Premiere Photos Drive Home Just How Long Ago Tree of Life Was Shot

More than three years after reports first surfaced of Terrence Malick, Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and the extended Tree of Life family shooting their film in small-town Texas -- and a year after Tree flirted with entering the Cannes Film Festival competition it would ultimately win last weekend -- the most anticipated movie of, like, 2009 finally reaches theaters today. And while it's hardly uncommon for Malick to take his time editing, it is bracing to have a photographic record of how much some things have changed since early 2008. Specifically: the kids.

Pictured right to left below, young stars Tye Sheridan, Laramie Eppler and Hunter McCracken -- who brilliantly plays the film's 11-year-old protagonist Jack (to the extent Tree has a protagonist at all) -- all dropped by this week's U.S. premiere in Los Angeles, where their adolescent growth since filming Tree of Life drove home the months and years since they stalked the streets of Smithville with Pitt and Chastain. McCracken is at least a foot taller than he was in 2008, almost reaching Pitt's height. It's as though the film's ruminations on the inexorability of nature were intentionally rolled over to the red carpet:

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[Photo credits: Tree of Life, Fox Searchlight; red carpet, Getty Images]



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