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Ang Lee Circles Iraq War Satire ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’

Ang Lee Circles Iraq War Satire 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk'

We’re coming up on two years since Ang Lee swept away audiences and critics with this 3D adaptation the best-selling “Life Of Pi.” He walked away with a Best Director Oscar for his efforts, and has fallen in love with the three-dimensional format, with his next picture supposed to be a 3D take on the Thrilla in Manila, the legendary match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. But apparently, that project might be on hold as the budget is worked out, potentially giving Lee time to sneak in a smaller movie first.

And thus, The Wrap reports that the filmmaker is the frontrunner to direct the Iraq War satire, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” Written by Ben Fountain, the National Book Award Finalist was adapted by Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “127 Hours“) and apparently has the stuff awards season trophies are made of. Here’s a brief Amazon synopsis:

A razor-sharp satire set in Texas during America’s war in Iraq, it explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad.

Ben Fountain’s remarkable debut novel follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive “Victory Tour” at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders. 

Again, nothing is confirmed, and if the boxing flick moves ahead, we presume Lee will leave this project behind, and we’d wager the producers will also want to keep momentum moving on this if the script is that good. But what could be holding up the shooting on the Ali/Frazier flick? According to producer James Schamus, Lee is again looking to push the digital envelope.

He tells Screen Daily that the director is “pushing the technology toward the absolute future of cinema and pushing it even further than what you saw in ‘Life of Pi.’ ” 

“Think about if you’re Ang Lee, and you said how am I going to do this in a way that now potentially we have the way to do. Start with 3D and put yourself in the ring with these guys. Be there. That poses amazing challenges – the horizontal fast motion, the close-ups,” Schamus added. “You’re really talking about dealing with higher frame rates, enormous amounts of challenges with your effects work. How do you push, as he did with ‘Pi,’ not only the experience of 3D but the ability to animate real characters that match perfectly their human and animal counterparts?” 

Yeah, we could see that causing the price tag to rise. Still, it’s one of the great sports stories of our time, and from a director that has proven that investment in his work and vision will reap both critical and box office rewards, we’re sure Universal will do all they can to make it happen.

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