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Richard Linklater Eyes Cast For Next Film; Ang Lee Circles Iraq War Feature ‘Billy Lynn’

Written by on September 13, 2014 

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Technically speaking, there were a handful of films that were the “follow-up” to some part of production on Boyhood, but with that 12-year journey now complete, Richard Linklater is firmly setting his sights on his next film. After dropping out of the long-gestating studio project Mr. Limpet, he’s returning to the mold of Dazed and Confused for a spiritual sequel titled That’s What I’m Talking About.

Variety Studio At Chivas House - Day 4 - The 66th Annual Cannes Film FestivalExploring the world of baseball at college — themes close to Linklater’s heart, as he was close to becoming a professional baseball player before he turned to filmmaking following an injury — Deadline now has word of the first cast. Offers are out to 22 Jump Street star Wyatt Russell, Blake Jenner (Glee), and Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf) for the lead baseball players. Set in 1980 and following a freshman as he joins the baseball team and leads a fraternity-style life, we expect production to kick off hopefully this year for a release next year.

In other news, following his worldwide hit Life of Pi, Ang Lee has long been working on a 3D boxing movie focusing on the iconic fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Now The Wrap reports it might be on hold as the director is circling a new project. Lee is now the frontrunner to adapt Ben Fountain‘s Iraq War novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk into a feature film, with a script by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire).

66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra)The project follows a teenage soldier who survive a battle in Iraq and then are brought home for a victory lap before returning to Iraq. There’s no word when this could move forward, but if Lee commits it could happen before his Ali feature. (Update: Deadline reports this indeed will be Ang Lee’s next feature, with production beginning in spring.) Check out a longer synopsis below for the book available on Amazon:

A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at “the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal”—three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew—has transformed the eight surviving men of Bravo Squad into America’s most sought-after heroes.

For the past two weeks, the Bush administration has sent them on a media-intensive nationwide “Victory Tour” to reinvigorate public support for the war. Now, on this chilly and rainy Thanksgiving, the Bravos are guests of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, slated to be part of the halftime show alongside the superstar pop group Destiny’s Child.

Among the Bravos is the Silver Star-–winning hero of Al-Ansakar Canal, Specialist William Lynn, a nineteen-year-old Texas native. Amid clamoring patriots sporting flag pins on their lapels and Support Our Troops bumper stickers on their cars, the Bravos are thrust into the company of the Cowboys’ hard-nosed businessman/owner and his coterie of wealthy colleagues; a luscious born-again Cowboys cheerleader; a veteran Hollywood producer; and supersized pro players eager for a vicarious taste of war. Among these faces Billy sees those of his family—his worried sisters and broken father—and Shroom, the philosophical sergeant who opened Billy’s mind and died in his arms at Al-Ansakar.

Over the course of this day, Billy will begin to understand difficult truths about himself, his country, his struggling family, and his brothers-in-arms—soldiers both dead and alive. In the final few hours before returning to Iraq, Billy will drink and brawl, yearn for home and mourn those missing, face a heart-wrenching decision, and discover pure love and a bitter wisdom far beyond his years.

Poignant, riotously funny, and exquisitely heartbreaking, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a devastating portrait of our time, a searing and powerful novel that cements Ben Fountain’s reputation as one of the finest writers of his generation.

Are you looking forward to the above projects?


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