The former Bond girl stars as a woman whose cold and withdrawn husband (played by Ben Affleck) reconnects with an ex-lover (Rachel McAdams) as his marriage falls apart, but the actors didn’t have much time to memorise their lines as they only received their parts of the script in daily deliveries hours before they were due on set.
Malick, who insists cast and crew keep film details under wraps while shooting, tried to collect the scripts from each castmember at the end of every day and ordered them to destroy any pages they had left behind in their hotel rooms – but Kurylenko couldn’t stand to watch the “wonderful” work go up in smoke.
She reveals Malick insisted on the last-minute script deliveries because he preferred his stars didn’t “rehearse too much and overthink it”, and reveals, “They always tried to recuperate the pages, and what they didn’t get back Terry or his assistant instructed us to burn… It’s the most horrible act that can be done. Burning those pages.”
Kurylenko expands on her feelings about destroying the script in a reflective article about her experience working with Malick for Black Book magazine, in which she writes, “I receive pages (with her lines on) every morning, sometimes 10, sometimes more… The words are (excuse my poeticism) rather like a breakfast for the soul.
“Every morning it’s a feast! If I digest the sense of what the pages contain, the nature of Terry’s words will shine through my eyes while we’re filming, and I won’t even need to speak.
“Every sentence is filled with such deep knowledge of the soul. They force me to think and reflect on my own life, to ask myself questions. Reading Terry’s words makes me realise I’m spending so much precious time on such unnecessary things… Wonderful pages. I’d like to cover my walls with them. Instead, I’m instructed to burn them.”