Ten takeaways from “Made in Austin: A Look into Song to Song” at SXSW

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Holy cats, there he is: Director Terrence Malick, one of the most private filmmakers of his generation, hanging out on stage with Richard Linklater and Michael Fassbender, the latter a star of Malick’s “Song to Song,” chatting Saturday morning at South by Southwest.

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The original cut was about eight hours long. “There was no part of the shooting day that was idle,” Fassbender said. “If we were on the way to a location, we were shooting on the way to the location.”

On finding the character as one goes and the improvisational nature of the shoot. “I like not having lines to learn.” Fassbender said. “It’s a very liberating thing when you’re not carrying dialogue. It’s very hard not to load an intention if I am getting lines as I go.”

From left, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling star in Terrence Malick’s “Song to Song.” Contributed by Van Redin / Broad Green Pictures

Sometimes, Malick is shooting something that is not the actor. “I’ll be acting my socks off and Terry will be filming a beetle,” Fassbender said.

On setting his films now rather than in the past.  Malick said he was a bit timid at setting his films in the present. “(One struggles to find) images you can use that haven’t been a part of advertising,” Malick said. “But then you find there are as many today as there were in the past.”

The original title was “Weightless.” “We had a title card from Virginia Woolf at the beginning,” Malick said. (“How can I proceed now, I said, without a self, weightless and visionless, through a world weightless…”). This ended up still being a bit of a theme.

On having, as Linklater put it, “punk rock elders” in the film. “I was trying not to be overwhelmed by these rock gods,” Fassbender said, “but I do remember that both Patti Smith and Flea, you would put the camera on them and words would just flow out. And then all of the Chili Peppers beat me up.”

Fassbender wishes there was more Val Kilmer kept in. “I was hanging on by my fingernails,” Fassbender said. “He is a force. To be in (this kind of movie), you have to be prepared to fall on your face over and over again all day. That is what I found so impressive about Val.”

On Fassbender maybe directing. “I would like to direct,” Fassbender said. “What would I like to direct? Something contained.” Which this film was not.

“I have no idea when,” he continued. “Starting as an actor, I found I was so focused for so many years on getting an opportunity to work, then focused on getting a lead role. (Now that he has done both of those things) I’ve started to enjoy more and more the collaborative process, the idea that you get the bunch of strangers together and get it to gel.”

On Austin changing. “Your film is already a period film,” Linklater joked. This is actually true, as Malick noted — Alamo Drafthouse South looks totally different now.

Linklater and Malick versus the movie: “Everything you see is the tip of the iceberg (for these characters),” Linklater said. “(To see these movies), I think it just adds a depth, a poetic memory feeling.”

In seeing the bits of pieces of their lives, Malick said, “It’s like the dialogue in the movie, ‘Can you live in this world moment to moment, song to song, kiss to kiss.’ It’s a hard thing to convey.”

 

 

 

 

Richard Linklater adaptation of ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ starring Cate Blanchett to start filming July 2017

Cate Blanchett will star in the Richard Linklater-directed film adaptation of Maria Semple’s bestselling novel, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” — that much we know already. But at the Texas Film Awards in Austin, it was revealed the movie will begin filming this summer.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 14: Cate Blanchett attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on February 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

A walk-on role in Linklater’s new film was part of an auction package at the awards Thursday night (two bidders ended up purchasing the package for $42,000 total, which benefits the Austin Film Society).

Semple’s 2012 novel spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s the story of Bernadette Fox, an eccentric agoraphobic mother who disappears before a family trip to Antarctica. The book is narrated by her 15-year-old daughter, Bee Branch. No word yet on who will play the daughter in the movie.

The movie’s screenplay was adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, known for “The Fault in Our Stars” and “500 Days of Summer.” Stephen Feder, who worked on Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some,” will be the executive producer.

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Shirley MacLaine walks the Texas Film Awards red carpet with Richard Linklater

Shirley MacLaine, whose legendary film “Terms of Endearment” was honored with the Star of Texas Award at the Texas Film Awards at Austin Studios Thursday night, had someone special on her arm on the red carpet before the ceremony: Austin’s own Richard Linklater.

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Both were wearing excellent shirts.

They walked the red carpet together, but are they working together anytime soon?

“That would be wonderful,” Linklater said. “Shirley’s not going anywhere.”

Linklater presented MacLaine with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the awards Thursday, honoring the actress’ illustrious career more than 50 films.

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The Austin director, who worked with MacLaine on “Bernie,” called the actress an honorary Texan. He even paid tribute to her with his outfit: his loud bowling shirt had a picture of MacLaine on it.

MacLaine, accepting the award, said she was glad to be there — “I’m glad to be anywhere,” she joked. In her acceptance speech, she gushed about her love for Austin and how great it felt to be in a creative community.

“I think you should build a wall around this city,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed every time I come back here.”

Ethan Hawke joins AFS for special screening of “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” chat with Linklater

AWAAQAHQ-P604101On  Feb. 17, Austin Film Society will present a special screening of “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” Sidney Lumet’s final feature film starring Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman, complete with a conversation with Hawke about the making of the film, and collaborating with Lumet and Hoffman.

The following evening, Hawke will be the featured guest at an AFS Artist Spotlight, where he will participate in a live, on-stage conversation about his life and work with AFS Artistic Director and Founder Richard Linklater, Hawke’s long-time creative collaborator.

Hawke is the star of Linklater’s “Before” trilogy, “Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset,” and “Before Midnight,” considered by many to be both some of the most romantic and realistic-about-marriage films of their era.

Hawke is also the star of the extraordinary “Boyhood” and has appeared in other Linklater films such as “The Newton Boys” and “Waking Life.”

Both Linklater and Hawke will participate in a private reception Feb. 18. A very limited number of tickets are on sale for the reception and can be purchased by contacting AFS Director of Relationships and Revenue, Lauren Alexander-Labahn at Lauren@austinfilm.org. Tickets are $275 for the public and $250 for AFS Members.

Tickets to the  screening are $25 public / $15 for AFS Members. Tickets for the AFS Artist Spotlight are $40 General Public / $30 for AFS Members. Tickets for both are $60 for the public and $40 for AFS members. All are on sale now at austinfilm.org/EthanHawke. Ticket packages are on sale here.