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Thin Red Line

Jim Caviezel walking 'Thin Red Line' to fame

Web posted on:
Thursday, December 24, 1998 11:21:38 AM EST

From Correspondent Ron Tank

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- There's a thin line between imagination and reality, between good and evil, between peace and war in Terrence Malick's new World War II drama.

"The Thin Red Line" follows one company of men on the Pacific island of Guadalcanal in 1942. The second WWII drama this year (Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" was the first), it's based on the autobiographical novel by James Jones, who also wrote "From Here To Eternity." But the movie is as much the creation of its renowned director as it is Jones'.

"There's a little bit of awe you have in Terry, and so it makes you deeply committed to him and the process," says Nick Nolte, who plays Lt. Col. Gordon Tall, the leader of Company "C."

Malick earned his reputation with just two films in the '70s -- "Badlands," with then-unknowns Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, and "Days of Heaven" with the not-yet-famous Richard Gere.

Twenty years later, he's giving a chance to another unknown, Jim Caviezel. The young actor says he's unsure if he's prepared for stardom.

"I don't know if you could ever prepare for that," says Caviezel. "Nick Nolte told me one time, fame is like a red balloon. It just blows up, gets bigger and bigger. It's just full of hot air."

Meanwhile, recognizable faces like John Travolta, George Clooney, Woody Harrelson, John Cusack and Sean Penn all have small parts in the movie.

"I'm probably pretty much cut all the way out of that, but I don't mind," says Harrelson. "I don't mind, I just did a little part."

It's the faces we don't know that tell the main story -- a story not often heard.

"I've had family in the war (who) would never tell me about the accounts, what it's like, what it felt like," says Caviezel. "These fellas finally said, Well you're gonna make a movie about this war, we're gonna tell you what we went through."

Now "The Thin Red Line" tells us all when it opens on December 25.

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