Photo: Broad Green Pictures

For someone who’s famous for dawdling with his projects, often taking years to edit a film, Terrence Malick sure has been prolific lately, putting out the Hollywood-set Knight Of Cups and two versions of his long-gestating documentary Voyage Of Time within just a little over six months. Maybe it’s just time catching up with the media-shy writer-director’s protracted and often capricious process.

Case in point: the just-announced release date of the filmmaker’s latest, Song To Song, a drama about the Austin rock scene that Malick shot way back in 2011, shortly after the release of The Tree Of Life. While the idea of a director best known for his use of transcendent landscapes and classic music making a movie about A&R guys chasing buzz bands might sound like a joke, it should be noted that Malick himself grew up partly around Austin (and may still live there), and that Knight Of Cups used a couple of songs by Thee Oh Sees.

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Usually, when a movie takes six years to reach theaters, it’s an Accidental Love situation. But with Malick, it’s just the way the man works. Song To Song, which was previously titled Weightless, has been known about for some time, as the cast and crew were frequently spotted filming at Austin music festivals during its production. (Here’s a brief clip of Rooney Mara, Val Kilmer, and Emmanuel Lubezski—who has since won three Oscars—taking over the stage of a Black Lips show for the film.)

According to a brief synopsis included with the official announcement at Indiewire (“a rock ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal”), it stars Mara and Ryan Gosling as songwriters, with Michael Fassbender as a music executive and Natalie Portman as the local waitress “whom he ensnares.” Like most Malick projects since The Thin Red Line, Song To Song also boasts a mind-bogglingly large cast of famous faces who may or may not have made the final cut, including Kilmer, Christian Bale, Benicio Del Toro, Malick favorite Cate Blanchett, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Florence Welch of Florence And The Machine, and all of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Song To Song will hit theaters on March 17, 2017.

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