"Bigelow Ordered To Cease Fire on KILL BIN LADEN, Malick Travels the LAND OF SKY AND SEA To Execute Instead."
---Scott Templeton, Hollywood Sun
In a surprise turn of events, it's officially announced that Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow has been replaced by non-Oscar winning director Terrance Malick to direct the highly anticipated film that will chronicle the search and destroy mission of Al-Queda's now deceased mastermind. Also official is a title change from the exploitative sounding KILL BIN LADEN! to the more simple and ethereal LAND OF SKY AND SEA.
Malick, more known for esoteric films like DAYS OF THUNDER and THE BIG RED ONE, will still use the script that Bigelow and her frequent collaborator Mark Boal wrote-- while also commissioning BEING JOHN LITHGOW scribe Charlie Kaufman to craft a fictional tragedy to frame around the true story of the now legendary Navy Seal Six Team mission. Keanu Reeves and Catherine Keener join the cast for the segment that Kaufman wrote. Joel Edgerton(ANIMAL KINGDOM) remains onboard for Bigelow and Boal's.
Here's where it's interesting and refreshing: the announcement was made by Bigelow herself in a press statement without a trace of bad blood, and full of abundant excitement. Below are snippets of further information regarding title change, cast and additions, a new financial foundation for production, and what to expect:
Malick taking over:
["It's an honor. An absolute honor. If Terry wants to make your movie, then you let him. Period."]
Retaining credit, crew, and new financial backers:
["One of the few things that initially made me hesitant for a short while is that we(editor's note: Bigelow and Boal) were far in the preproduction stage of KILL, and had already secured a lot of employment for people. Concern was had for their possible unemployment. Terry, in an act of generosity, is keeping the same crew as well as keeping our credits for writing and producing. All this made possible with our new financial backers: [a]new production company [called] Consider The Lobster Films started by a Mr. Clarence Otis, JR. A man of considerable wealth that's not afraid to spend his riches to make sure Terry redefines the words "Poetic", "Philosophy", and "Artistic Shit".]
Title and New Synopsis:
["To my understanding, LAND OF SKY AND SEA will be similar to TREE OF LIFE in regards with how it's bookended. It begins with a soaring montage of the evolution of the airplane from the first Wright Brothers model all the way up to the insidious image of two 747s approaching a major metropolitan city; its destination never seen as it gives to a fade transition.
From there, two narratives begin over the coarse of 10 years set in real time: one about a grieving man(Keanu Reeves) who mourns the loss of his loved one. Scant information is given about how this loved one passed. We only know this because
The Man stands over the grave, looking at a picture of a woman. The shot is framed at an angle where the picture being held obscures most of the tombstone's infomation; only revealing the year '2001'.
As The Sad Man finds solace in group grief counseling sessions, and love blooms between him and another person of grief(Catherine Keener), we follow a military task force as they try to find, capture, and (if need be) kill, the person responsible for a devastating attack on American soil.
The final setpiece will start with a respectful burial at sea taking place in the North Arabian Sea. As the lifeless vessel sinks deeper and deeper, we see it bring nourishment to the surrounding aquatic ecosystem little by little. From there, we chart the narrative of that ecosystem as it goes about it's business until it is ravaged by various fishing boats, the creatures stripped of their consciousness by factory assembly lines until finally they make their final destination captured in the film's closing shot: being served on plates as a meal in a Red Lobster restaurant to the two grieving people earlier in the film. The food bringing sustenance and creating the fertility needed to start a new life together.
A reality that can only take place within the land of sky and sea."
The first announced release date for LAND OF SKY AND SEA is set for February 30th, 2015. If Malick gets the film in theaters on that date, it will be impressive. However, given his track record, it's advised to be flexible.