Malick’s Method: How to Be a Media Darling


He may not be a household name, but American film director Terrence Malick is getting plenty of press, having just won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. This coverage is more intense than it might be precisely because Malick has not given a formal media interview since 1973. Needless to say, he was not at Cannes to pick up his award.

Undoubtedly, his elusiveness is not a media strategy, and is simply a matter of temperament and a strong will. He has released only five mysterious and enchanting films in 38 years. None of them have been hits, yet top actors like Brad Pitt and Sean Penn sign on gladly. Malick does not give interviews and very rarely makes public appearances, and journalists love him for it. If it weren't for the quality of his work, journalists wouldn't care about him, but we'd wager they'd care a lot less if Malick was as ubiquitous as Orson Welles in his later years.

Before their spotlights begin to dim, Lady Gaga and Donald Trump would do well to learn from Malick's approach to media relations: Don't relate, just disappear on your own terms and do interesting work. It's an approach that might work for corporate brands, too. Imagine the press McDonald's would get if it ceased all marketing and PR for six months.


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