Netflix grabbed our attention in 2015 when it paid $30 million for the rights to the upcoming Brad Pitt film War Machine, and we’re finally getting closer to seeing if the investment was a good one. The film is due out this spring, and the streamer released the first teaser Wednesday.
Billed as “an absurdist war story for our times,” the film is inspired by journalist Michael Hastings’ 2012 nonfiction book The Operators. Written and directed by David Michod, the movie fictionalizes real-life events, resulting in sharp satire. The teaser hints at this, with Pitt’s four-star general character at one point casually saying, “No, finish your phone call. The war can wait.”
Pitt plays Dan McMahon, a confident and charismatic general who leads NATO troops in Afghanistan until a journalist’s exposé leads to his dramatic fall from grace. His character is based on Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who faced backlash after Hastings reported that he and his staff had mocked government officials, including Vice President Joe Biden. The general ended up resigning from his post and retiring from the Army not long thereafter.
The cast also includes Tilda Swinton, Sir Ben Kingsley, Anthony Michael Hall, Topher Grace, Will Poulter, Lakeith Stanfield, Emory Cohen, John Magaro, R.J. Cyler, Alan Ruck, Scoot McNairy, and Meg Tilly. The lineup certainly looks bankable, but we’ll have to wait for the movie to start streaming before we know for sure.
At the time of the deal, War Machine was Netflix’s most high-profile acquisition. The streamer has since paid even more for other projects, including the forthcoming Will Smith film Bright, which cost a whopping $90 million. In comparison, War Machine may be a bargain.
The film premieres on Netflix on May 26.