Terrence Malick will plant a new tree with Christian Bale and Olga Kurylenko

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Terrence Malick is still editing, tweaking, adjusting and otherwise fiddling with his latest movie, the Sean Penn-Brad Pitt tour de but-what-the-heck-is-it-actually-about ‘Tree of Life.’ But apparently the meticulous auteur already has an eye outside the editing room and on the set of his next film. So much for those 20-year hiatuses.

According to the company selling said project at the Berlin Film Festival, Malick will in the fall begin shooting an untitled picture, described by said company simply as a ‘romantic drama’ and a ‘powerful and moving love story’ (elaborate detail by Malickian standards, actually). As he did for ‘Tree,’ Malick has lined up a top-tier cast; this one includes Christian Bale and Javier Bardem (and also features Bond Girl Olga Kurylenko and Holmes girl Rachel McAdams), it was revealed today.

Film Nation, the startup sales and financing company from former Weinstein Company executive Glen Basner, is financing and selling the project, while Bill Pohlad, whose River Road is behind ‘Tree of Life,’ is among the producers.

Given Malick’s famously slow work pace -- he went silent between ‘Days of Heaven in 1978 and ‘The Thin Red Line’ in 1998 and has been editing and reediting ‘Tree of Life’ for some time -- the new romance should probably hit sometime in 2019. But maybe the best news about the fall start date for the new film is that it means that ‘Tree of Life’ -- a movie about a Midwestern boy’s journey, according to a thousand read tea leaves -- is actually close to completion. That is, until the director goes back to prune more branches.


-- Steven Zeitchik