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Michael Fassbender Uncertain He'll Make The Cut In Terrence Malick's Austin Movie, William Friedkin Disses 'To The Wonder'

by Kevin Jagernauth
October 30, 2013 2:26 PM
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Michael Fassbender

While fans have been excited about his sudden flurry of activity, 2013 has been a bit of a bumpy year for the always under-the-radar Terrence Malick. His latest "To The Wonder" found him getting the rockiest reviews of his career, while he's in the midst of a lawsuit with producers over his brewing documentary "Voyage Of Time." But, that being said, he's got two more movies cooking, "Knight Of Cups" and the still untitled Austin music scene set picture. And now, a minor update has arrived, but the short answer? He's still working on it, of course.

Michael Fassbender recently talked with GQ as he continues his press run for "12 Years A Slave," and when asked about the Malick flick, he revealed that he's not certain he'll be in the movie. "I'm not sure," the actor said when asked if he was in the final cut or not. "I've got to go actually and do some more voice-over," adding, "just like reams and reams of that." 

And as any Malick fan knows, the writer/director loves voiceover, but he's also cut happy too, so who knows how much of that material or Fassbender's performance will be left. And with a cast that includes Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and Haley Bennett, no shortage of musical cameos, and other pop-ins too by various faces, there is all sorts of opportunity for the focus and shape to change. (Just ask Adrien Brody).

Meanwhile, this video has been passing around The Playlist office, and we're not quite sure where it originated, but it's priceless nonetheless. It's William Friedkin doing a Q&A earlier this year, and throwing a bit of jab at "To The Wonder," and the tree-loving camera work. Watch below.

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  • groovy | November 1, 2013 6:08 PMReply

    I don't think Malick is making movies for the 90 and higher Rotten Tomato rating crowd. Not sure if that equals a bad year. You hate a Malick movie? The line starts over there. You can argue with yourselves endlessly on why you like this one, but didn't like that one.

  • jimn | October 31, 2013 12:12 PMReply

    Malick's films look good but they are conventional looking. He doesn't take any visuap risks like Sokurov, who really can use images with no solid narrative to hook you in and leave you with strange feelings that are hard to put in words. Malick's latest films have a hallmark quality about them that is very offputting to me.

    like most anglo art film directors--like Kubrick--he gets far more credit than he deserves.

    Days Of Heaven is a masterpiece though.

  • Jem | November 18, 2013 9:24 AM

    The Lars von Trier School of Contrarians is that way.

  • Glass | October 30, 2013 11:48 PMReply

    I wasn't a big fan of TTW, but a Q&A with William Friedkin looks like the most boring event on the planet. Can anyone confirm that seeing William Friedkin talk into a microphone in 2013 is the most boring event on the planet? Let us know.

  • Jem | November 18, 2013 9:27 AM

    Agreed. Friedkin has made great stuff but hasn't been relevant in a long time.

  • MMS | October 30, 2013 7:49 PMReply

    If Mr. Fassbender is asked to go back and do a never-ending stream of voice-over in a Malick film, he'll most likely end up in the final cut(s).

    To my mind there's nothing remotely "misfire" about TO THE WONDER. Rarely has a film prompted so many thoughts, feelings and interpretations in me about humans, relations, consciousness, or simply 'being' very broadly put. The sheer honesty presented in the film is almost brutal, and yet very endearing - indeed necessary! Just look at Mr. Bardem's facial expression after a wedding when addressed by an older woman - "Father, I'm going to pray for you." [...] "So you will receive the gift of joy." When do you see an expression like that on film without it being over-dramatized or simply not felt truly..?

    To me Malick is going are truth, unveiling; no theatricality, no pretending, no letting a so-called plot take reigns in a preconcieved notion. Just seeking a truth and honesty, and for that I dearly thank the director for having the guts and conviction to go after...

  • bohmer | October 30, 2013 10:04 PM

    I very much agree with you. I don't understand the sudden hate To The Wonder is having. They say self-parody?! It's just being earnest about love, romance and relationship in his own personal view. Still one of my favorite of the year.

  • Kate | October 30, 2013 6:27 PMReply

    Fassbender's being really, really disingenuous here.

  • Frank | October 31, 2013 7:23 AM

    Yes, he's editing the film on a steenbeck in the woods and then waits for bird calls for inspiration for each cut. This is why it takes so long.

  • AD. | October 31, 2013 6:08 AM

    Do you know why Malick isn't editing this film in the US? Do you know where he is?

  • Kate | October 30, 2013 9:43 PM

    I know someone who worked on it. Yes, there's always the "posssibility" that Malick radically re-envisions the film, but that likelihood is so overstated. Fassbender wasn't on set for just a few days or a week. He was shooting tons of footage for a good six weeks, almost as much as Gosling and Mara, way more than Portman, Blanchett, or Bale. He was a lead on the call sheet. He was integral to almost all the music fest scenes and he's the intersection point of the love triangles. And I was told that the most pivotal scene in the entire movie (involving him and Portman) was blown up all over the internet by paparazzi.

  • Michele | October 30, 2013 7:48 PM

    Do you know something we don't? Or the article doesn't?

  • Cat | October 30, 2013 5:24 PMReply

    Seems like friedkin is willfully not engaging with the film in question

  • Sean | October 30, 2013 9:46 PM

    Personally, there seems to be a big difference to Tree of Life and To The Wonder. TTW just felt hollow. At least ToL tried to tell what it could through visuals that connected to the thin story.
    Hell, even his pre-ToL is great.
    Friedkin's talk of camera logic makes sense though and not even someone like Malick can be excused for something like that.

  • Michael | October 30, 2013 8:54 PM

    Exactly. It's frustrating because I feel like a lot of people treat Malick's movies this way. You say you like The Tree of Life and people act like it's this big pretentious joke. There's more purpose in those movies than a lot of people think.

  • Sean | October 30, 2013 5:19 PMReply

    Every director has misfires. Scorsese has New York, New York, Kubrick has Fear and Desire and Malick has To the Wonder. Sure Friedkin has more misfires, but I appreciate that he challenges himself and tries new things.
    TTW felt like Malick mocking himself. Almost like Anderson with Moonrise Kingdom.

  • Sean | October 30, 2013 8:14 PM

    I would most of his career has been exploring with genre and scripts. Some of it may seem like director for hire work, but I really think he tried his best at certain films. His take on big budgeted Hollywood films was actually kind of great. Rules of Engagement works on a certain level and he knew to keep the Hunted a tight film.
    His 70s and 80s work was also good. Seeing if he could go back to the well but with a new decade with To Live and Die in LA. And to push the boundaries of ratings with Cruising.

    I honestly think Friedkin is an underrated director that people only remember for two films.

    Malick is an amazing visionary, but To the Wonder felt very much like a lazy effort. People can clam on that it's not meant to have a plot takin you through its emotions but the visuals and dialogue (or lack of) doing the heavy lifting. Bullshit.

  • Johnny | October 30, 2013 6:02 PM

    Apart from stuff like Killer Joe and Bug, Friedkin doesn't really challenge himself. Look at his career in the 90's, full of awful Hollywood director-for-hire garbage.

  • Kiki | October 30, 2013 3:32 PMReply

    After watching The Tree of Life I felt really stupid, I kept thinkin "am I so dumb I can't understand any of this? What did everyone see in this?!" But then after watching To The Wonder I started thinking maybe this is more of an Emperor's New Clothes type thing. Everyone is oohing and aahing over something that's just not there. To The Wonder was painful. I don't think I'll ever be able to take Olga Kurylenko seriously again. I'll always expect her to start skipping and twirling. Oh the damn twirling.

    I hope Michael is in the movie, though, because I'm sure I won't like this one too but at least he'll distract me.

  • One day... | October 30, 2013 3:52 PM

    Just keep re-reading your first sentence over and over again.

  • ad. | October 30, 2013 3:22 PMReply

    we don't know what movie Friedkin was talking about. It could be To The Wonder or it could be Tree of Life also.

  • BEF | October 30, 2013 3:35 PM

    Also maybe he just said Malick for trees and laughs, because "two people talking to each other" ... that hasn't happened much in a Malick film since "The Thin Red Line" ... I like new Friedkin, but eh, director potshots.... he has "Jade"

  • anonymouse | October 30, 2013 3:14 PMReply

    Tree of Life is a masterpiece until the final act, which bordered on the kitsch. To the Wonder was a beautifully shot romance but didn't have much else going for it. I never did truly understand Javier Bardem's role in the film, Affleck wasn't given all that much to do, yet Olga was magnificent in it. I hope Knight of Cups and the Austin music film aren't as inchoate and To the Wonder.

    Btw, what film was Fassbender asked if he'll appear in since he worked on both as-of-yet unreleased Malick productions?

  • Anonymouse | October 30, 2013 8:30 PM

    Thanks, Kate. For some reason I thought he was in both, like Bale and Portman.

  • Kate | October 30, 2013 6:27 PM

    He didn't work on both, just the Austin film.

  • yer | October 30, 2013 3:11 PMReply

    William Friedkin is just bitter his career ended 30+ years ago after that shit that was Sorcerer.

  • Heather | October 30, 2013 3:08 PMReply

    LOVE William Friedkin!

  • ad. | October 30, 2013 3:07 PMReply

    The more voice-over you do, the better (Chastain and Kurylenko said the same as Fassbender and they ended up lead roles). So his comment is a good sign he won't be cut.

  • Kate | October 30, 2013 9:48 PM


  • Jamie | October 30, 2013 3:04 PMReply

    To The Wonder and Tree of Life are movies you recommend to insomniacs.

  • Lou | October 30, 2013 5:33 PM


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