No joke: Vin Diesel, Chris Tucker set for Ang Lee's 'Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk'

Posted by · 9:30 pm · April 8th, 2015

Vin Diesel is jumping back into the prestige movie world.  And, yes, that's “back.”  Diesel has made his name in the “Fast and Furious” and Riddick franchises, but many forget he actually has a Steven Spielberg movie on his resume (“Saving Private Ryan”).  He also starred in the cult drama “Boiler Room” and voiced the title character in the classic animated film “The Iron Giant.”  What many have already forgotten, however, is that Diesel earned the best reviews of his career in Sidney Lumet's 2006 courtroom drama “Find Me Guilty.”  Now, Diesel is getting serious again by teaming up with another cinematic master, Ang Lee.

According to Deadline, Lee has cast Diesel and Chris Tucker to star in his adaptation of Ben Fountain's novel “Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.”  The drama focuses on a group of American soldiers, including Lynn, who are being celebrated for their heroism during the Iraq War.  The government has set them on a promotional tour while still not relieving them of their duties.  With the increasing stress of their impending return to active duty in Iraq, Flynn and his squad are honored as heroes during a Thanksgiving Day football game.  In the book this was a Dallas Cowboys game, but it's unclear whether the NFL is participating in the production.

Diesel and Tucker exact roles are still unknown, but they'll join previously announced cast members Steve Martin, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and newcomer Joe Alwyn who is set to play the title character.  Even though the film has a relatively small scope at times, Lee has decided to film it in 3D and in the 4K high frame rate technology Peter Jackson used for “The Hobbit” trilogy.

Lee won his second best director Oscar for “Life of Pi” in 2014.  His first attempt at 3D filmmaking.

It's worth noting that Diesel publicly tried to recruit Lee to direct his big screen remake of “Kojak” in 2013.  That project currently appears to be in development hell, however.  Diesel next film is the fantasy thriller “The Last Witch Hunter” which will hit theaters just in time for Halloween.

Tucker ended a five-year absence from theaters by appearing in David O. Russell's Best Picture nominee “Silver Linings Playbook” in 2013.  

“Billy Lynn”s Long Halftime Walk” is expected to hit theaters sometime in 2016.

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