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Steve Martin Cast in Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Deadline is reporting that one of my personal heroes — seriously, if you’ve not read his memoir, Born Standing Up, you’re missing out — actor/comedian/banjo player/novelist Steve Martin has been cast in director Ang Lee’s film adaptation of Dallas author Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (one of the greatest novels of the 21st century.)

Unknown Joe Alwyn has already been cast as Iraq War soldier Billy Lynn. Thinking over the potential suitable parts for him in the book, Martin has got to be playing the owner of the Dallas Cowboys — the fictionalized Jerry Jones — right?  I suppose he could be the agent who’s trying to sell Lynn’s Army squad’s story to Hollywood, but I like that first possibility way more.

Deadline also says Garrett Hedlund is also in line for a role. Shooting is to begin in April. In Atlanta, Since Texas Stadium, where 90 percent or more of the story takes place, doesn’t exist here anymore, I guess that’s understandable. Even if Billy Lynn is maybe the best Dallas novel ever.

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Two Niggling Points About American Sniper

As Liz mentioned in Leading Off this morning, American Sniper did really well at the box office over the weekend. I saw it and didn’t much care for it. (Peter gave it a B+ over on FrontRow.) Several narrative threads run through the thing, but none of them holds the movie together. Is this a movie about a war hero who doesn’t like being called a hero? Is it a movie about two rival snipers? Is it a movie about a guy struggling with PTSD? I don’t know. And if you say, “Tim, it was a biopic about a real person, and real life is complicated and won’t always satisfy your desire for a tidy narrative arc,” then I will ask you why the movie didn’t explore the strange lies that Chris Kyle told once he’d retired from the military (saying that he whupped Jesse Ventura, saying that he shot Katrina looters from atop the Superdome). That’s complicated.

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Keven McAlester Nominated for an Oscar

Once upon a time, there was a thing called The Met. In the mid-’90s, its ramshackle office, filled with secondhand furniture and outdated computers, was perched above a bar called the Green Elephant. The weekly’s music editor was a guy called Keven McAlester. Here’s how he was hired. Real piece of work, that McAlester. We called him Archie because Archibald was his real first name (Keven was his middle) and because he was smarter than all the rest of us and we needed a way to take him down a notch or two. Keven did not own shorts. He wore corduroy pants every day, even in the summer. That didn’t stop him from cutting a swath through the mostly female sales department. The other thing he pursued with great fervor was video games, first Maelstrom, then Snood. Especially Snood. Keven was the undisputed office champion of Snood. I’m not sure how much money I lost to him playing that game when we should have been doing our jobs.

All that is background so that you might possibly understand how amazed and delighted I was this morning when I learned that Keven has been nominated for an Academy Award for a documentary he co-wrote and co-produced. A huge congratulations goes out to him. And so does the photo below, taken when the entire Met staff underwent makeovers for some misguided fashion thing we published.

As you might imagine, Keven’s phone is rather busy right now. Via text, he says, “I’m thrilled and honored, and can’t thank Rory [director and co-producer] and the folks at American Experience enough for the opportunity to work on this.” In an email conversation with a couple other Met alumni, he said he plans to play Snood for the rest of the day.

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American Blogger: The Most Important Film in the History of Cinema, Ever

Chris Wiegand of Dallas is a visionary filmmaker. Don’t take my word for it. Take his word for it. The trailer he posted recently for his new project, American Blogger, describes the deep spiritual apotheosis one is likely to experience upon watching this “beautifully filmed and artistically crafted” film.

Inspired by the blog of his own attractive blonde wife Casey, Chris drove across this great nation of ours, fighting for freedom and meeting with other beautiful female wordsmiths — mavens of fashion, style, and interior design. They’re part of a movement that could, potentially, change our world. Good-looking women will no longer have to put up with being ignored. At long last they have a means for commanding the attention that they deserve but have never received often enough.

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Santorum Flick Short of Opening-Weekend Goal

Last month, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, now CEO of Dallas-based EchoLight Studios, said the outfit was hoping for opening-weekend receipts of $2 million for its first national movie release, titled The Christmas Candle. Two million, Santorum said, would be like “hitting a home run.” Well, preliminary results for the film’s Nov. 22-Nov. 24 opening […]

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Romo Boosts Santorum’s First Big Film Venture

“This was easy,” Tony Romo was saying last night. “I love movies. I love Christmas. I love Jesus.” The Dallas Cowboys quarterback was explaining why he’d shown up at West Plano’s Cinemark Theater, where a new movie called The Christmas Candle was being premiered. The feature flick is the first national release from a Dallas […]

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Clint Eastwood May Direct Movie Version of Chris Kyle’s American Sniper

Twitch first reported and The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Clint Eastwood is in talks to direct the adaptation of the biopic of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, based on Kyle’s book American Sniper. You may remember that Steven Spielberg recently dropped out of the project. It’s not a done deal yet, but the producers should feel fortunate picking […]

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See the Monuments Men Trailer, Then Read the Story of Dallas’ Robert Edsel, Nazi Treasure Hunter

You may have encountered the trailer for The Monuments Men, an upcoming film written and directed by George Clooney, which started making the rounds online yesterday. The presence of Bill Murray, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchett together in the cast is enough to get me to the theater, even without knowing that it’s an incredible story […]

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Why Steven Spielberg Won’t Direct Chris Kyle Movie, American Sniper

Deadline reported yesterday afternoon that Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg has pulled out of his plans to direct the movie of the life story of decorated Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, American Sniper. The only reason offered is that Spielberg couldn’t “square his vision of this movie with the budget.” So I’m guessing he wanted to add to […]

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