Newcomer Beulah Koale, a New Zealand actor of Samoan descent, has landed the third lead in DreamWorks’ PTSD drama “Thank You for Your Service” alongside Miles Teller and Haley Bennett, TheWrap has learned.
Jason Hall, the Oscar-nominated writer of “American Sniper,” will make his directorial debut with the project, which he adapted from the nonfiction book by David Finkel. Jon Kilik has come on to produce the film, which will be executive produced by Ann Ruark.
“Thank You for Your Service” follows a group of U.S. soldiers who return from Iraq and struggle to integrate back into their civilian lives with their families, as they’re still haunted by the horrific memories of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they’ve left the battlefield.
Teller will play Adam Schumann, a great soldier who leaves Iraq a broken man, and Bennett will play his loyal, supportive wife.
Koale will play Solo, an American Samoan soldier raised on the streets who feels indebted to the military for making his life better. The character is based on real-life soldier Tausolo Aieti, who saved two comrades but remained haunted by a third whom he was unable to rescue.
The movie is a huge coup for Koale, who grew up performing in church productions before getting involved with a local theater company and graduating to several New Zealand TV series, including “Shortland Street” and “Harry” with Sam Neill. He also starred in the award-winning short film “Manurewa,” which was selected for Melbourne and Berlin film festivals and won the Crystal Bear for best short in the youth section at Berlin.
Koale is represented by Red11 Management and will surely be sought after by U.S. talent agencies following his casting in “Thank You for Your Service.”