Action superstar Vin Diesel works under the direction of Oscar-winner Ang Lee for the first time in Columbia Pictures’ emotionally charged film, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
Based on the acclaimed bestselling novel by Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad – contrasting the realities of the war with America’s perceptions.
Diesel plays Shroom, one of Billy’s sergeants during his tour of duty. “In Iraq, Shroom became one of Billy’s best friends,” shares Joe Alwyn.
“Shroom is written as a Zen kind of soldier who feels things deeply,” observes producer Marc Platt. “He’s a leader, he’s a thinker and a philosopher and has a compassionate warmth about him but he’s no nonsense at the same time. He’s literally the heart and soul of this unit. When I thought about who you’d believe as a Zen philosopher and as a soldier, a big bear of a guy to a group of these Bravos, I thought of Vin Diesel. It was a perfect marriage of an actor and a role. And fortunately for all of us Vin is an actor who loves film and filmmakers, and one of his heroes is Ang Lee. I reached out to Vin and he reached back to me and he said thank you for making my dreams come true. We love having him in the movie and we love that he gets to play a character close to his soul.”
“Shroom’s a very interesting and challenging character in the movie, because he is the older, wiser soldier warrior within this group of kids,” notes producer Stephen Cornwell. “The challenge of the role is to provide that quality of leadership and the sense of mysticism, and Vin’s a perfect fit. He brings acting skills and a presence that really makes that character come alive, which is very important to establish and by choosing to play Shroom, Vin was looking to do something different and very challenging. We’ve come to a very remote place in the world to film the scenes that establish Shroom’s position with the Bravos, and I think that Vin and Ang are having a fantastic time working together.”
Vin Diesel’s upcoming films include xXx: Return of Zander Cage, Fast & Furious 8 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.