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Ben Wheatley to direct first American film, Free Fire

Ben Wheatley

Story by Jack Foley

BRITISH writer-director Ben Wheatley is to make his first film in America.

Free Fire will see the Sightseers and Kill List luminary travel to Boston to shoot a story about an arms deal gone wrong.

It will star Luke Evans, of Fast & Furious 6 fame, as well as The Lone Ranger’s Armie Hammer, Peaky Blinders’ Cillian Murphy, Rush’s Olivia Wilde and Wheatley regular Michael Smiley.

Set in 1978, the story will take place in a deserted Boston warehouse as the fallout from the deal descends into a shootout.

Wilde stars as Justine, the woman who has brokered the meeting, with Murphy and Smiley as two Irish gangsters and Hammer and Evans as the leaders of a separate mob.

Shooting is due to commence in spring 2015 and will be pitched to distributors at the upcoming American Film Market in Santa Monica.

Wheatley says of the unexpected switch to American filmmaking: “The idea for Free Fire came from my love of hard-boiled crime movies; from The Asphalt Jungle, The Big Sleep, The Killing and The Big Combo through The Driver, Le Samourai and The French Connection, to the modern cycle of Goodfellas, Casino, Hard Boiled and Reservoir Dogs.

Free Fire will take you and stick you in the middle of the action. I want the film to have the stylish, no-nonsense feel that you get in [Sam] Peckinpah’s The Getaway. It’s a modern ’70s movie. Muscular, tough and spare.”

Wheatley is currently putting the finishing touches to High Rise, his adaptation of JG Ballard’s classic tale of urban disintegration starring Tom Hiddleston as a young doctor seduced by the titular building and its creator, the visionary architect Anthony Royal.

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