By Drew Taylor | The Playlist September 8, 2011 at 8:29AM
Terrence Malick, whose output seems to be exponentially increasing, has no fewer than three projects actively on his docket: cosmic documentary "Voyage of Time;" an untitled Ben Affleck/Rachel McAdams drama rumored to be called "The Burial;" and a third project, starring Christian Bale, which should begin production in the summer of 2012. The Bale film just became a lot more concrete, as relative unknown Haley Bennett has been cast as the female lead, according to Variety.
Typical of most Malick projects, the plot of the film isn't being revealed ("Tree of Life" has been out for months now and we still don't know what it's about), but Variety notes that the actress, best known for her title role in "The Haunting of Molly Hartley," beat out more well-known actresses like Rooney Mara and Mia Wasikowska.
Malick loves casting unknown actresses in lead roles, with Jessica Chastain and Sissy Spacek both fresh-faced and untested before he slotted them into "Tree of Life" and "Badlands," respectively. Their anonymity didn't last for long, obviously, with both launching off the platform given to them by appearing in his films toward fruitful careers. Chastain in particular seems to be in at least one new movie every weekend (she currently stars in box office juggernaut "The Help" along with Spacek). Q'orianka Kilcher, who Malick cast as Pocahontas in his dreamy historical epic "The New World," on the other hand, hasn't done much since…
Bennett's casting at least means that the project is moving out of the realm of speculative possibility and into the world of "actually fucking happening." And honestly? We couldn't be happier. It's amazing that Malick has chosen to ramp up his productivity this late in the game, and if the rumors are true of the unbridled experimentation going on with the Affleck movie, god only knows what the Bale movie will bring – besides, that is, a new leading lady superstar.