FX legend Douglas Trumbull discusses The Tree of Life


Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is due out in under three months’ time and despite – or maybe because of – very little about it being revealed, it is proving to be one of the most anticipated and talked about films of the year so far.

Special effects legend Douglas Trumbull, who returned from thirty years outside the Hollywood loop to work on the film with Malick, has given an interview to The Australian in which he discusses the film’s themes, describing it as a “man’s place in the universe concept” and “a very, very cosmic and very spiritual movie […] that, in style and content, is quite different from anything you’re seeing.”

Trumbull’s CV for working on what might be called philosophical sci-fi is quite unparalleled: his name is attached to films as prestigious as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Malick supposedly approached Trumbull personally to help get the effects for Tree of Life right after finding early efforts using CGI unsatisfactory. Judging by the trailer released two months ago, Trumbull looks to have exceeded even his own phenomenal standards.

In addition to his comments on Tree, the interview also has Trumbull reflecting on his long career, his views on 3D (about which he has harsh words for Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Great Gatsby) and plans for the future. It’s a fascinating read about a man who has shaped the look of much of cinema’s most influential sci-fi.

[The Australian, via First Showing]