Actress Olga Kurylenko, who plays the film's central role, said Malick asked her to read three novels from the Russian canon, "The Brothers Karamazov," "The Idiot," and "Anna Karenina."
"He would tell me, throw away the words, don't speak, move them," Kurylenko said. "Sometimes silence is stronger than words. I think that is what is remarkable about him. He is able to tell you the story, to give you the emotions, through the body, through the silence. ... You don't need the words. The message is still perceived, you still feel it in your gut."