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'Suddenly Patti Smith was there': Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender at SXSW on working with Terrence Malick

The elusive Terrence Malick is seen at the 2012 Fun Fun Fun Fest with actress Rooney Mara filming one of many scenes at Austin music events for the movie that eventually would become "Song to Song." (Rick Kern / WireImage)
The elusive Terrence Malick is seen at the 2012 Fun Fun Fun Fest with actress Rooney Mara filming one of many scenes at Austin music events for the movie that eventually would become "Song to Song." (Rick Kern / WireImage)

IT WAS NO SURPRISE when the famously private filmmaker Terrence Malick (“Tree of Life,” “To The Wonder,” “Knight of Cups”) was a no-show to the world premiere of his latest drama, “Song to Song,” the star-studded opening night film of the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival.

Instead, his A-list cast took the stage Friday night in Austin, Texas, to describe what it’s like to work with the iconoclastic director: “rewarding,” “painful” and, yes, even “fun.”

“It’s interesting, it’s challenging, it’s rewarding, it’s fun, it’s scary,” said Michael Fassbender, who co-stars in the very Malickian picture set against the backdrop of the Austin music scene. “He never stops writing.”

Ryan Gosling appears at the world premiere of Terrence Malick's "Song to Song" at the Paramount Theatre during the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. (Jack Plunkett / Invision / AP)
Ryan Gosling appears at the world premiere of Terrence Malick's "Song to Song" at the Paramount Theatre during the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. (Jack Plunkett / Invision / AP)

Every day was different. Suddenly, Patti Smith was there.

Ryan Gosling on working with Terrence Malick

“We all wanted to have this experience of working with Terrence Malick,” added Ryan Gosling, addressing a sold-out house at Austin’s Paramount Theatre alongside castmates Fassbender, Rooney Mara and Berenice Marlohe. “It’s like nothing else. He’s one of the few filmmakers where you could watch a few seconds of his movies and you know that he made it.”

That’s certainly true of “Song to Song,” a torrid interrogation of love, longing, relationships and betrayal centered around a young musician, Faye (Mara), involved with two men — the successful and manipulative record exec Cook (Fassbender) and struggling songwriter BV (Gosling).

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