A Not-That-Unpredictable Delay For The Sean Penn-Brad Pitt Movie Shot Partly In Houston

In news that is as shocking as finding out that the sun rose in the east once again, reports have emerged that the new Terence Malick film starring Sean Penn and Brad Pitt -- shot partly in Houston -- won't be released as expected this year.

Malick, of course, is the gifted auteur of Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, a director known for shooting a million or so feet of film and then taking his own sweet time assembling it into a movie.

The Tree of Life is his current project, a story about, according to one website, "Brad Pitt as the father of a boy whose lost innocence haunts him as he grows into a man played by Sean Penn."

Malick and Penn spent a week shooting in Houston last June (Despite breathless reporting by the Houston Chronicle, Pitt wasn't in any Houston scenes).

Rick Ferguson of the Houston Film Commission tells us Malick wanted "urban and very high-tech" type of locations.

Scenes -- featuring almost no dialogue -- were shot downtown and in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Not surprisingly, the Malick experience, for HFC, was not quite the same as working with a production company shooting a 30-second car ad. They had to try to match locations for Malick's not-always-precise descriptions of the architecture and sunlight he wanted, Ferguson says.

"It was certainly a very unusual experience for us, in that no one knew what the storyline was, and [there were] just various sort of vague descriptions from Terry every evening that, 'Well, I'd sort of like this idea, and I'd like to have five or six choices, so when we get started in the morning it can just kind of flow organically,'" he says. "Not an easy task."

As for seeing the finished work, you should keep your fingers crossed for 2010.

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