The arrival of a new Terrence Malick film is always an event in the film world, but for the stars, there is an anxious wait to see if they escaped the legendary director's scissors.
Rachel Weisz has become the latest victim of Malick's eccentric editing style, revealing that her role in To the Wonder had been consigned to the cutting- room floor. The Oscar-winning actress let the news slip ahead of the film's premiere in Venice on Sunday, saying: "I had the experience of working with him, but I will not have the pleasure of seeing my work."
She told Italian newspaper La Stampa she had taken the role for the experience of working with the Badlands director, and had not known whether her involvement would be "for four or five days or three months. In the end I was there just for a few days".
Weisz won the best supporting actress Oscar in 2006 for The Constant Gardener, and garnered rave reviews for her performance in last year's The Deep Blue Sea. She can be currently seen in multiplexes as Dr Marta Shearing in Hollywood blockbuster The Bourne Legacy alongside Jeremy Renner.
Another British actor appears to have shared her fate in Malick's latest film. Michael Sheen, who recently appeared in Midnight in Paris, has also been cut. American actors Amanda Peet and Barry Pepper have also had the roles excised. Actors, especially in smaller roles, know there is a chance that they will be cut out of the final edit of a Malick movie. The director tends to shoot a significant amount of material and shape much of it in the editing room.
Weisz and Sheen are in good company. The Thin Red Line saw actors of the standing of Gary Oldman, Viggo Mortensen and Martin Sheen all removed. Adrien Brody, whose role was severely edited in the film from a lead almost to an unspeaking part, said it was "extremely unpleasant" to give "everything to it and not receive everything in terms of witnessing my own work".
Those who made the final cut of To the Wonder include Ben Affleck, Sheen's partner Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem. The romantic drama follows the collapse of the marriage of Affleck's character to a European woman as they visit his hometown, where he reconnects with a childhood friend. Malick is something of a recluse in Hollywood. He refuses the use of his image in publicity material around his films and will not give interviews.
Yet, he has long been feted as a master of his craft. Despite rapturous receptions for Badlands in 1973 and Days of Heaven five years later, he would not direct another film for two decades.
His films have come slightly more regular since then with The Thin Red Line (1998) and The New World (2005) followed by The Tree of Life last year, which won the Palme d'Or in Cannes. This year he is shooting two films back to back: Lawless starring Ryan Gosling, with supporting actors Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett hoping they make the cut, and Knight of Cups, which will also star Bale.
Roles reduced: Cut by Malick
The Thin Red Line
Mickey Rourke, Gary Oldman, Viggo Mortensen, Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Sheen, right, were all ejected from the final version of The Thin Red Line. Adrien Brody was appalled that his leading role had been slashed. He said: "You spend all this time in an unfamiliar place, you experience incredible things, and then you come home, you're wounded psychologically and you have nothing to show for it."
The New World
Christopher Plummer vowed never to work with Malick again after his experiences on The New World. The actor told Newsweek that while he loved some of the director's movies "he edits his films in such a way that he cuts everyone out of them". He wrote Malick a letter. "I gave him s***."
The Tree of Life
Sean Penn was supportive of the film but found himself totally mystified. He said afterwards: "I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing there and what I was supposed to add in that context. What's more, Terry never managed to explain it to me clearly."