Malick forced Christopher Plummer to climb a tall oak tree. The task was very difficult for Plummer, who was 74 at the time, and took 3 unsuccessful attempts before Malick was satisfied with his performance. This footage was not used in the final film.
After forty-three years of film career, he was photographed and caught on film while on set for one of the first times ever during the weekend of September 16, 2011.
Fluent in French.
Is also said to be a fan of Zoolander (2001).
Originally worked on a screenplay limited to Ernesto 'Che' Guevara's attempts to start a revolution in Bolivia. When financing fell through, he left the project, and subsequently Steven Soderbergh agreed to direct a film inspired by Malick's script that finally became Che: Part Two (2008).
For 18 months or so, well into 1979, Malick worked on a project based on the life of Joseph Merrick, the 19th-century British sideshow celebrity who suffered from a rare, debilitating disease.
Had been in Bolivia as a journalist in 1966 working on a story about Che Guevera.
The last press interview he gave was in 1979.
When he was in Paris, often went to watch football, supporting Paris Saint-Germain.
Magdalen College, Oxford currently (as of December 2014) lists Malick under "lost alumni" on its website.
Translated "The Essence of Reasons" by Martin Heidegger from German into English.
Is a big fan of Totò.
For years he wouldn't allow his mother to read the script of The Thin Red Line (1998) because of the profanity.
Once called producer friend Rob Cohen from a highway saying, "I'm walking to Oklahoma!" Cohen asked, "What do you mean, you're walking to Oklahoma? From Texas?" Malick answered, "Yeah, I'm looking at birds.".
Ben Stiller, due to Malick's love of Zoolander, once dressed up in character and recorded him a special birthday video message.
U.S. film critic James Hoberman once said: "Where other movies have fans, Malick's produce disciples.".
For coloring in his films, he uses what he calls a "no-look look" which means he doesn't want it to be warm or cold or especially moody, or light, or anything. He wants it to look as if the viewer were looking through a window.
When the American Film Institute set up its conservatory for Advanced Film Studies in 1969, its first round of students included him, Caleb Deschanel, Paul Schrader, and David Lynch.
After meeting in Paris in 1981, Malick recommended to Martin Sheen that he should read The Brothers Karamazov. Sheen credits Malick as being a key to his own spiritual reawakening.
Malick's particular brand of meditative poetic-ism has noticeably and increasingly influenced other movies ( including trailers & commercials) since his return to directing with "The Thin Red Line" (1998). The terms "Malickian" or "Malick-esque" can often be found or heard in reviews and writings to describe similarities in another work.
He and his three-time composer Hanan Townsend developed a musical approach called 'shadows' which is creating a kind of fragmented versions of the themes from famous compositions in order to establish some continuity between these classical compositions that Malick uses and the musical pieces that Townsend creates.
Christian Bale calls him 'a great destroyer of vanity'.
According to composer Hanan Townsend who worked with Malick in The Tree of Life, To The Wonder and Knight of Cups, Malick would often tell Townsend when he's recording with the orchestra to hit record 30 seconds or a minute before they start playing so they have these musical moments where no one's being told what to do. They might just be rehearsing or just messing around with something and that could become the base of something really interesting.
Actress Rosie Malek-Yonan is his cousin.
According to Roger Ebert, a unifying common theme of his films is diminishing of human lives beneath the overarching majesty of the world.
According to himself, the sense of spontaneity captured in his films has been inspired by Viaggio in Italia (1954).
He is a fan of the film ''Smokin' Aces (2006)''.
He joined to a conference for the first time in his career for one of his films, Song to Song, on March 11, 2017 at the SXSW Festival.
On his senior yearbook page, he strikes the seated pose of Auguste Rodin's sculpture "The Thinker".
When he was eight years old, he wrote a forty-three-page paper on planets.
Worked for a short time as a globe-trotting magazine journalist, interviewing Haitian dictator "Papa Doc" Duvalier and spending four months in Bolivia reporting for the New Yorker on the trial of the French philosopher Régis Debray, who had been accused of supporting Che Guevara and his Marxist revolutionary forces.
Until 2017, there was only one publicly available recording of Malick's voice which was his cameo in Badlands.
Emmanuel Lubezki has given him the nickname of "apuntador," the job title of person on Mexican soap operas who tells the cast what happens next in the scene.
He has worked with four actors who have played the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman: George Clooney in The Thin Red Line (1998), Christian Bale in The New World (2005) and Knight Of Cups (2015), Ben Affleck in To The Wonder (2012), and Val Kilmer in Song To Song (2017).
Christopher Nolan has cited him as a big inspiration for his own work.
Is a member in the advisory board of Austin Film Society.
Shares birthday (30 November) with frequently collaborator Emmanuel Lubezki. They worked together in The New World (2005), The Tree of Life (2011), To the Wonder (2012), Knight of Cups (2015) and Song to Song (2017).
He has directed two films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Badlands (1973) and Days of Heaven (1978).
In the early 90's, Malick wrote a play adaptation of Sansho the Bailiff based on Mizoguchi's screenplay, and Andrzej Wajda was supposed to direct it. Due to creative differences, the project was never made.
With the exception of 'To the Wonder' and 'Knight of Cups', he has used a different composer for each of his films, including his upcoming film 'The Way of the Wind'.

Personal Quotes (10)

[on Badlands (1973)] I tried to keep the 1950s to a bare minimum. Nostalgia is a powerful feeling; it can drown out anything. I wanted the picture to set up like a fairy tale, outside time, like Treasure Island. I hoped this would, among other things, take a little of the sharpness out of the violence, but still keep its dreamy quality.
[on working with Martin Sheen on Badlands (1973)] Martin Sheen was extraordinary. He's a very gifted man. He's from a working class family, so he had all the moods down for the film. And when he wasn't before the cameras, he was helping in the background, wrapping cables, packing up light reflectors. One day I found him going around a gas station and picking up aluminum snapback lids from soda cans. He knew they didn't exist in 1959.
[on The New World (2005)] I knew it would have a slow, rolling pace. Just get into it; let it roll over you. It's more of an experience film. I leave you to fend for yourself, figure things out yourself.
[on his future] There's a good many pictures I'd like to make, we'll see how many I'll be allowed to make.
[on his methodology] I film quite a bit of footage, then edit. Changes before your eyes, things you can do and things you can't. My attitude is always let it keep rolling.
[on the cinematography of Days of Heaven (1978)] With Néstor Almendros, we decided to film without any artificial light. It wasn't possible in the houses at night, but outside, we shot with natural light or with the fire. When the American team was saying, 'This is not how we should proceed,' Nestor Almendros, very courageously insisted. As we filmed, the team discovered that it was technically easier, and I was able to capture absolute reality. That was my wish: to prevent the appearance of any technique, and that the photography was to be processed to be visually beautiful and to ensure this beauty existed within the world I was trying to show, suggesting that which was lost, or what we were now losing.
[on America in 1979] It would be difficult for me to make a film about contemporary America today. We live in such dark times and we have gradually lost our open spaces. We always had hope, the illusion that there was a place where we could live, where one could emigrate and go even further. Wilderness, this is the place where everything seems possible, where solidarity exists - and justice - where the virtues are somehow linked to this justice. In the region where I grew up, everyone felt it in a very strong way. This sense of space disappearing, we nevertheless can find it in cinema, which will pass it on to us There is so much to do: it's as if we were on the Mississippi Territory, in the eighteenth century. For an hour, or for two days, or longer, these films can enable small changes of heart, changes that mean the same thing: to live better and to love more. And even an old movie in poor and beaten condition and can give us that. What else is there to ask for?
[on why he doesn't work with storyboards] If you try to make things happen, they start to feel presented. The action has been premeditated. It starts to feel like theater, which is wonderful in its own right. But you don't want the movies to be like theater.
[on setting a film in the modern day] I remember feeling timid about it because it's hard to project yourself into the present. I think making a contemporary film you think about what images haven't been used in advertising... but what you come see there is as many images today as there was in the past.
[on what he was aiming for in Song to Song (2017)] I think you want to make it feel to like there just bits and pieces of (the characters') lives. It goes to that quotation that can you live in this world just moment to moment, song to song, kiss to kiss, as she (Rooney Mara's character) says and try to create these different moods for yourself and go through the world as in that (Virginia Woolf) quote, ""How can I proceed now, I said, without a self, weightless and visionless, through a world weightless, without illusion?", and living one desire to the next, and where does that lead, what happens to you in that sort of (life of moments)....It's a hard thing to convey and we didn't know how, so doing lots of locations and lots of songs was our best guess about how to do that.

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