Wildly Speculating About Terrence Malick’s Music Fest Film

[caption id="attachment_18684" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Ryan Gosling films a scene for 'Lawless' during day one of Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin, Tex., November 2011. Photo: Jay West/WireImage"][/caption]

Ryan Gosling basically sent the entire city of Austin into a weirdly uncharacteristic tizzy just by appearing at Fun Fun Fun Fest last weekend, posing for a few pictures, and palling around with Lykke Li. Hey girl, mind if I distract everyone from Danzig’s douchiness with a smirk that belies my nice-guy attitude?

While Gosling is basically beloved by the Internet for being a blank-slate upon which people are keen to project their hopes and dreams (and, fine, those abs), he wasn’t just at Fun Fun Fun Fest because he’s your imaginary indie rock boyfriend – dude was filming a movie. With Terrence Malick. Terrence Malick’s name gets excitement-italics because filming movies is not something that he does very often: His feature filmmaking career started in 1973 with the crime drama Badlands, and he has made just four other films since then – most recently, the Brad Pitt/Sean Penn, no-refunds-allowed experimental drama The Tree of Life.

Fun Fun Fun Fest isn’t the first Austin music festival at which Malick, who attended high school in Austin, has appeared with a famous young actor in tow -- he and Christian Bale also made headlines (though not to the same extent as Gosling -- hey girl, you like him better than Batman?) for filming scenes at the Austin City Limits Festival in September. It seems a bit unlikely that Malick, whose previous work has focused on heavy life-and-death themes, is suddenly passionately interested in Austin music festivals. But because the dude is impossibly secretive (he has conducted a whopping three interviews since 1974), no one has much of a clue what the hell kind of movie he is making right now. Here’s a collection of facts, rumors, and wild speculation that may shed some light on it, though:

1. The movie is called Lawless.

Thanks, IMDB!

2. It stars Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Rooney Mara.

Nobody flipped their shit for Rooney Mara at Fun Fun Fun Fest, but the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo star was in Austin over the weekend, as well. Anyway, this part is pretty self-explanatory: Malick was filming at these festivals, and these people were there. Easy enough! IMDB says Cate Blanchett is involved, too.

3.  Gosling was on stage during Big Freedia’s set at Fun Fun Fun Fest.

Who knows what that means, but he was there, watching the “sissy bounce” rapper spread “Ass Everywhere.” Not sure if the cameras were rolling, but we thought it was noteworthy.

4.  No one is talking about it.

Well, people are talking about it, but nobody who is in a position to offer any information. The organizers of both festivals politely declined to speak on the subject -- the only quote we can offer is “no comment on this,” which is not exactly illuminating. Malick’s secrecy is legend, and it wouldn’t be a shock if everyone signed non-disclosure agreements.

5. There’s maybe a fight scene?

A witness said that she saw Gosling filming a fight at Fun Fun Fun Festival. “Not like karate or anything,” she clarified, “But like he was fighting with someone over his girl.” So there’s that. This film may involve an interpersonal conflict of some kind.

6. Leather jackets!

The movie is called Lawless, and both Bale and Gosling were spotted wearing leather jackets at the festivals -- an unlikely sartorial choice for Bale, since Austin was approximately 150 degrees during Austin City Limits (though who knows what that weirdo is into). Film-nerd website Collider speculates that the two are portraying members of a biker gang, because sure, why not. IndieWire’s The Playlist blog, meanwhile, suspects that Gosling and Bale are playing the same character, because uh-huh. This is how little information we have to go on here.

7. It probably involves music in some capacity.

Plot details are notoriously difficult to discern when it comes to Malick’s work pre- (and sometimes even post-) release. But it seems unlikely that he just randomly developed an interest in big outdoor music festivals all the sudden, so the odds are good that some character in it is playing a musician. Or a fan of music. Or maybe a roadie? Possibly a man-out-of-time who lands at a music festival in Austin unexpectedly after having a bad dream and waking up to discover that he’s his own father? Or maybe Malick, who’s working on three films simultaneously right now (a huge number, given that his previous efforts have seen anywhere from six and twenty year gaps between release), decided to make one of them a fun documentary about how freaked out people at music festivals in Austin get about seeing celebrities? Given how unconventional his work can be, and how unprecedented it is for him to be making three movies at the same time, and generally how weird Bale and Gosling can be sometimes, literally anything we could type here would seem possible.

That’s about all we’ve got. Did you catch a sweet bit of Gosling filming action at Fun Fun Fun Fest? Psyched to see these guys all running around together at SXSW? Let us know.