Ben Wheatley has previous cautioned himself against talking too much about his future projects, but one he is happily discussing is shootout actioner Free Fire which now has Luke ‘Bard the Bowman’ Evans aboard. Hey, that guy knows how to shoot straight.
Free Fire is another period piece to follow A Field In England, although set in the much-more-recent times of Boston in 1978. The story, which Wheatley is pitching as a muscular crime flick in the spirit of Melville, Hawks, Scorsese and Walter Hill, charts the fallout from a gun-running hook-up orchestrated by Olivia Wilde in a deserted warehouse. Take two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley), a criminal enterprise led by Armie Hammer and Evans, a bunch of guns, some itchy trigger fingers, Wheatley’s skills behind the camera and to Empire’s mind, you have all the ingredients for a crackerjack action movie.
“The idea for Free Fire came from my love of hard-boiled crime movies,” Wheatley told Variety. “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.
“It will take you and stick you in the middle of the action,” he elaborated. “I want the film to have the stylish, no-nonsense feel that you get in Peckinpah’s The Getaway. It’s a modern ‘70s movie. Muscular, tough and spare.”
The $10 million budget he’s working with is a good $9,970,000 more than his debut, 2009’s Down Terrace, was made for. We can’t wait to see what he does with it.
Free Fire is scheduled to get underway in spring next year and already has UK distribution via StudioCanal. Wheatley’s next, High-Rise, will be landing with us meanwhile in 2015. Freakshift,presumably, will be off the table, for the time being at least.