Ang Lee’s upcoming Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is all about a young American war hero (British actor Joe Alwyn, in his first movie role) on a media blitz after coming home from Iraq. Now we know when the movie itself will kick off its own big campaign.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Monday that the movie will have its world premiere during the 53rd New York Film Festival, which revealed its full main slate two weeks ago. Lee, whose last film Life of Pi opened the festival in 2012 (and won the director his second Oscar, after Brokeback Mountain), will debut Billy Lynn on Oct. 14.
“I’m very grateful to the New York Film Festival for selecting our film and giving it such a unique platform,” Lee said in statement. “The New York Film Festival has been such an important event for me both as a New Yorker and a filmmaker, and I am honored to be represented this year with Billy Lynn. With each film, I try to learn fresh ways to connect with the audience and with myself. Since Life of Pi, I have been working with my team towards a new cinematic approach that I hope will revitalize that connection. But technology is merely a tool; it should always be in service of artistic expression, to make it strong and fresh, because story and drama matter most. I thought Billy’s journey, which is both intimate and epic, and told almost entirely from his point of view, lent itself particularly well to the emotion and intensity that this new approach fosters. At least I hope so, as many people have worked long and hard to help me try to make the future a reality today. I am thankful to them all.”
Lee is referring to the technological innovation that went into making his newest film. Billy Lynn is the first full-length narrative movie shot in the high rate of 120 frames-per-second. (Films are ordinarily shot at 24 frames-per-second.) The New York event will be the first time ever the format will be screened publicly.
“It’s like how your eyes see things,” Lee told EW. “It must be a new movie experience…. We had 400 extras and if someone way in the back does something funny, you notice it. It would drive us crazy.”
In a statement, New York Film Festival director Kent Jones said, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk astonished me, and it moved me deeply — in the grandest way, as a story of America in the years after the invasion of Iraq, and on the most intimate person-to-person wavelength. Ang Lee has always gone deep into the nuances of the emotions between his characters, and that’s exactly what drove him to push cinema technology to new levels. It’s all about the faces, the smallest emotional shifts. In every way, Billy Lynn is the work of a master.”
Based on Ben Fountain’s acclaimed 2012 novel, the film costars Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund with Vin Diesel, and Steve Martin. It will be released in 3D in theaters on Nov. 11. Check out the trailer below.