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Steve Martin joins 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' adaptation

Steve Martin joins 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' adaptation
Steve Martin, shown at the Vanity Fair Oscars party in Beverly Hills on Feb. 22, will join the cast of the adaptation of "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk." (Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)

The film adaptation of Ben Fountain's novel "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" has its first big star. Steve Martin will join debut actor Joe Alwyn, and possibly Garrett Hedlund, in Ang Lee's movie version of the Iraq war satire, Deadline reports.

Fountain's 2012 debut novel was a critical hit, winning the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, and making it to the finals of the National Book Awards. The book follows a group of soldiers who become famous after surviving a brutal firefight, which is captured on news cameras. The soldiers are brought back to the United States, temporarily, for a victory tour, including an appearance at a Thanksgiving Day football game at Texas Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

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There's no word yet on what role Martin will play or on a possible release date for the film, which will be directed by Lee ("Brokeback Mountain," "Life of Pi") from a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy ("Slumdog Millionaire").

Possible roles for Martin include Hollywood producer Albert Ratner, who promises the soldiers fame and fortune, Norm, the bloviating owner of the Cowboys, or other power brokers the young men meet with before the game.

In a review for the Los Angeles Times, staff writer Carolyn Kellogg praised the novel, which she called "an uber-story, defined by irony and metaphor .... Rarely does such a ruminative novel close with such momentum."

Shooting on the film is scheduled to begin in April. The movie is being backed by Sony and produced by Tom Rothman at TriStar Productions.

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