‘Tree of Life’ director Terrence Malick lines up films with Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale

Once notorious for dropping off the filmmaking map for 20 years in his prime, director Terrence Malick is becoming extremely prolific these days.

The secretive and infamously press-shy “Tree of Life” director has lined up two new star-heavy films with FilmNation, including the Ryan Gosling-starring “Lawless.”

In addition to the busy Gosling — fresh off the one-two punch of “Drive” and “The Ides of March,” “Lawless” will star Christian Bale (“The Dark Knight”), Cate Blanchett (“The Hobbit”), Rooney Mara (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and Haley Bennett (“Marley & Me”).

Meanwhile, the deal’s second film, titled “Knight of Cups,” will reunite Oscar winners Bale and Blanchett and will also star Isabel Lucas (“Immortals”).

No storylines have been revealed, but the films are currently both in pre-production and will shoot back-to-back sometime in 2012. Like his previous films, the duo will likely emphasize Malick’s meditative, nature-fixated visual style over traditional narrative storytelling.

FilmNation’s Glen Basner said in a release, “FilmNation couldn”t be happier to continue to act as Terrence”s international sales agency. Terrence is a brilliant filmmaker and an enormous draw for talent and filmmakers alike. We look forward to robust sales at AFM on both of these films.”

Malick broke onto the scene with his 1973 debut “Badlands,” which was followed five years later by “Days of Heaven”…and then nearly two decades of silence. After years of gaining esteem from critics and filmmakers alike, the influential director returned with 1998’s all-star WWII drama “The Thin Red Line.” “The New World,” also featuring Bale, was released in 2005, and he most recently directed “Tree of Life” with Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain.

“Lawless” and “Knight of Cups” will follow hot on the heels of the untitled project Malick is currently shooting with Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem.