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Christopher Plummer on why working once with Malick was enough (plus Newsweek's Oscars Roundtable)

3 years agoby:

BasicMalickTerrence Malick is, from all accounts, a rather tough guy to work with.  It could be argued that this arises from how intensly private he is about both his life and his work - I mean, there's pretty much only one good picture available of him, and it's the one I've included to the right of this text.

Perhaps his being "tough to work with" explains why so few people make a second film with him, though Christan Bale has recently done what he can to buck that trend. Malick does what he feels he needs to do to achieve the shots and visual storytelling he believes to be the point, and doesn't seem to care for much for tradition or normal practice or "the way things are done." Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but it does have its effects and repercussions.

In a recent round table (or triangle table) interview with some of 2011's best actors, Christopher Plummer was asked what it was like to work with Malick on THE NEW WORLD.  Here's the very interesting stuff he had to say, including how he "gave [Malick] shit for being boring" (along with an extra story from Clooney about THE THIN RED LINE):

You can check out the rest of Newsweek's Oscars Roundtable here!

Extra Tidbit: What's your opinion on what happened with Adrien Brody? Was it wrong of Malick? Should he at least have told Brody ahead of time? Does it not even matter?
Source: The Daily Beast

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4:28PM on 01/29/2012

Malick an Artistic Genius? Hardly.

I realize that trying to define what a ' good' or ' bad' director is can be totally subjective. It is largely personal opinion involved. I say this because Terence Malick bores me to tears. I've seen his entire back catalogue, and I liked Days of Heaven and Badlands, and parts of The Thin Red Line, but ( and this is only my opinon) seeing endless sweeping shots of grass waving in the breeze, or trees, or water, mean nothing in terms of telling or moving the story along. If I want pretty
I realize that trying to define what a ' good' or ' bad' director is can be totally subjective. It is largely personal opinion involved. I say this because Terence Malick bores me to tears. I've seen his entire back catalogue, and I liked Days of Heaven and Badlands, and parts of The Thin Red Line, but ( and this is only my opinon) seeing endless sweeping shots of grass waving in the breeze, or trees, or water, mean nothing in terms of telling or moving the story along. If I want pretty pictures, I'll grab a National Geographic. I think that because he is not a prolific director, when he does make a project, go running to him and the press lines up to laud his latest pronouncement on the Human Condition. Sorry, but to me, this ' Emperor' has no clothes. Terence, Get an editor who ain't afraid to tell you when a shot is over.
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2:24PM on 01/28/2012

cranky old bastard

AND I LOVE HIM
AND I LOVE HIM
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12:12PM on 01/28/2012
Here's the thing. It was a shit move on Malick's part for fucking over Brody like that, no doubt - but they all shit on him here, didn't expect it from Clooney either. Whether you agree with it or not, Malick divides audiences based on personality traits. If you're a quiet, meditative person who sees more in the details, Malick is the type of a filmmaker for you - if you're not, of course you're going to hate him and find him boring. Saying that Malick needs a writer because his films don't
Here's the thing. It was a shit move on Malick's part for fucking over Brody like that, no doubt - but they all shit on him here, didn't expect it from Clooney either. Whether you agree with it or not, Malick divides audiences based on personality traits. If you're a quiet, meditative person who sees more in the details, Malick is the type of a filmmaker for you - if you're not, of course you're going to hate him and find him boring. Saying that Malick needs a writer because his films don't align with your views on film OR on life is like spitting in Malick's face or anyone who likes his films.
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6:08PM on 01/27/2012
Very fascinating and blunt. Mr. Plummer just went up on my cool list. I agree with him 100%.
Very fascinating and blunt. Mr. Plummer just went up on my cool list. I agree with him 100%.
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3:04PM on 01/27/2012

Now...

That was fascinating. Wow.
That was fascinating. Wow.
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10:35AM on 01/27/2012

Yes, Mallick should have told Brody

For whatever reason, Brody was led to believe he was the lead in the film and was promoting the movie with that in mind. That was a real douche move by Mallick.

And Christopher Plummer is hilariously blunt; this is the guy who once referred to his most famous role as "The Sound of Mucus."
For whatever reason, Brody was led to believe he was the lead in the film and was promoting the movie with that in mind. That was a real douche move by Mallick.

And Christopher Plummer is hilariously blunt; this is the guy who once referred to his most famous role as "The Sound of Mucus."
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+10
10:08AM on 01/27/2012

Boring filmmaker makes pretty pictures

His films bore me into near-comas. The Thin Red Line being the only one that can somewhat hold my attention.

I think Malick should be a DP or a photographer.

As far as Brody goes, I think a head's up would have been a nice.
His films bore me into near-comas. The Thin Red Line being the only one that can somewhat hold my attention.

I think Malick should be a DP or a photographer.

As far as Brody goes, I think a head's up would have been a nice.
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+8
9:59AM on 01/27/2012

I want to see the whole roundtable

Does anyone have a link to it?

As for the clip, I can clearly see why actors wouldn't want to work with Malick, if he's so protective of his vision and doesn't allow actors to let themselves go as much as they'd like to... plus the Brody thing was a dick move by Malick...
Does anyone have a link to it?

As for the clip, I can clearly see why actors wouldn't want to work with Malick, if he's so protective of his vision and doesn't allow actors to let themselves go as much as they'd like to... plus the Brody thing was a dick move by Malick...
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10:32AM on 01/27/2012
Click on my source (The Daily Beast) to see the rest - very fascinating stuff, I must say.
Click on my source (The Daily Beast) to see the rest - very fascinating stuff, I must say.
9:50AM on 01/27/2012
Sucks for Adrien Brody. But yet I thought The Thin Red Line was a near masterpiece. The New World, on the other hand, sucked. It's a beautiful bore. I have some issues with The Tree of Life, but as a whole I loved it's visuals, it's ambitions and thought it was very good albeit very flawed.
Sucks for Adrien Brody. But yet I thought The Thin Red Line was a near masterpiece. The New World, on the other hand, sucked. It's a beautiful bore. I have some issues with The Tree of Life, but as a whole I loved it's visuals, it's ambitions and thought it was very good albeit very flawed.
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9:34AM on 01/27/2012
To be fair Sean Penn has done more than one movie, though after his thoughts on Tree of Life, I doubt he'll repeat that.

I like Terrence Malick's work very much, and I think Plummer gives him due credit for being an excellent photographer. The man knows how to mesmerize with visuals. But his first two movies have the strongest stories (with "Days of Heaven" being nothing short of an astonishing 92-minute epic).

I know it felt weird watching Tree of Life, and emerging as maybe one of the
To be fair Sean Penn has done more than one movie, though after his thoughts on Tree of Life, I doubt he'll repeat that.

I like Terrence Malick's work very much, and I think Plummer gives him due credit for being an excellent photographer. The man knows how to mesmerize with visuals. But his first two movies have the strongest stories (with "Days of Heaven" being nothing short of an astonishing 92-minute epic).

I know it felt weird watching Tree of Life, and emerging as maybe one of the minority who actually kind of liked it. I was also probably the youngest person there.
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9:13AM on 01/27/2012

Interesting.

He pulled no punches on that interview.
He comes across as in love with his own work, and criticizes Malick for the same thing.
HOWEVER, he was honest and succint and stated that his views of film are not the same as Malick's view(s), which is good.
As for Brody's situation... it would have been professional courtesy to let him know before the premier.
He pulled no punches on that interview.
He comes across as in love with his own work, and criticizes Malick for the same thing.
HOWEVER, he was honest and succint and stated that his views of film are not the same as Malick's view(s), which is good.
As for Brody's situation... it would have been professional courtesy to let him know before the premier.
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