Terrence MalickWriter | Producer | Director
Date of Birth 30 November 1943, Ottawa, Illinois, USA
Birth Name Terrence Frederick Malick
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)
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 (1973), 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.
Alexandra Wallace (1998 - present)
Michelle Morette (5 July 1985 - 16 December 1998) (divorced)
Jill Jakes (29 December 1970 - 1978) (divorced)
Always includes narration by one or more characters
Often includes nature as a major element in his films
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
Often casts Christian Bale
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
Often casts Natalie Portman
Resides in Austin, Texas.
M.F.A. from the American Film Institute.
Went to St. Stephen's high school in Austin, Texas, where he played football.
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 20 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 taught philosophy in France from 1979 to 1994.
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
He was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in March 2002 in Austin, Texas.
His grandfather was an Assyrian Christian immigrant to the U.S.
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 Paris.
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 43 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.
"Malick" means "king" in Arabic.
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-year-old, he wrote a 43-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.