When an actor works with Terrence Malick it means throwing out everything they’ve ever learned in drama school or on a film set. Whatever script they might have initially read goes out the window, and Malick asks his performers to just, be. Maybe he’ll hand an actor a scrap of paper with am aphorism written across it. Maybe he’ll give them some minor stage direction, then let the camera follow from there. Michael Fassbender recently described Malick’s style as giving his cast “flavors as opposed to direct commands or instructions.” Some actors love it; others notoriously hate it.
If you can’t decide what to watch this weekend, ScreenCrush’s Staff Picks are here to help. They’re like the recommendations at an old video store, except you don’t have to put on pants or go outside to get them. Here are six things to watch this weekend:
Last week I had a dream that Terrence Malick suddenly came out of the woodwork and started doing interviews. Not that I’m psychic or anything, but I think I’m kinda psychic. On Saturday the famously reclusive filmmaker, who hasn’t given a print interview since 1973, showed up at SXSW for a 30-minute talk with Richard Linklater and Song to Song star Michael Fassbender. It was an incredibly rare chance to hear about his filmmaking process, his personal life, and to actually see the guy in the flesh. On top of that, Malick fans got to learn even more rare details about the director’s work and life in a new in-depth profile.
Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: The new Terrence Malick film opens with a Die Antwoord song. The past several years have been the most productive of the reclusive filmmaker’s career as he’s been churning out more movies now than in the first three decades of his time as a director, but they’ve also been his most surprising.
Terrence Malick likes being caught on camera about as much as he likes plots in his movies; in other words, not at all. So it was pretty extraordinary a few years ago when he was filmed working with Christian Bale at the Austin City Limits film festival.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s a great time to be a Terrence Malick fan. After making only six films between 1973 and 2012, the reclusive filmmaker released two films last year (one of which has three different versions) and has two more on the way this year. The first up is his much anticipated rock and roll-infused drama Song to Song, starring Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman.
Austin, Texas native Terrence Malick shot his latest movie in and around the Austin music scene. And earlier this week, news broke that the film, freshly retitled Song to Song, was ready for release and coming to theaters in March. So we probably should have seen this announcement (via The New York Times) coming: Song to Song will open the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival. So you know what this means: A glitzy opening night red carpet, complete with Terrence Malick posing for lots and lots of photos and interviews. Or the exact and total opposite of that.
A brief personal anecdote: I had the good fortune of attending the Austin City Limits music festival in 2012, where I caught an outdoor set by Atlanta indie rock outfit the Black Lips. During the performance, I spotted an unfamiliar figure gripping a guitar onstage, a young woman who looked suspiciously similar to Rooney Mara. I’d find out the next day that she, Ryan Gosling, and Terrence Malick had come to town to slyly shoot some footage for an untitled project about the Austin local music scene. It was neat at the time, but over the past five years, I had forgotten all about it.
2016 began with a new Terrence Malick movie then gave us two versions of his first documentary effort. Then we got not one but two versions of his first documentary effort, and New Yorkers were treated to special screening of The Tree of Life accompanied by a live orchestral performance of Alexandre Desplat’s score. And now, Christmas has come early for Malick fans: we’re getting a third version of Voyage of Time this weekend.
You may not know Haley Bennett’s name yet, but by the end of the fall movie season you’ll certainly recognize her. The 28-year-old actress, who’s appeared in ‘Hardcore Henry’ and ‘The Equalizer,’ has been acting for almost a decade, but its her trio of upcoming films this year that are bound to put her on your radar.