It’s been years since we heard about Terrence Malick’s The Way of the Wind––as it so happens our 2020 reveal that it had changed titles from The Last Planet might be the most recent info of note. Even by his meticulous and secretive standards has the film, which shot in 2019, seemed less and less likely to ever emerge, making it a relief that some update’s arrived courtesy producer Alex Boden, who told Variety the project is “very much in the edit room.”
Not that it goes much deeper (we said some update), as Boden seems to be reporting secondhand, saying “Terry is very happy with what he is working on so far is the word.” The shooting-to-premiere rate on recent films has tended to be three years (The Tree of Life was 2008 to 2011; Knight of Cups was 2012 to 2015; A Hidden Life was 2016 to 2019; Song to Song was about five, from 2011-2012 to 2017) so Wind‘s four-year gap with a pandemic in-between leaves certain wiggle room, if not the gnawing knowledge that every last project really counts when the soon-to-be-80 Malick isn’t likely giving us much more.
There isn’t much time to converse during film shoots. There I stood, as Satan, with 28 pages of monologue running through my mind, while Jesus barely uttered a word. Most of the time, I tempt Jesus as Satan; it’s not the situation for extensive discussions. During filming, there’s no time for rehearsals, so it’s not the moment for lengthy conversations. It’s akin to a boxer focusing solely on stepping into the ring. Discussing Hungarian history doesn’t help in such moments. Especially not in a Terrence Malick film, where everything is at stake.
However, I got along very well with Géza [Röhrig, who plays Jesus]; it was a great honor to act alongside the lead of Son of Saul. I believe Son of Saul rightfully belongs among the top ten films of all time, and his performance is astounding. I hope that Terrence eventually completes the film.
When asked about the long post-production road, Rylance added, “[You can never be certain] with him, but I consider it a positive sign. It’s like a fine wine or whiskey; it only gets better with time. Terrence isn’t rushing anything either. This is a very important story for him.”
And perhaps this is worth adding: around the time of Wind‘s production––itself not long after A Hidden Life finished––two rather reliable sources told me Malick had been editing a longer cut of To the Wonder, à la Tree or The New World, possibly integrating footage from Eugene Edwards’ adjacent docufiction Thy Kingdom Come. (A great film in its own right and essential companion you can rent here.) Needless to say it was consuming a fair amount of his time further, with all workflow later derailed by COVID. We could hardly cross our fingers harder, or wish in a more meditative voiceover.