Okay, so let's take these on one at a time. Let's start with "Lawless." This is the film that got Malick fans going in September when Christian Bale and the production hit the Austin City Limits music festival by surprise, shooting on the grounds and the backstage. Haley Bennett had already been announced as one of the co-stars of the film, but just-revealed new additions to the project are Ryan Gosling and Rooney Mara.
Nicolas Winding Refn spilled the beans on Gosling's participation late in the summer, alluding to the fact he had a role in an upcoming Malick film, which, of course, is being kept under wraps for now. However, here's what we can tell you (in case you missed it yesterday). We’ve been told by folks very close to the production that the filming was actually pre-production work (confirmed in today's announcement), and that Bale was on hand working out and finding his character. The actor went method for much of his time on the grounds, interacting with with some of the artists backstage apologizing in advance for any rudeness by saying his character in the movie is kind of an “asshole.” So yeah, don't bet on that footage making it in to the final film.
As for "Knight Of Cups," this a completely left field surprise. This too will star Bale and Blanchett, along with Australian actress Isabel Lucas, probably best known so far for her role in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." No details on this second project either, of course, but the title may refer to the tarot card that represents a contradiction, moodshift or a change of mode particularly as it pertains to love and relationships. Both films are currently in pre-production, with Malick planning to shoot them back-to-back in 2012.
But let's clear up the confusion -- these are two new films in addition to the untitled romance (aka "The Burial") that stars Ben Affleck and Rachel MacAdams among others, and the documentary "Voyage Of Time." Moreover, they are being described as "separate narratives" so don't expect some kind of "The Hobbit"-style two-fer. That's right, Malick now has four movies on the slate. If we were worried about Steven Soderbergh retiring, it looks like Malick is going to be picking up the slack on his work ethic.
This is some pretty massive news, and while there was all kinds of speculation about what Christian Bale would be doing post-"The Dark Knight Rises," it looks like the bulk of his 2012 has been booked so you can likely forget about him for "Oldboy" and whatever other projects were crossing his desk. This is a pretty great move by the actor, undoubtedly with his clout helping to get these pictures financed, but if you've watched the extras on "The New World" BluRay, the actor clearly had a blast working with Malick, and so it's a good opportunity to try and recreate that experience again.
That's all for now, but surely more to come on both projects in the weeks and months ahead. We couldn't be more thrilled. Here's the press release for the full details.