NEW YORK – After a near 20-year vacation, Terrence Malick’s directing career is on again. Sources said he’s gotten a greenlight from Mike Medavoy’s Phoenix Pictures to start filming this summer in Australia on his scripted adaptation of the James Jones World War II novel “The Thin Red Line.” The film will be distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, through Medavoy’s deal there.
He’s now drafting talent to star in the film, and has been in discussions with Sean Penn, Edward Norton and Viggo Mortensen. Other top draws including Woody Harrelson and Leonardo DiCaprio are being pursued, as well as Matthew McConaughey, though the latter is booked. Malick, who made an electrifying debut with “Badlands,” last directed “Days of Heaven” in 1978. The new film is produced by Robert Geisler and John Roberdeau, who’ve worked with Malick on the script for the past 10 years.
Perhaps because of how long it took to develop, some won’t believe the film is real until the bombs begin bursting. The script is just as ambitious as “Days of Heaven,” with 54 significant roles in a script that spans 193 pages. The film takes place on Guadalcanal in 1942. Neither the producers nor Medavoy would comment.