“We’re just starting work on a project for Terrence Malick, animating dinosaurs, the film is The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. It’ll be showing in IMAX — so the dinosaurs will actually be life size — and the shots of the creatures will be long and lingering.” — from an Empire magazine interview with VFX artist Mike Fink that some sources claim to have read but which can’t be located by the mag’s search engine.

Some 18 years ago I over-wrote a very long piece about Malick, a where-is-he? thing called Malick Aforethought. It later ran in truncated form in Los Angeles magazine in ’95 or thereabouts. I don’t have a copy of either version, but I remember researching and describing an ambitious film that Malick wanted to film in the wake of the 1978 release of Days of Heaven, called Q. (A title later appropriated by Larry Cohen when he made Q, The Winged Serpent .)

And I remember a passage about a dinosaur sleeping and dreaming in a sea of magma — I remember that much. The story spanned millenia. We all know there’s a 20th Century portion in which Pitt (I think) plays Penn’s dad in flashbacks. I realize this all sounds a little vague.