Ben Affleck is poised to have a big fall. The formerly maligned actor stars and directs the drama “Argo” and plays a lead role in Terrence Malick’s “To the Wonder,” a romantic drama premiering at the Venice Film Festival. Or maybe he doesn’t.
Intrepid blogger Jeffrey Wells — who is at the Telluride Film Festival this week, where Affleck is in attendance to support “Argo” — tweeted on Friday that the actor’s “Wonder” part has been significantly cut. “I’m told he’s barely in [it],” Wells wrote.
Of course, that puts Affleck in some pretty great company. It was recently revealed that “To the Wonder” co-stars Rachel Weisz, Amanda Peet, Michael Sheen and Barry Pepper were also cut out of the film completely. Stars Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko and Javier Bardem are presumably still part of the finished product, as are assorted leaves of grass, wind gusts and stalks of wheat.
Malick — a notorious recluse — has done this before. He famously cut Mickey Rourke, Gary Oldman, Martin Sheen and Billy Bob Thornton out of “The Thin Red Line,” and severely reduced the lead role Adrien Brody was set to play.
“I was so focused and professional, I gave everything to it, and then to not receive everything … in terms of witnessing my own work. It was extremely unpleasant because I’d already begun the press for a film that I wasn’t really in,” Brody told The Independent back in 2001. “Terry obviously changed the entire concept of the film. I had never experienced anything like that.”
For his part, Affleck doesn’t seem too upset with the potential cuts. He praised “To the Wonder” for being even more experimental than “Tree of Life.”
“To the Wonder” screens at the Venice and Toronto film festivals. It doesn’t have U.S. distribution at the moment.