Filming is set to begin on director Ang Lee’s adaptation of Ben Fountain’s award-winning novel about a group of soldiers returning home from Iraq, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, (HarperCollins/Ecco; Dreamscape Audio, 2012).
In talks to join the cast is Twilight‘s Kristin Stewart, most recently seen in a supporting role in Still Alice starring Julianne Moore and based on the book by Lisa Genova.
The Billy Lynn cast includes newcomer Joe Alwyn in the starring role, along with Garrett Hedlund and Steve Martin.
Considered a modern-day Catch 22, Ben Fountain’s novel is not a traditional war story, but the press release that announced the film project promises that the director, know for his ground-breaking special effects, as in the 3-D Life of Pi, “… 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.”
Hollywood is now mad for military movies based on books, cued by the success of American Sniper. Several nonfiction titles are currently set for adaptation.
Gearing up is a film based on 13 Hours: The Inside Account Of What Really Happened In Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff (Hachette/Twelve, 9/9/14). Directed by Michael Bay it will star John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Max Martini, Pablo Schreiber and Freddie Stroma (Pitch Perfect). Filming is about to begin on a set that is currently being built in Malta.
Recently, a heated auction for war photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War (Penguin Press, 2/5/15) ended with Steven Spielberg set to direct and Jennifer Lawrence in the lead. The rights to another women-in war book, Ashley’s War, The Untold Story Of A Team of Women Soldiers On The Special Ops Battlefield by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (Harper, 4/21/15), were recently won at auction by Reese Witherspoon.
Television is also in on the act. NBC recently picked up the Weinstein Co.’s 6 hour series based on The Reaper by Nicholas Irving with Gary Brozek, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s).
For more, see our list of upcoming book adaptations, as well as our list of tie-ins.