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Tree of Life Will Not Open in 2009

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 15, 2009 at 7:16AM

Writer-director Terrence Malick's long-awaited family drama about grief, The Tree of Life, will not be released by year's end. Apparition had tentatively scheduled a December 25 release for River Road's 50s period film, which stars Sean Penn and Brad Pitt. But Apparition chief Bob Berney says that a year-end opening was "wishful. It's definitely not going to come out this year." That's because it won't be finished in time.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Writer-director Terrence Malick's long-awaited family drama about grief, The Tree of Life, will not be released by year's end. Apparition had tentatively scheduled a December 25 release for River Road's 50s period film, which stars Sean Penn and Brad Pitt. But Apparition chief Bob Berney says that a year-end opening was "wishful. It's definitely not going to come out this year." That's because it won't be finished in time.

Malick has taken 30 years to make the movie, so he's not in any rush. He never is. The director has made four films in thirty-five years, from Badlands (1973) and Days of Heaven (1978) to The Thin Red Line (1998) and The New World (2005). He's been fussing in the editing room for more than a year; the film was shot in and around Austin, Texas in spring 2008. The Tree of Life is not heading for Sundance either; it's more likely that the film will debut in Cannes in May. The shape and form of the final film, which may be partly in IMAX, is unknown. Berney still hasn't seen the film, he says. "I can't tell you when it will come out."

This takes the film out of Oscar contention for 2009.

[Photomontage courtesy of The Playlist]


This article is related to: Genres, Headliners, Independents, In Production, Period, Brad Pitt, Apparition


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.