Ang Lee Could Direct Iraq War Satire BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK

     September 12, 2014


It’s been a couple of years now since Ang Lee won the Best Director Oscar for his ambitious 2012 drama Life of Pi.  The filmmaker initially signed on to quickly follow it up with the FX pilot Tyrant, but subsequently dropped out due to exhaustion over the awards campaign for his VFX-heavy adaptation.  Just over a year ago, Lee committed to next directing a 3D boxing film for Universal which would depict classic fights—including the Thrilla in Manila—using cutting-edge technology, but word on that film has been very quiet in the ensuing months.  Now another project appears to be vying for Lee’s attention, as the filmmaker is reportedly being eyed to helm an adaptation of the Iraq War novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.  More after the jump.

billy-lynns-long-halftime-walk-book-coverPer The Wrap, Lee is the “frontrunner” to direct an adaptation of author Ben Fountain’s novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.  I’m not entirely sure how an Oscar-winning filmmaker can be considered a “frontrunner” (I can’t imagine a director as accomplished as Lee competing for a directing gig), but nevertheless, Billy Lynn offers a curious piece of subject matter.  Described as a razor-sharp satire, the story takes place in Texas and follows the surviving members of a squad of soldiers as they embark on a media-intensive “Victory Tour” at Texas Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Lee has proved himself to be an incredibly versatile filmmaker by tackling nearly every genre in the book, so a satirical war drama doesn’t seem to be entirely out of his reach.  The Wrap notes that Lee is still working on his 3D boxing film, but a source tells them that the project is on hold for the moment due to budgetary reasons, opening up a hole in his schedule where he could tackle a smaller-scale project first.

The script for Billy Lynn was penned by Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire scribe Simon Beaufoy for Film4 and The Ink Factory, so this one has no doubt been attracting interested from some talented filmmakers.  Again, it’s unclear how serious Lee’s attachment to the project is, but this is certainly something worth keeping an eye on in the weeks to come.

Read the synopsis for the book below.

Three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare with Iraqi insurgents has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America’s most sought-after heroes. Now they’re on a media-intensive nationwide tour to reinvigorate support for the war. On this rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of the Dallas Cowboys, slated to be part of the halftime show alongside Destiny’s Child.

Among the Bravos is Specialist Billy Lynn. Surrounded by patriots sporting flag pins on their lapels and Support Our Troops bumper stickers, he is thrust into the company of the Cowboys’ owner and his coterie of wealthy colleagues; a born-again Cowboys cheerleader; a veteran Hollywood producer; and supersized players eager for a vicarious taste of war. Over the course of this day, Billy will drink and brawl, yearn for home and mourn those missing, face a heart-wrenching decision, and discover pure love and a bitter wisdom far beyond his years. []

Ang Lee Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Movie

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