Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a film that mixes visual spectacle with a message and a lot of heart. The film centers around Billy Lynn, a 19-year-old soldier who is brought home from war following a harrowing battle to embark on a victory tour. The film examines America’s perceptions of war and the actual reality of it. The film is based on the book of the same name by Ben Fountain.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk TRAILER (Vin Diesel, Kristen Stewart)
“It felt like winning the lottery, Fountain describes when he learned that his book would be turned into a big screen film directed by the award winning director Ang Lee. He says, it’s “just very humbling and a bit unbelievable… to get Ang Lee…I mean you could not ask for more.” He adds the genius of the concept for the book came from an actual Dallas Cowboys halftime show. He says, “very much like the one depicted in the book where a group of young American soldiers who have just been in combat are dropped down into the middle of this very artificial halftime show, just this ridiculous situation of music and dancing and militarism and soft core porn, and if you were 19 years old what would it do to your head.” He hopes the book and the film will bring more understanding about war. “There is a tremendous gap in American society between the reality of war and our mainstream perception of what war involves, and I hope that this book and this movie go some distance towards narrowing that gap,” he says.
Actor Ismael Cruz Cordova, who plays soldier Holiday in the film, echoes the same sentiment. He says the film can be summed up in two words. “Humanity and Brotherhood I think would be the two words that I would give it,” he says. He explains, “I think it speaks about the experiences of the solider coming back after facing himself or herself in the terrors of war…and then trying to come back to a society that perhaps does not understand what actually happens over there in war.”
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, will be the first ever 4K high-def film in wide release. The film is touted as a visual spectacle not seen before, but Kristen Stewart who plays Kathryn Lynn, Billy’s sister, says the film is more than a mere spectacle. She calls it revolutionary filmmaking. “So Ang, he’s making a movie in 3D and it is a drama of sort of epic proportions… this is not a spectacle. It’s a real revelation. It’s really like trying to get truly to get closer to a subject more than anyone else has gotten.” She noted that typically these technical achievements are usually saved for only big budget sci-fi or action flicks. She says, “I think we are sort of used to seeing things in a revolutionary [way]…[in]either science fiction or action.”
It is that un-conventionalism of the film is what drew Chris Tucker, who plays opportunistic Albert, to the film. Albert is one part of the boys, bonding with Billy and his fellow soldiers, and one part scoundrel, as he tries to sell the right to the boys’ story to turn it into a blockbuster movie. He admits, “I like characters that have the freedom to be funny or serious, so that freedom is important for me, because I can be free to go wherever I want to go.”
Vin Diesel, who plays solder Shroom in the film, shares similar feelings. He likes that his character has depth and is not one dimension. Diesel describes his character as, “Rambo meets Buddha, and I was challenged by that.” He adds,” It’s a character that is incredibly in formidable…that is not afraid to say I love you.” Diesel does admit it was not easy getting into his character. “I got into this character by watching documentaries,” he says. “I did a self-imposed boot camp [for] the character.”
Joe Alwyn, who plays Billy Lynn, agrees a lot of work went into playing his character as well. “I read the book a lot, the script a lot. We had two weeks boot camp in Atlanta to get into role.” He admits things happen fast for him sharing, “The casting happened so quickly before shooting we just kind of all had to jump in, or I had to jump in into the deep end and give it a go. He says, “It was intense, but it was a lot of fun.”
Billy Lynn‘s Long Halftime Walk, opens in theaters on November 11th 2016.