America’s most reclusive of auteurs pairing up with Hollywood’s notorious hothead? It’s quite a prospect, and is in fact on the cards. It transpired yesterday that Terrence Malick, the spectacular yet sporadic director, will be working with Christian Bale, an actor known for bringing a distinctively intense conviction to films (and film sets), on an as-yet unnamed film.
Details on Malick and Bale’s collaboration are currently thin on the ground. The pair have worked together before, the Welsh actor featuring in 1998’s The Thin Red Line, an adaptation of James Jones’ autobiographical novel based on his experience as an American soldier serving in WW2’s Guadacanal battle.
An epic in every sense of the word, Malick’s most recent film, this year’s The Tree of Life, took the universe as its canvas and won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, whilst polarising opinion every step of the way. The inimitable director has a number of promising projects in the works: next year promises a yet to be titled flick starring Jessica Chastain, Rachels McAdams and Weisz, and Ben Affleck; and Voyage of Time, a documentary which will feature footage from The Tree of Life shoot, is expected to appear in 2013, with narration by Emma Thompson.
Malick’s films are deeply personal projects, unparalleled in their scope and ambition. While it is mostly agreed the filmmaker delivers some incredible cinematic moments, he is perceived as a frustrating director due to the often extensive gaps between films, and content which borders upon the absurd and pretentious. Christian Bale is a figure who, similarly, has also garnered both adulation and hostility. Bale’s most discussed performance, rather than his convincingly tormented turns in American Pyscho (2000) and both Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008), is perhaps his shouting fit aimed at a crew member on the set of Terminator Salvation (2009), which, unfortunately for him, became immortalised on the internet.
Two heavyweights of American cinema, notorious for being at odds inspired and pretentious, team up. All we know for sure is that it’s a collaboration which will certainly illicit some strong responses from audiences and critics alike. First impressions, hopes and fears are welcomed.