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Richard Linklater, Steve Carell dramedy Last Flag Flying to open New York Film Festival

Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne also star in Vietnam vet road movie

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Wilson Webb/Amazon Studios

The New York Film Festival is raising up Richard Linklater’s latest film ahead of what could be a banner year for the American auteur.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Monday it will kick off the annual event’s 55th edition with Last Flag Flying, a Vietnam vet road movie set during the Bush era and starring Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne.

Following three aging former Navy servicemen, Doc (Carell), Sal (Cranston), and Mueller (Fishburne), as they reunite for a cross-country road trip along the Eastern seaboard en route to burying Doc’s only child, who died in the early stages of the Iraqi invasion, Last Flag Flying will have its world premiere at the Alice Tully Hall on Thursday, Sept. 28, followed by a domestic theatrical bow via Amazon Studios on Nov. 17.

“It’s always special to be at the New York Film Festival, but to be premiering our movie on opening night, when you look at the half-century of films that have occupied that slot, is a wonderful honor,” Linklater, a five-time Oscar nominee for his work on films like 2014’s Boyhood, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight, said of the news via press statement.

Festival director and chair of the selection committee, Kent Jones, added: “Last Flag Flying is many things at once — infectiously funny, quietly shattering, celebratory, mournful, meditative, intimate, expansive, vastly entertaining, and all-American in the very best sense. But to isolate its individual qualities is to set aside the most important and precious fact about this movie: that it all flows like a river. That’s only possible with remarkable artists like Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne, and Bryan Cranston, and a master like Richard Linklater behind the camera.”

Last year, Ava DuVernay’s rousing prison documentary 13th launched the 2016 festival, becoming the first nonfiction picture in history to kick off the NYFF. The film went on to receive an Oscar nod for Best Documentary Feature. Previous NYFF openers include Academy-verified titles like David Fincher’s Gone Girl (2014) and The Social Network (2010), Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips (2013), Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (2012), and Stephen Frears’ The Queen (2006).

The 55th New York Film Festival runs from Sept. 28-Oct. 15. Tickets go on sale Sept. 10. VIP passes and packages are available now, with $50 discounts being offered through June 25. For more information, visit the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s website here.