Terrence Malick’s renown as a powerful, boldly experimental auteur ranks just slightly above his reputation as someone who will cut any actor out of any movie, no matter how famous they are. He’s been getting press recently for having cut the performances of Rachel Weisz, Michael Sheen, Barry Pepper, and Amanda Peet entirely out of his latest, To the Wonder, and now it seems like Malick’s cutting has only just begun.
The Playlist pointed on Friday to a Tweet from entertainment reporter Jeff Wells that said “Affleck didn’t say this, but I’m told he’s barely in To the Wonder à la Adrien Brody in Thin Red Line and Sean Penn in Tree of Life.” Yeah, Malick cuts big names out of movies all the time, but To the Wonder is about a man who returns to his hometown from Europe with a woman that he marries, before going after his high school sweetheart. The “man” in that synopsis is played by Affleck, so how exactly is Malick going to get away with his character “barely” being in the film? For what it’s worth, Affleck also said that To the Wonder makes the sprawling, virtually narrativeless Tree of Life “look like Transformers.” So uh, maybe Malick pulled off making a movie whose main character is largely absent by giving zero fucks whatsoever about the conventions of storytelling.