A really wonderful piece on Badlands and Terrence Mallick, told entirely through quotes.
And every quote paints the brightest picture.
(I had so many thoughts reading this. I felt strangely liberated learning Sheen knew what he knew that day in his Mazda. It seems a rare thing, that kind of clarity in the midst of the now.)
When Terry learned I could twirl, we went straight down to Hollywood Boulevard to a music store and bought a Starline baton. Lo and behold, I was in his back yard twirling my baton, never having imagined that that talent of mine would be useful in any way.
Terry called one night and said, “I want you to play the part.” I had to get up very early the next morning to go to work, and I was driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in a little Mazda. I was listening to a Dylan album I was fond of, and the song “Desolation Row” was playing, and the sun was rising, and it hit me that I was going to play the role of my life. I had been a professional actor since I was eighteen. I was thirty-one, I had four children, I was struggling, doing a lot of television—a lot of bad, silly work just to make ends meet—and I wasn’t having any luck in features to speak of, and here was the part of my life. And I was overwhelmed, and I pulled off to the side of the road, and I wept uncontrollably.
DOUG KNAPP (best boy):
On days they shot in shady areas, there was almost no lighting to be done. Terry would tell me, “Here, take the camera, go off and have fun! Just get pretty pictures!” He said he was looking for the shape of the land. The cloud cover in Colorado is sparse, and it moves quickly, and if you’re high enough and the land’s irregular enough, you get these patterns of shadow moving across the land.
I remember there were people trying to take advantage of Terry because he’d never done a movie before. They would say, “You can’t do this,” or “There’s not enough light for that.” Terry would say, “I want to do it anyway.”
JACK FISK (art director):
Every time we finished shooting on a location or a set, he would say, “I might come back here and shoot something.” That meant we couldn’t do away with it. We had to maintain it. I remember at the end of the film, it had gotten to autumn and we were painting leaves green, because they had turned color.
DAVID THOMSON (film critic):
They’re a little bit like dogs that attack people and the film says: Well, yeah, dogs attack people sometimes. After all, the dog is close to the wolf and it’s in the breed’s history. Not much you can do about it—of course, you’re gonna have to shoot the dog someday. And the dog sort of knows that.
(tip from Ambrose Heron)