How did an arty auteur like Terrence Malick convince a megasuperstar like Brad Pitt to appear in The Tree of Life? It was the other way around, actually: Pitt went after Malick. From the Brisbane Times:
It’s been described as the most unorthodox and potentially audience-alienating film to come out of Hollywood in decades – but that didn’t stop the A-list queuing up for a part in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Brad Pitt’s face – a handsome cliche of mainstream Hollywood glamour – may adorn the front of the gossip magazines more than it does the lobby posters in your average indie film house, but he said himself at the Cannes film festival that he jumped at the chance to sign up for Malick’s project, knowing his commitment would ensure the film’s production.
And Malick is not alone in having stars begging him for work:
Malick is a curious figure, one of a short list of directors who, despite their penchant for making controversial, intense films that squirm awkwardly in the hands of the marketing department, seem to have no problem attracting actors as golden and A-list as Oscar himself. As the casting director for Tree of Life, Francine Maisler, puts it: ”The hardest part about putting out the word that I am casting for Terrence Malick is that my phone rings off the hook.” Most of these filmmakers can neither offer blockbuster salaries nor seduce actors with the promise of a hit, but Malick, along with the likes of Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, the Coen brothers and Michael Winterbottom are unquestionable star magnets.
So let’s dream on behalf of these stars, and the directors, too: What actor/director team-ups would you like to see? Malick with James Franco? Allen with Clive Owen? Tarantino with Kate Winslet? And what kind of project would your dream team do?
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