Malick Working on ‘Tree of Life’ Director’s Cut

Rumors of a Tree of Life director's cut
Photo: Fox Searchlight

It’s no secret Terrence Malick loads his casts with talent only to see roles significantly cut down or removed entirely. The Playlist has dedicated features to it and yesterday they received word that perhaps some of what was removed from Malick’s The Tree of Life may still see the light of day.

Speaking with Tree of Life editor Billy Weber, who has edited everything from Top Gun to The Love Guru, at the TCM Film Festival he said of Tree, “I don’t even know the total [amount of footage that was shot], it was a huge amount of film, because he shot so many scenes. And I’m pretty sure he’s doing a director’s cut DVD of Tree of Life, and that will have some of those scenes deleted [placed back] in.”

When it comes to the amount of footage shot, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki told Les Cahiers du Cinéma way back in 2011, “The first cut was 8 hours long. Terry is working on/preparing a 6 hours long version of the movie. What I’ve seen is absolutely incredible, it’s wonderful. The longer version will have to/will likely, for the most part, relate to the children part. There were outstanding things, we’ve shot many, many things about Jack’s childhood : his friends, his evolution, his changes, his awareness of the loss of his childhood…”

The theatrical cut ultimately ran 139 minutes, and Weber says the reason was Malick “thought that it was going to be too much, and he just couldn’t put it all in.”

Whether this extended cut is released by Fox Searchlight or a more fitting outfit such as the Criterion Collection remains to be seen, but I would certainly be interested to give it a look as I personally haven’t felt the need to revisit Tree of Life since seeing the premiere in Cannes two years ago.

Voyage of Time 2014 IMAX
Photo: Fox Searchlight

Additionally, Weber discussed the much talked about Voyage of Time Malick was working on at the same time, which is suspected of being similar to the cosmic elements of Tree of Life with narration provided by Brad Pitt and Emma Thompson. Weber said of the content that it involves “the first signs of life, bacteria, cellular pioneers, first love, consciousness, the ascent of humanity, life and death and the end of the universe.”

As for when it will finally be released he added, “Voyage of Time is supposed to come out, I think, 2014. It’s all planned, it’s got a release, it has a distributor — it’s IMAX, it’s a big IMAX film — I think it has a date and all of that.”

Well, considering there has yet to be an official announcement I’ll take that 2014 IMAX release rumor with a grain of salt, but the prospect of a little meat being returned to the Tree of Life bone is something worth looking forward to. [The Playlist]

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