Christian Bale, Benicio del Toro, Haley Bennett All Cut From Terrence Malick’s ‘Song to Song’ at SXSW

SXSW: Gorgeous opening night film sees several stars get the famous Malick chop

song to song terrence malick sxsw
(Broad Green)

Terrence Malick’s long-awaited love poem “Song to Song” is not hurting for famous faces — the cast includes Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman and other Oscar-winning actors — but several equally-famous stars got the famous Malick chop in the editing room.

Christian Bale was absent from the nearly two-hour film when it screened at opening night at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Benicio del Toro and Haley Bennett, who were reported as part of the cast six years ago, were also nowhere to be found.

Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett star in  Malick’s Austin-based drama, shot mostly in 2011 — but billed cast member Bale did not appear.

Six years ago Bale shot on location for nearly four weeks, one individual familiar with the project said, but soon broke away to ramp up promotion for his final Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Fassbender’s character, a toxic music executive, was said to be so similar to Bale that no one was sure if he would be included at all, the insider added. The press-shy director, who lives in Austin, does not share details of his movies with the public in advance.

Malick famously cut Adrien Brody down from the lead of his 1998 war drama “The Thin Red Line” to a small supporting role, and eliminated almost all evidence of George Clooney and Mickey Rourke in the same project.

Other actors in the initial casting announcements for “Song to Song” included del Toro, who also shot with Malick, and “Girl on the Train” star Haley Bennett did not surface in the cut screened on Friday night.

The film, one of the more structured works from meandering works of Malick, was a gorgeously-shot love letter to the liberal Texas city.

While short on some movie stars, the film was heavy on cameos from legendary musicians, including Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Val Kilmer and members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, all of whom popped up to interact with the actors in character.  Malick used the annual Austin City Limits concert festival to shoot many of his scenes.

“Song to Song” is a loosely-told love triangle set against the music business, starring Mara as the ingenue, Faye, caught between her love for Gosling and her desire for Fassbender. Broad Green Pictures will roll the film out in limited release on March 17.