[on The Thin Red Line (1998)
] That was like film school for me. So many of us in that movie ended up barely being in the movie even though we spent five and a half months in Australia with Terrence Malick
. It became obvious early on that Terry had really brought a group of us over there to pull from and improvise on a daily basis what his movie was going to be. So you really never knew when you were going to be on set or when you were going to have a day off, when you were going to be on camera when you were going to be in the furthest reaches of the background. So because I had just directed my first film and was eager to direct my next one I just decided that I needed to leave my actor's ego at the door and try my best to embrace the experience as a film school. And so what that role became for me and what that experience became for me was about watching Terry and learning from Terry because he has an utterly unique approach to how to make a movie in which the script is really something that's handed into the studio to get them to agree to give him the money to then go and make a movie which is really going to be written as he makes it, rather than using the script as a clear blueprint for what the movie will be. If you were to read the "Thin Red Line" script and use it to try and follow the movie you would be utterly lost. You would imagine that you had the wrong script.