AFM 2011: Terrence Malick, Aaron Eckhart Emerge as Film Market's Unlikely Stars

Aaron Eckhart - H 2011
Getty Images

The two were at the center of high-profile projects being shopped at this year's annual gathering of foreign buyers.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The solid American Film Market produced two clear stars: actor Aaron Eckhart (CAA, Hirsch Wallerstein) and reclusive director Terrence Malick (CAA).

Each was at the center of a trio of high-profile projects being shopped at the annual gathering of foreign buyers in Santa Monica. Eckhart is the lead in horror thriller I, Frankenstein; CIA thriller The Expatriate; and The Drummer, a biopic about the Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys.

"These are an amazing series of roles for him," says John Fremes of Essential Entertainment, which is selling Expatriate.

Malick's AFM presence included FilmNation wrapping up sales for his untitled romantic drama, starring Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams, and the launch of two projects, Lawless and Knight of Cups. Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett will star in both films, so Malick plans to shoot them back-to-back next year.

Several insiders who know Malick report that he's been invigorated by the success of The Tree of Life, which has grossed $41 million at the foreign box office (plus $13 million in the U.S.).