As the technology in filmmaking continues to evolve, the craft of acting has to change just as quickly. The latest case in point comes from Ang Lee's experimental approach of shooting the 120 FPS / 4K 3D motion picture Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. With this brand new format comes not only a bunch of technical gadgets and specifications to fine tune, but an approach to acting that requires a more authentic presentation. If anyone really gets that, it has to be cast member Kristen Stewart.
While speaking with Stewart and her co-star, Garrett Hedlund, during their press day at the end of the New York Film Festival, I breached the topic of how the unique approach of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk's production had informed their decisions as actors. Both actors had a really good handle on the fresh expectations for their performances, and Kristen Stewart in particular had some terrific insight into just how different this experience was from any other film that she's made.
I mean, you're always striving for honesty. But in this case, you're more exposed than you've ever been, and there's less to hide behind. There are a couple default reactions, as an actor. You know, if there's a certain emotion you want someone else to feel, sometimes you have to do it a little bigger for that camera to see it.
Considering the new technology picks up everything it sees in a much crisper quality than a typical 24 FPS presentation, it's not that surprising that the quality of the performances would have to be just as sharp. So, to paraphrase the lesson that both Stewart and Hedlund learned from director Ang Lee during their time on Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk, you can't really "act" like you would in a normal movie, otherwise the 120 FPS looks fake and you'll be caught in the act.
To further clarify her feelings on Lee's more naturalistic approach to High Frame Rate visuals, Kristen Stewart said the following:
It's weird when that happens, I always feel like maybe the shot is wrong. So this is like really satisfying, because you don't have to construct anything... if you're not feeling it, it's not gonna go in the movie. This movie's a discovery, it's a first person experience, it was nice to be that visible.
120 FPS / 4K 3D may or may not catch on as a format, as it has yet to land a high visibility franchise to catapult it into the mainstream. However, the tentative baby steps that Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk have taken are pretty confident strides for a brand new method of filming. With actors like Kristen Stewart truly grasping the responsibilities and intricacies that it will bring to the actor's toolbox, we'd like to think that the future is pretty bright for the format. Only time, and the box office results for Ang Lee's latest film, will truly tell.
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is in limited locations right now, as it will go into wide release this Friday.