Many years ago, Brad Pitt was slated to star in director Darren Aronofsky’s massively ambitious sci-fi epic “The Fountain.” But Pitt dropped out of the movie, and it went into turnaround only to later be saved by the arrival of Hugh Jackman in the lead role. “The Fountain” was a flop, but a very interesting one. And the story of Pitt dropping out of it has always left me curious to see him in some huge sci-fi epic. It appears that curiosity is about to be sated.
Pitt has teamed up with legendary and mysterious director Terence Malick (rumor has it Malick can travel in cloud form) for “The Tree of Life,” which could screen at Cannes if it’s finished in time. Like Malick’s previous films, there’s been a large veil secrecy surrounding the plot. But Pitt spoke to Empire magazine yesterday and gave us some clue as to what the movie is all about:
Brad Pitt let slip about the film he calls "a bit ambitious," which may enlighten you a little further.
When we asked him if this was a science fiction film (yes, even that is in doubt), Pitt replied, "Well, in a way. It's this little tiny story of a kid growing up in the 50s with a mother who's grace incarnate and a father who's oppressive in nature. So he is negotiating his way through it, defining who he's gonna be when he grows up. And that is juxtaposed with a little, tiny micro-story of the cosmos, from the beginning of the cosmos to the death of the cosmos. So that's where the sci-fi – or the sci-fact – comes in."
Pitt also confirmed that Heath Ledger was originally set for a role in the film.
Just a teensy, weensy, miniature story of the birth and death of the universe. A mere piffle, if you will. This is a Terence Malick film, so I fully expect it to be meticulously photographed, and for it to contain a soft narration filled with poetic musings I don’t really understand. But Pitt is the kind of star who can bring in a wider audience to more challenging material, so “The Tree of Life” could end up being pretty cool. At its worst, it’ll be like “The Fountain,” and that‘s not necessarily the worst thing in the world.