Ben Wheatley directs Editors' video Formaldehyde - watch
Story by Jack Foley
THE video for Editors new single, Formaldehyde, marks the debut of acclaimed film director Ben Wheatley in the music video genre.
Having received plaudits for Kill List, Wheatley’s latest film, the Channel 4 funded A Field In England has shown to rave reviews and marked him out as the UK’s most current filmmaker.
The video was shot in Almeria, Southern Spain, to a script created and overseen by Wheatley that features his trademark blend of horror, suspense and surrealism in a homage to the great Spaghetti Westerns of the 60’s and in his words ‘a modern version of Jodorosky’s El Topo.
Using the same film sets as those once occupied by Leone and Eastwood, the short was a new departure that Ben thoroughly enjoyed as he explains:
“Out of the blue I got asked to direct the promo for the Editors track Formaldehyde. A lot of directors come up through making pop promos: I didn’t. My route in was through advertising, internet and television.
“The pop promo is something I’ve always been interested in. Music plays a big part in my film work and I’ve always admired the work of Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham, David Wilson and Dougal Wilson to name but a few. I was very flattered to be asked. I’ve always grumpily maintained that promos were a young man’s /woman’s game (basically because I’d never really been considered to do one!).
“So, thanks Editors for thinking of me.
“We shot on the old sets for Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West in Almeria in Spain. It was quite an experience. The sun is so bright and strong (I’ve just shot four features in a row in the UK; that kind of thing impresses me!). The mountains look amazing and everywhere you look you feel the vibe of the spaghetti westerns (they actually pipe the Morricone music in on loudspeakers so it’s impossible not to feel it).
“The promo stars Simon Smith and Tilly Gaunt who the eagle eyed will have spotted from my segment of the ABC’s of Death film, U For Unearthed. Simon is also in Down Terrace (and he maintains his hand is in Kill List! playing a drum… he was certainly there… but I’ve never spotted it).
“We shot the promo in a day and it was pretty frantic but good fun. We worked with a great bunch of Spanish cowboy/stuntmen/extras who wore the incredibly heavy and awkward masks with good grace.
“Hopefully, one day I will get to return to Almeria and shoot a feature film. It’s an amazing place… Hope you enjoy the promo.”
Watch the video: