EXCLUSIVE: Shortly after Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 and Bona Film Group partnered with Tom Rothman’s Tristar and Film4 on the Ang Lee-directed Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, the filmmaker has boiled down to a shortlist his options for actors to play the title role. Lee wants a discovery and will surround him with a  supporting cast of established stars. My sources said that these guys are on the list: Billy Howle (the British series Glue), Taron Egerton (the upcoming Kingsman: The Secret Service), Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders) and Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age Of Extinction and Glassland).

howleegertonThe adaptation of the Ben Fountain novel starts shooting in April. 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.

colereynorThe film will explore 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.

Will keep you posted on who gets this potentially star-making role.