Sources close to Terrence Malick’s have confirmed reports that Oscar winners Ben Affleck and Rachel Weisz have joined the cast of the reclusive director’s as yet untitled next movie.
Apparently Affleck will be replacing Christian Bale in the film – which has been described as a “romantic drama” and a “powerful and moving love story.” Aren’t they all!Malick is currently putting the finishing touches on his latest feature Tree of Life, which stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and he’s allegedly been prepping a Fall shoot in Oklahoma for his next film.
Christian Bale (who starred in Malick’s The New World), Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko were previously announced as the cast members, but Affleck’s appearance in Bartlesville, alongside his wife Jennifer Garner, led to speculation that the Armageddon star would be joining the cast – speculation that appears to have been confirmed by The Wrap. Affleck was reportedly seen checking out locations that had previously been viewed by Malick and Christian Bale.
While in Bartlesville, Affleck told locals (while buying fishing tackle) that he would be playing a fisherman in a film that would be shooting there in the coming months.
There seems to be no reason given as to why Bale has left the project. Maybe it was scheduling – or maybe it came down to Malick’s perfectionism. Hundreds of actors were cast, cut and not included in his epic 1998 war film The Thin Red Line. Stars like Johnny Depp and Kevin Costner were lined up, but never filmed, while others like George Clooney were given fleeting moments of screen time.
If I’d told you a few years ago that Ben Affleck would be working with legendary auteur Malick, you’d either not believe me or would be up in arms that the star of Gigli and Paycheck would be working with the “Salinger of Celluloid” (Malick was even once rumoured to be working on an adaptation of Catcher in the Rye). Since then however, Affleck has given us good reason to trust him with an outstanding directorial debut in Gone Baby Gone (his next The Town is on the way) and delivered some powerful acting in Hollywoodland and State of Play. It seems that Jennifer Lopez’s former arm-candy is having something of a career resurgence.
Malick is a director that every film fan worth their salt knows; he takes his time with his projects, having only directed five films in forty years (including the soon to be released Tree of Life). It’s surprising, and a big deal, that he’s moved on to another film so soon. A Fall shoot, and the close association that fishing has with nature, gels with Malick’s love of the outdoors and the natural world – so it’ll be interesting to see what sort of visuals he conjures up.
Malick has been a hugely influential director – Badlands was an inspiration for Quentin Tarantino when he was writing True Romance. Malick’s “magic hour” visuals for Days of Heaven are also legendary and his ensemble cast for The Thin Red Line is pretty epic. The New World was unjustly maligned on its release, and it really does deserve a second look on DVD.
Malick fact-fans should also be made aware that in the early 1990s quite a few of the original prints of Days of Heaven were destroyed when someone accidentally mistook them for prints of the (then) recent Tom Cruise film Days of Thunder whilst clearing the archives!
Keep reading Screen Rant for more details on Terrence Malick and his upcoming film projects.
Tree of Life will be released this November.