Director Terrence Malick is notorious for taking awhile to complete his existentially complex films, often shooting millions of feet of footage that takes years to edit, and now investors on one movie he hasn’t completed is suing him for doing just that.
The Hollywood Reporter has details of a suit filed in New York federal court on Friday by Seven Seas Partnership who allege that Malick and his production company, Sycamore Pictures, are in breach of contract for not producing Voyage of Time, the long gestating Tree of Life-related IMAX film that was to portray “events of our cosmic history, as well as the state of the earth now and the prospects for its future.”
Investors are now demanding the return of the $3.3 million raised for the project and want to be compensated for lost profits. They claim that the Badlands and The Thin Red Line director has become too distracted and has instead “dedicated his energies to four other films in the last five years” – those films being Tree of Life and the divisive To the Wonder, as well as Knight of Cups—starring Christian Bale and Natalie Portman—and an untitled film that are both listed on Malick’s IMDB page as being in post-production.
Malick’s lawyers responded to the allegations saying that “The claims of Seven Seas are without merit. The film was on budget, on schedule, and all funds were used appropriately. Additionally, Seven Seas’ decision to file this lawsuit under the cover of darkness and go public with accusations before presenting Sycamore with a copy of the suit itself speaks to the weakness of the allegations.”
Sounds like some shady business to me, and based on the fact that the complaint also claims Douglass Trumbull, the influential special effects artist who worked on Tree of Life and other sci-fi classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, has formally quit the film saying “no amount of special effects could cover up the fact that no movies existed,” makes it look like we won’t be seeing Voyage of Time any time soon.