Imagine landing your first role in an Oscar-winning director’s film. Now imagine that film is being shot with a technology that’s never before been attempted. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, the latest visual experiment from Ang Lee, stars newcomer Joe Alywn, a 25-year-old who left his London drama school early to make a boundary-pushing film.
Given how much space physical media takes up, it’s hard for movie buffs to say no to the great promise of “cloud storage,” and the idea that we could summon anything we want to watch with just a couple of clicks. But so far, reality hasn’t matched the hype. Streaming services have been focused on exclusives and original programming, to the extent that the only way to have access to everything available is to spend hundreds of dollars a month on subscription fees. Meanwhile, older films keep disappearing from the digital archives; and even items that cinephiles “own” sometimes become inaccessible whenever software updates or a site shutters.
Ang Lee is am ambitious filmmaker, but ambition doesn’t always pay off. With Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon he fused emotional relationships with the dazzle of wuxia action, and in Life of Pi he told a story about spirituality and survival through an innovative use of CG and motion-capture performance. In Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Lee is once again pushing the boundaries of filmmaking shooting the film in 120 frames per second (five times the normal rate of your average movie). What results is a stunning and unique viewing experience, but ultimately a failed experiment.
We know more about Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk today than we did when the first trailer debuted back in May. Our own Erin Whitney was present for the film’s world premiere at the New York Film Festival earlier this month, and relayed their full scoop back to us through their review: Ang Lee gets a lot of points for sheer chutzpah, having shot the first feature-length film using highly sophisticated 4K 120 frames-per-second technology, but his gambit ultimately fails. The realistic look of the film is almost too real, its crisp movements too unnaturally fluid for their own good.
Ang Lee is one of the most stylistically ambitious filmmakers of this decade, stunning viewers with his all-CGI (except for the star) 3D adaptation of Life of Pi in 2012. His latest, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, is even more ambitious, having been shot in 4K, 3D, and on 120 frames-per-second cameras (that’s 96 frames more than film standard, which is 24). If your brain doesn’t hurt yet, the crew has released a short featurette that discusses the challenges of shooting in such a way, and how the film will look when it hits theaters.
The 2016 New York Film Festival is shaping up to have one of the most ambitious lineups in years. On top of opening with the very first documentary in the festival’s history with Ava DuVernay‘s ‘The 13th,’ this year’s fest will also host the world premiere of a big innovation in cinema technology.
Following his incredible CGI work in Life of Pi, Ang Lee took a similarly ambitious approach with his latest project, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. We’ve been intrigued for months by reports that Lee shot the action sequences in 120fps to give them a more realistic and immersive feel, and while you can’t really grasp that in the first trailer, it’s still plenty compelling.
Before Ang Lee began production on Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, the director was set to follow Life of Pi with another 3D film, moving the action from the ocean to the boxing ring with the story of Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali’s legendary match. The untitled film has found new life as Lee has moved the project from Universal to Studio 8, with Ray Fisher and Selma’s David Oyelowo emerging as frontrunners for the main event.
Though yet to film, FX's upcoming terrorism pilot 'Tyrant' had already attained a significant amount of buzz even prior to hiring 'Life of Pi' director Ang Lee to helm the pilot. Lee ultimately dropped out, but now 'Harry Potter' director David Yates has stepped in to guide the hotly-anticipated series by directing its pilot episode.
While FX has several hot new properties in development, our most anticipated is 'Homeland' producer Howard Gordon's upcoming Middle Eastern drama 'Tyrant,' which was scheduled to have a pilot directed by 'Life of Pi' Oscar winner Ang Lee. Now, Lee has reportedly backed out of the project, but what does it say of 'Tyrant's future going forward?