Jeff Robinov’s Fosun-backed Studio 8, together with Chinese distribution company Bona Film Group, will partner with Tom Rothman’s TriStar and Film4 on the adaptation of Ben Fountain’s acclaimed novel “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” to be directed by Ang Lee.
Sony Pictures will have worldwide distrib rights except for China which Bona Film will handle.
“Ang is pushing the envelope even beyond what we achieved in ‘Life of Pi.’ Innovation is key to getting audiences out to cinemas now, but such advances often take a brave village,” Rothman said. “I have long admired Jeff personally and have great respect for Studio 8 and Bona. It’s a neat fit, as we are all in the business of trying to do cool things for Sony, not to mention we park right next to each other.”
In the film, 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 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.
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“Lee’s vision for this remarkable story is incredibly exciting to all of the partners involved and perfectly captures the types of filmmaker-driven movies we want to make at Studio 8,” Robinov said. “We are thankful that Tom Rothman included us in this fantastic project and are looking forward to working on this together.”