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FROM COLIN FARRELL TO POCAHONTAS-LOVING JOHN SMITH.

Byline: - Glenn Whipp

Colin Farrell hasn't seen ``The New World'' yet. He thinks he knows what director Terrence Malick was going for in telling the 17th-century story of the settling of Jamestown and the love between explorer John Smith and Powhatan princess Pocahontas. But then, in the past, others thought they had a bead on Malick, too, only to later learn that they had been all but excised from the film. (Think Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody from ``The Thin Red Line.'')

``You never know with Terry,'' Farrell, who plays Smith, says by phone from the Dominican Republic, where he's shooting Michael Mann's film version of ``Miami Vice.''

``As I read it and I felt it, it's about the evolution of the world, the mixing of cultures, the survival of one at the expense of another. It's about the birth of the complex spirit of America.''

Malick (``Badlands,'' ``Days of Heaven'') wrote a draft of the ``New World'' screenplay in the late 1970s, but the legendarily reclusive filmmaker isn't what you'd call prolific, so it lay dormant until 2002. In its depiction of the New World settlers intruding on natives living in harmony with the land, the movie, which also stars Christian Bale (``Batman Begins''), would seem to continue exploring themes running through Malick's slim body of work.

As for the film's romance between Smith and Pocahontas (played by 15-year-old newcomer Q'Orianka Kilcher), Farrell says that it, too, is an extension of Malick's ideology.

``It wouldn't be your average modernistic approach to a love story,'' Farrell says. ``It's not man meets girl and they have a (bleeping) glass of wine. You don't even know if anything is consummated. But theirs is a love of each other's spirit and an understanding and a desire to learn about each other's culture. As bad as things become, they find solace in each other's company.''

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``THE NEW WORLD''

DEC. 25
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 13, 2005
Words:319
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