Q. If there was no script, what was the audition like?
A. It was silent. They were filming how I moved, and my basic facial expressions. Then I flew to Austin to meet with Terry.
Q. . I’ve never met Terrence Malick, but he remains pretty much a mystery to the world. Can you unravel some of the mystery for us?
A. I don’t think so. When I flew to Austin to meet him, he wasn’t in the room. There was just the producer and the cameraman. They said they were going to start without Terry. I said, “Isn’t that why I came here — to meet Terry?” They told me not to worry, and they started filming. A couple of minutes later, I was in the middle of improvising a scene when the door opened and a man in a wide-brimmed hat that covered his whole face walked in and quietly sat down on the couch. He kept watching what I was doing. I thought, “This must be Terrence Malick.” It was all so mysterious.
Q. Did he say anything?
A. Every once in a while, I would hear this voice say, “Move to the left” or “Look out the window.” Finally, he started directing me. He was talking from inside that big hat. I couldn’t see his face, but it was magical.
Q. There is not a lot of dialogue in this movie. I don’t understand how he was directing you when you don’t have lines to recite?
A. The funny thing is that we spoke a lot during the filming, but most of it was cut out. I had pages to memorize each day, but you don’t hear the words in the movie. I think Terry has us speak as an exercise, but the words weren’t important to what he is trying to say in his movie. I had to convey my thoughts with my face, my body and my being.