Javier Bardem was one of the few actors to work on "To the Wonder" and make it to the finish line of Terrence Malick's latest opus (Rachel Weisz, Jessica Chastain, Michael Sheen, Amanda Peet and Barry Pepper did not). But both he and co-star Ben Affleck have been noticeably absent on the press circuit, leaving it to Malick's leading ladies -- Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams -- to do the heavy lifting.
However, despite not making it to either the Venice world premiere or last week's North American unveiling in Toronto, it turns out that Bardem has seen the film. In an interview Thursday with Bardem, tied to "Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony" -- a documentary he produced about the colonization of the Western Sahara, playing in Toronto's Mavericks' section -- Indiewire couldn't help but get a Malick question in.
"I was surprised when I saw myself in it," he said laughing, when asked about his initial reaction.
"Someone earlier asked me, 'Did you expect the movie to be like that?,'" he continued. "And I said, 'When you work with Terrence Malick, you don't expect anything because you don't know what you're doing.' You just go there, show up and let yourself be guided by him to the wonder of things that may happen or not happen -- and you may not even make it to the final cut.
"I'm deeply proud of being in one of his movies," he added. "I truly believe that 'Tree of Life' is a masterpiece, and the experience of working with him has been great. So the end result, you may like it or not, but what I will always hold with me will be the experience of working with him."
Asked whether he would leap at the opportunity to work with the enigmatic director again, Bardem was quick to say, "Yes."