Ang Lee's latest film, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, debuted without any technical snafus at its world premiere on Friday night, screening at a specially equipped AMC Loews Lincoln Square theater in its intended format: in 4K, native 3D and at the ultra-high rate of 120 frames per second.
The screening was the film's first for both the cast and the public - and Lee's first with an audience. "I'm nervous - I feel exposed by the high frame rate, 3D, high-resolution camera," the director joked to the audience beforehand.
That camera left no room for error from the cast. "When you're shooting in the way that we always do, there are certain things that people don't see. I'll finish a take on any other movie and I'll want to do it again, they'll tell me, 'No, it was great,' and I'll say, 'No, trust me, I was lying,' " Kristen Stewart told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet. "On this, there's no room for that. You see everything. It had to be raw and real. I thought it was awesome, it was so cool - I was like, 'Push me harder!' "
Garrett Hedlund recalled, "[Lee] told us all at the beginning, 'If you try to act, you're gonna look like you're acting because the resolution is so high. You can't act; you just have to be.' He just wanted everybody to be natural." Added Ismael Cruz Cordova, "He asked for a higher level of experiencing the character - he said, 'There's acting, there's 3D acting and then there's this acting.' "
Afterward, Lee asked attendees for feedback and further expanded on his filmmaking process. "I don't have a monitor that shows even close to [the intended format], so it was a lot of guessing," he explained. "It's scary, sometimes I feel like I don't know how to make movies."
But alongside fellow castmembers Chris Tucker, Steve Martin, Makenzie Leigh and newcomer Joe Alwyn, Vin Diesel reassured, "Seeing the movie is such a heavy experience. The nuances in the movie, the proposed message in the movie is kind of heavy. After you saw the credits, everyone was like a deer in headlights. … [It] takes you a place you don't expect to go in a war picture, and to have a war picture simplified in a statement of love is a testament to what Ang has done."
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk hits theaters Nov. 11.