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Ang Lee Picks Newcomer Joe Alwyn for TriStar’s ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’

Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee appears to have found his next young star. According to sources, the “Life of Pi” director has tapped newcomer Joe Alwyn to star in TriStar’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.”

No official offer has been made, but sources indicate that Alwyn is the director’s choice for the Iraq war drama.

Based on the Ben Fountain novel, “Billy Lynn” will be co-financed by Jeff Robinov’s Fosun-backed Studio 8, together with Chinese distribution company Bona Film Group.

Sony Pictures is handling worldwide distribution except for China, where Bona Film will release the film.

In the fictional story, Bravo Company and 19-year-old private Billy Lynn survive a harrowing Iraq battle that is captured by news cameras. They are brought home by the U.S. administration for a promotional tour, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of a Thanksgiving Day football game, all while facing an imminent return to the war. Almost the entire movie takes place during the day of the game, with flashes back to the underlying events and Billy’s heroism.

Lee had been meeting with young actors for several weeks with Alwyn rising to the top in the past week. Over Oscar weekend, Alwyn met again with Lee where he locked up final approval from both the studio and director.

Lee will be using new methods, both technological and artistic, with the goal of further engaging the audience. Lee will use the Sony F65 camera shooting in native 3D, high resolution, and with an ultra-high frame rate to create a different cinematic syntax in service of the story. He envisions creating a new way for audiences to experience drama, including the heightened sensation that soldiers really feel on the battlefield and on the home front.

This marks the young British actor’s first major role in a feature film. He is currently not repped by anyone, but sources say WME is close to signing him.

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