Planning his first American movie
Following the Empire Award-winning Kill List and the recently finished Sightseers, Ben Wheatley's next project looks set to be the monstrous Freakshift. The deal is currently being thrashed out between production companies Lava Bear, Rook Films and Film4.
The film's high concept involves a world where creatures rise up at night and terrorise decent citizens. That leads to the creation of the Freakshift themselves, a government-organised band of thrill-seeking hunters who are happy to go out a-killing of a night "for duty, sport and money."
Rook Films and Film4 have been regular Wheatley collaborators so far, but Lava Bear are new, and, significantly, American. Freakshift is "like Hill Street Blues vs. Monsters" says Wheatley, "and its our first American film. It needs a budget of about $15m, so it's quite big."
Hopefully "bigger" is just a natural development. Given his violently off-kilter work so far, it's hard to imagine Wheatley being "tamed" by Hollywood into delivering just another bloody zombie movie. We'll be keeping a very beady eye on this one, as, all being well, it heads towards a shoot in the first quarter of next year.
In the meantime, Sightseers is out in the UK on November 30. Empire's Damon Wise saw it at Cannes, and called it "a berserk Mike Leigh movie with a bodycount." A new clip arrived online a couple of weeks ago. Wheatley has also contributed to The ABCs of Death, which is currently in post-production.
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