According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tree of Life could now star Heath Ledger and Sean Penn, who appeared in Malick's The Thin Red Line. The trade states the actors, as well as Malick, are in talks but that shooting is expected to begin in March. River Road Entertainment, which worked with Penn on Into the Wild and with Ledger on Brokeback Mountain is heading the project with the company's founder, William Pohlad, and Sarah Green (The New World) producing.
As I said, little is known about the film. THR mentions the usual "plot is closely guarded" irritant, and to rub in the annoyance tells us an insider could only say that it's a "complex drama." According to a bit of trivia on the IMDb, Tree of Life actually originated in the summer of 1978, when Malick began working on the project, which was then titled Q. Considered his most ambitious project, Q was originally a multi-character story set in the Middle East during World War I, but it also featured a prehistoric prologue with a Minotaur. Then, by the end of the year, the prologue became the whole film. Like The Fountain, it seems like the plot took place over a long, long time. Unfortunately, in 1979 the director and Paramount apparently had a falling out about money; after that Malick disappeared for twenty years.
Anyway, does it really matter what Tree of Life is about? The important thing is that we could get a fifth feature from Malick!