Film Nation’s announcement about a deal to handle sales and distribution for two Terrence Malick projects, Lawless and Knight of Cups, is somewhat surprising, yes, but it’s not exactly a waffle iron knocking everyone off-balance. The films will shoot back-to-back next year with Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett costarring in both.

(l.) Terrence Malick (in hat and shades), (right-middle) Christian Bale during shooting of footage in Austin in mid-September.

Remember that video clip that was posted in September of Malick shooting some kind of footage of Bale strolling around an outdoor concert in Austin? (My post was called “Live Sasquatch.”) That was obviously the beginning of something. And remember also that Emmanuel Lubezki told me at the recent Hollywood Awards presentation that he hoped to be shooting Malick’s next project?

Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara will costar in Lawless but not Knight of Cups.

The fact that Bale and Blanchett will star in both Lawless and Cups suggests that the films will probably be narratively linked on some level. It would be…I don’t know, strange or curious for Bale and Blanchett to appear in back-to-back Malick projects playing wholly separate and unrelated characters…no?