Natalie Portman and 'Knight of Cups' Cast Praise Director Terrence Malick

Natalie Portman Christian Bale Knight of Cups Terrance Malick
Natalie Portman and Christian Bale in “Knight of Cups

Natalie Portman on ‘Knight of Cups’ Director Terrence Malick’s Style

When it comes to working with director Terrence Malick, “you have to be prepared for anything,” advises Natalie Portman.

The Oscar winner, who stars in his latest drama “Knight of Cups,” praises the filmmaker for his artistic approach in a recent interview.

“It was wonderful to see the looseness, flow, curiosity, experimentation and willingness to make mistakes,” she adds.

Malick shot the picture in an observational manner, playing with depth, and often tasking them with coming up with their own lines. “It’s improvisational both for the actor and camera—you’re doing this dance for each other… You never do the same take twice, so it’s fun.”

The story follows a Hollywood screenwriter, played by Christian Bale, who spirals into a world of excess after suffering a traumatic experience. The cast features Cate Blanchett, Antonio Banderas, Brian Dennehy, Freida Pinto, Imogen Poots, Isabel Lucas, Teresa Palmer and Wes Bentley.

‘Knight of Cups’: Actors Improvised and Filmed Their Own Scenes

Malick often had scenes change and evolve unexpectedly.

“Terrence (Malick) would be back behind the camera and I would just walk into the scene,” Teresa Palma, who plays Karen the stripper, explained. “It’s called torpedoing—so the actors had no idea someone was going to show up and we all had to improvise on the spot.”

Bale, who plays the screenwriter Rick, said he found Malick’s spontaneity refreshing and often shot scenes himself using a GoPro. “Sometimes they’d say, ‘go drive around LA a bit with one of the actors’ or ‘go into the ocean and swim’ to see if they could get something worthwhile.”

“Knight of Cups” opens March 4.