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Years in the making, it appears that Terrence Malick’s star-studded music-ensemble film is one step closer to reality. Originally titled Weightless, the romantic film has changed its name to Song to Song and has been given a release date of March 17 and offered its first look into the premise.
The film is a modern love story, set in the thriving and exciting Austin music scene. It involves two couples whose stories become intertwined. Rooney Mara and Ryan Gosling star as Faye and BV, two struggling songwriters, while Michael Fassbender plays a music mogul named Cook, and Natalie Portman plays a waitress who becomes involved with Cook. The film aims to establish the setting as “a rock ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal.”
Joining this massively recognizable cast of actors are several well-regarded musicians, including legends Patti Smith and Iggy Pop. Other names confirmed for the film are the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lykke Li and Black Lips.
All the way back in 2012 it was reported that Mara and Gosling mock-performed a set with Black Lips in Austin during the city’s acclaimed festival Austin City Limits. Then, just a few weeks later during the same city’s Fun Fun Fun Fest, Val Kilmer filmed a scene with the Atlanta garage-rock band.
Fassbender’s character is described as Lucifer-like character that falls from grace before succumbing to evil. It’s not the actor’s first foray into music-based films, and even Austin-centric music-based films. A decent portion of the 2014 film Frank takes place when the titular character’s band is invited to South by Southwest in Austin, TX. However, in that film he played an innocent naive artist, while all directions point to the polar opposite for Song to Song.
Fassbender’s role was originally intended for the similarly-versatile actor Christian Bale (who had to turn it down to star in American Hustle), but at the time was part of Weightless‘ different storyline. It is believed that Bale will still appear in the film, albeit in a supporting role.
According to Gosling, the film did not have a fixed script. Instead, the auteur director Malick would often re-write pages of the ever-evolving story the night before filming a scene, delivering them to the actors day-of filming.
Malick films are always billed as an “event,” so expect big things when Song to Song hits theaters in a few months – especially considering the heavy-hitting cast of artists from the film and music worlds.
UPDATE (1/6): According to mxdwn Movies, Song to Song will open SXSW 2017 on March 10.