- All-Star Cast: More than Ocean's Eleven. According to one critic, "everyone in Hollywood auditioned for the film," because Malick was a mysterious legend who hadn't made a film in 20 years.
- Billing Displacement: It's more than a little baffling why Sean Penn got top billing.
- You'll also see George Clooney's name and face plastered on ever poster, trailer and box cover to do with this film. He turns up in the background of one scene near the very end of the movie.
- Not only that, but for some reason John Travolta isn't listed on the poster or in the trailer. Now, this could be understandable, given how he only has roughly two scenes that come near the beginning-middle of the film, but the fact that they easily outmatch Clooney's one cameo in length leaves one confused as to why he would be substituted. Adding to the perplexity is that Travolta is practically the only A-List talent in the film's final cut whose name isn't on the poster.
- Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, Jim Caviezel, Nick Nolte, Woody Harrelson, Ben Chaplin, John Cusack, John C. Reilly, George Clooney, John Travolta, Jared Leto, Tim Blake Nelson, and John Savage.
- Deleted Role:
- Billy Bob Thornton recorded a narration that wasn't used. In addition, Bill Pullman, Gary Oldman, Lukas Haas, Viggo Mortensen, Martin Sheen, Jason Patric, and Mickey Rourke all ended up on the cutting room floor. Rourke was particularly upset at this, as he felt he gave the best performance of his career.
- Adrien Brody shot over an hour's worth of finished scenes in which he was one of the central characters. All of it was cut, except for a brief glimpse of Brody delivering a single throwaway line in the background. Nobody bothered to tell Brody, who found out about this when he saw the premiere with his parents, who expected him to be a significant character, in attendance. Yet another in the long list of dick moves by Malick in the making of this movie.
- Doing It for the Art: Practically the whole film is internal monologue.
- Dueling Movies: With Saving Private Ryan.
- Saved from Development Hell: The Other Wiki states that—"Malick began adapting The Thin Red Line on January 1, 1989. Five months later, the producers received his first draft that was 300 pages long ... Malick spent years working on other projects ... By January 1995, Geisler and Roberdeau were broke and pressured Malick to decide which one he would complete ... In April 1997, three months before filming, Sony pulled the plug while crews were building the sets... 20th Century Fox agreed to put up $39 million of the budget with the stipulation that Malick cast five movie stars from a list of 10 who were interested.
- What Could Have Been:
- Tom Berenger, Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ethan Hawke, Matthew McConaughey, Al Pacino, and Brad Pitt were considered for roles and met with Terrence Malick. Scripts were also sent to Tom Cruise and Robert de Niro, while Bruce Willis even went as far as offering to pay for first-class tickets for the casting crew, to get a few lines for the movie.
- Before the casting was finalized, Nicolas Cage had lunch with Malick in Hollywood in February 1996. Malick went off to scout locations and tried calling Cage that summer only to find out that his phone number had been disconnected.
- Malick offered Edward Norton a part, having been impressed by his performance in Primal Fear. Norton even flew out to Austin to meet Malick, but he wasn't cast.
- Harrison Ford turned down the role of Gordon Tall.
- Neil Patrick Harris was considered for the role that went to Lukas Haas but was eventually left on the cutting room floor.
- The role of Marty Bell was originally meant for Julia Roberts.
- Josh Hartnett auditioned for the film eight times. He never once met Terrence Malick.
Trivia / The Thin Red Line