Theater for me is a real meditation. You latch onto a piece of writing and you spend a lot of time with it. There’s a lot of repetition, it’s almost like a massage to me, massaging your psyche, massaging the writing itself and trying to extract the deepest potential of the story. Camera work, on the other hand, is ideally very accidental. Things happen out of the blue and you can’t really prepare for it, it’s more spontaneous. I worked with Terrence Malick on To the Wonder—I got cut out—but it was still a fascinating experience. I spent a day down there walking around with Ben Affleck and doing these completely random scenes where the camera was just going all over the place, and you never knew where it was going to be, and during the scene people would be tapping you and telling you to go over here or go over there, say this or do that. And I’ve heard Malick say, “I’m just trying to find the spontaneous, I just want something truly spontaneous to happen.” That’s his approach and there’s only one director on film that I’ve worked with where the whole rehearsal process has really felt beneficial, and that’s Sidney Lumet. But he was a master of that and that’s probably because he turned plays into films and he usually worked with scripts that were very theatrical.
MICHAEL SHANNON TALKS THE ICEMAN, WORKING WITH TERRENCE MALICK, AND THE MEDITATION OF THEATER
From the sweeping plains of Oklahoma to the neon-lit Sonic drive-thru, Malick’s latest meditation on the pain of love will now be open to a wider audience. It’s a shame for those who don’t have an enormous television and high-quality sound system, but imagine the joy of knowing you can still take part in viewing something amazing somewhere in which you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to—watching this on your home television is certainly better than not viewing it at all.
Don’t Panic: ‘To the Wonder’ is Coming to VOD Right Away
And this idea of “the Wonder,” of the abstract beauty inherent in existence, of allowing our eye to deconstruct the way we view the world around us with a spirituality that connects emotion and creation to something beyond, is at the crux of Malick’s work and To the Wonder explores that through the memory of love’s torture.
Watch the US Theatrical Trailer for Terrence Malick’s ‘To the Wonder’