Ang Lee's 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' Finds Lead

Courtesy of Independent Talent Group/Nick James

Newcomer Joe Alwyn will star in TriStar and Studio 8's project.

Newcomer Joe Alwyn has been cast as the titular lead character in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, which Ang Lee is directing.

Tom Rothman's TriStar and Film4 are partnering with Studio 8 on the project, which is an adaptation of Ben Fountain's novel.

Simon Beaufoy wrote the screenplay. The film centers around a 19-year-old private (Alwyn) who survives a battle in Iraq that is captured by news cameras. He and his company of soldiers are brought back to the U.S. for a promotional tour culminating in a halftime show at a Thanksgiving Day football game. Most of the movie takes place during the day of the game, with flashbacks to the wartime events.

Lee handpicked Alywn after a worldwide search that included hundreds of screen tests for the lead role.

Sony Pictures, where Studio 8 and TriStar are both based, will distribute the film worldwide, except for Greater China, which Bona Find Group Ltd. will handle. Film 4 has taken U.K. free television rights.

Alwyn is a British actor whose experience has mostly been in theater. His credits include As You Like It and Macbeth at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He's repped by Independent Talent Group in the U.K.