‘Song to Song’ Opens SXSW With Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender

Terrence Malick typically heads to Europe when he’s ready to unveil his tour-de-force dramas — his recent movies have debuted at film festivals in Venice, Cannes, and Berlin. But on Friday night, the reclusive director stayed close to home in Austin for SXSW’s opening night premiere of his romantic dramedy “Song to Song.”

The movie was shot in Austin, where the city shines as brightly as its cast. Ryan Gosling, who was met with shrieks as he snaked inside the Paramount Theatre, joined Rooney Mara and Michael Fassbender for a brief introduction on stage.

The film follows a music executive (Fassbender) who quarrels with his business partner (Gosling) as they both embark on a series of tortured romantic affairs.

Michael Fassbender arrives at the SXSW premiere of “Song to Song.” Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

“It’s intense,” Fassbender said of working with Malick. “It’s challenging. It’s rewarding. It’s fun. Scary. Essentially, he never stops writing.”

True to industry lore, the actors learned new lines as they were about to shoot their scenes, cut in a stream-of-consciousness style that’s become the trademark to Malick’s work.

“We always wanted to have the experience of working with Terrence Malick,” added Gosling. “Every day is different. Suddenly, Patti Smith is there,” he said of a small part played by the punk-rock icon.

Ryan Gosling suited up for opening night in Austin. Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Despite its title, the movie doesn’t feature much singing. But there are supporting roles for Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett as love interests, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Val Kilmer.

The slow and experimental pace of the indie prompted a smattering of attendees to bail midway through the picture. One of the film’s producers ate potato chips in the lobby. And although the press-averse Malick made the trip to Texas, he wasn’t introduced on stage with his cast. The end credits were met with brief applause.

Janet Pierson, the festival’s head of film, kicked off the screening by noting that 130 features are playing at SXSW.

“Song to Song” opens March 17 from distributor Broad Green Pictures.

POPULAR ON VARIETY: Jeff Bridges revives ‘The Dude’ to honor John Goodman

More Film

  • Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as

    Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as CEO of VFX Firm Foundry

    Jody Madden has been upped to CEO at U.K.-based VFX outfit Foundry. She steps up having been chief product officer and replaces Craig Rodgerson, who joined the company in late 2017. Foundry was bought by U.S. tech firm Roper Technologies earlier this year in a £410 million ($509 million) deal. The London-based business provides software [...]

  • The Lion King

    ‘The Lion King’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Walt Disney Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “The Lion King.” Ads placed for the remake had an estimated media value of $5.64 million through Sunday for 1,290 national ad airings on [...]

  • Beyonce poses for photographers upon arrival

    Beyoncé Releases Music Video for 'Spirit,' Her 'Lion King' Soundtrack Contribution

    Beyoncé fans are stampeding across the web veldt to get a look at her just-released music video for “Spirit,” the original song she co-wrote and sang for the “Lion King” soundtrack. The track is also included on the companion album she executive-produced and will release Friday, “The Gift.” Clips from the computer-animated film are interspersed [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez Takes Down Wall Street Crooks in New Trailer for 'Hustlers'

    According to Jennifer Lopez, basic pole dancing movements all revolve around a few foot positions. But as she tells her stripper student Constance Wu, it’s not just about the dancing. In the new trailer for “Hustlers,” Lopez and Wu swindle a number of high profile Wall Street clients in an effort to bring their white [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Writers Guild Leaders Warn Members About Contact With Fired Agents

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America are warning members about being contacted by their former agents — asserting that such efforts are an attempt to undermine the WGA and its members. The missive, sent Tuesday from the WGA negotiating committee, came with the guild in a bitter three-month standoff with talent agents that appears [...]

  • Apollo 11

    Film News Roundup: 'Apollo 11' Re-Release Set for Moon Landing Anniversary

    In today’s film news roundup, Neon is re-releasing “Apollo 11”; “Sesame Street” gets moved; “Supersize Me 2” is set for Sept. 13; Will Ropp gets a “Silk Road” deal; and Apple makes a movie deal. RE-LAUNCH Neon will re-release Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary “Apollo 11” in theaters on July 20, the 50th anniversary of the [...]

  • Michael B. JordanAFI Awards Luncheon, Los

    Michael B. Jordan's 'Just Mercy' Moves to Awards Season Slot

    Michael B. Jordan’s upcoming legal drama “Just Mercy” has been shifted forward three weeks from Jan. 17 to Dec. 25 for an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release. “Just Mercy” is based on the case of Walter McMillan, an African-American death-row prisoner who was exonerated in 1993 after being convicted five years earlier for a 1986 murder in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content