By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 15, 2013 at 7:11AM
We were a bit depressed about the reception to "To The Wonder." When Terrence Malick's latest premiered in Venice last year, we found it beguiling and beautiful, and arguably superior to his previous picture "The Tree Of Life." But the critical consensus didn't agree with us, and the film picked up some harsh notices, and in the month since it was released, has made only $500,000 at the U.S. box office.
But we can't imagine that Malick has noticed; the reclusive auteur has since wrapped not just one, but two new movies, and the first official glimpse has arrived of the first of them, with The Hollywood Reporter debuting a still from "Knight of Cups." Featuring Christian Bale and Natalie Portman on a beach together (a set up that should be familiar to connoissuers of the set photos), it's not giving much away, but it's good to know that the film is still ticking along -- to the extent that footage will apparently be screened to foreign distributors at Cannes this week.
The film is, according to backers FilmNation, "a story of man, temptations, celebrity and excess," and Cate Blanchett, Isabel Lucas, Antonio Banderas, Wes Bentley, Imogen Poots, Freida Pinto, Teresa Palmer, Ryan O'Neal, Jason Clarke, Joel Kinnaman and Shea Whigham were among those who featured on set at various points, though lord knows which of them will make the final cut. Will we also soon see a glimpse of Malick's other picture, a picture set in the Texas music industry, possibly linked to "Knight of Cups," that features Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Benicio Del Toro, Holly Hunter, Val Kilmer and Berenice Marlohe alongside Bale, Blanchett and Portman?
Who knows, but don't take this image as a sign that either film will be along any time soon; Malick's hardly hasty in the cutting room, and is apparently editing five different pictures at the moment, and eighteen months separated the first image from "To The Wonder" from its Venice premiere. Either way, "Knight of Cups," whenever it arrives, should be more accessible than its predecessor, as Malick's regular editor Billy Weber told us recently. Stay tuned for any more Malick-related tidbits that might sneak out during the festival in the next ten days or so.