E3 Gets First Look at Brad Pitt’s World War II Movie

The first footage from Brad Pitt’s upcoming World War II movie, Fury, was shown at the E3 video game expo in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The film is written and directed by David Ayer, centers on a single tank unit fighting toward the end of the war, and co-stars Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, Logan Lerman, and Jon Bernthal. A conference focused on technology and video games might seem like a strange place to debut footage of a big-budget, Oscar-courting Hollywood film, but the movie could target similar audiences that play any of the many popular war-based video games.

“As the Allies make their final push in the European Theater, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany,” Sony’s Columbia Pictures said in a press release when the company obtained the rights to the movie, per Deadline.

The film promises lots of action scenes involving the Sherman tank piloted by the characters, as well as an examination of their relationships and how their psyches are impacted by war. “They’re exhausted, they’re tired, they’re grief-stricken, they’re combat fatigued. It’s really about a family under incredible stress,” Ayer says of the movie in the clip.

“The movie is like a character study with action sequences,” Pena said. That combination will appeal to a wide variety of moviegoers from action buffs to awards-bait junkies. It’s a good formula for both box office and critical success.

Pitt has had success with the subject matter before. He played the Southern Lt. Aldo Raine in Quentin Tarantino’s acclaimed World War II retelling Inglourious Basterds in 2009, which was nominated for several Academy Awards. Christoph Waltz took home the Oscar for best supporting actor for his role as depraved Nazi Col. Han Landa. Aside from critical acclaim, that movie also performed admirably at the box office, making $321 million worldwide, according to figures from Box Office Mojo.

Pitt just came off his first Oscar win last year, though not for acting. He shared the Best Picture Oscar with others involved in producing 12 Years a Slave. Though Pitt is one of the best-known and acclaimed actors in Hollywood, he has yet to win an Academy Award for acting. Sony is trying to position Fury as the movie that will get him there.

“It’s a movie about World War II the likes of which you haven’t seen before,” the filmmakers promise. Fury is set to be released on November 14, just in time for awards season.

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet:

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS