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I think Ben Wheatley, together with partner/writer/editor Amy Jump, is one of the most interesting directors working now. He makes genre films that are, thanks to Jump’s scripts, very sharp and perceptive, but also very weird, and not at all afraid to push audiences out of their comfort zones. A Field in England is emblematic of the films they make together. It’s a story about a few men during the English Civil War, some coerced to work for others, and how they all come together in a mad frenzy of power and influence.

I spoke to Wheatley a while ago about A Field in England, and for those who have seen the film, which is in US theaters and on VOD now, you might be happy to know that he explains a few plot points that might seem pretty obscure. But he also talks about why he doesn’t like explaining story elements, within his films or in interviews, and what he and Jump had in mind for audiences as they were putting this story together.  Read More »

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Last summer Ben Wheatley‘s film A Field in England started to see release, with a simultaneous drop in theaters, on disc, and on cable and VOD in the UK. It went on to play festivals and finally opened in the US last week. Along with the film’s UK release last year was a “digital masterclass” on the making of the movie — a thirty-minute behind the scenes doc that is really terrifically detailed. This isn’t fluffy filler, but rather a nuts and bolts look at making an indie movie with relatively few resources. It’s fantastic stuff, but loaded with spoilers (naturally) about the film.

So now is a great time to point it out to you once more, as the film is in release pretty much everywhere at this point. Below you’ll find a good deal of behind the scenes footage, and links to even more. Read More »

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The J.G. Ballard novel High Rise, about an apartment building in which occupants are cut off from exterior society and divide into their own class structures, has been a dream project for decades for producer Jeremy Thomas. He’s finally getting the film made later this year, with Ben Wheatley (Kill List, A Field in England, Doctor Who) in the director’s chair and Wheatley’s partner Amy Jump writing. I spoke briefly to Wheatley about the film a few months back when we talked about A Field in England; that interview will run later this week.

In the meantime we’ve got some great info: the star of the film will be Tom Hiddleston, and cameras are set to roll in June. Read More »

A Field in England

It’s not like Down Terrace, Kill List, and Sightseers were safe and conventional to begin with, but Ben Wheatley‘s latest feature is by all accounts his weirdest yet. A quick glance at the new trailer, and you’ll see exactly what we mean.

Set during the English Civil War, A Field in England centers around a group of soldiers who follow an alchemist on his search for treasure. They come into a strange field with a mushroom circle, and then things take a turn for the intensely bizarre. Watch the latest promo and a new poster after the jump.

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Peter Capaldi Doctor Who

It’s been a big year for Doctor Who fans, as the turnover from Matt Smith to Peter Capaldi was finessed by an anniversary special that dove into some previously unseen bits of the character’s history, complete with the return of a fan-favorite actor and the debut of a new part of the Doctor’s history.

Now we’ve got a new image of Capaldi in costume, posed and distributed to celebrate the show’s start of production with the actor in the lead role. The show’s writer and producer, Steven Moffat, joked, “First the eyebrows! Then, at Christmas, the face! Coming soon, the whole Doctor. In the Cardiff studios, the Capaldi era begins.” That’s “the face,” above, from the Christmas Special. Below, you can see the new image.

And for those who haven’t been hanging on every tidbit of news about the new Doctor Who, the first two episodes of the new series are directed by Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers, A Field in England). That info has been around for a couple months, but it’s worth emphasizing now. Read More »

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There’s another Elysium movie moving forward, and Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers, A Field in England) is going to make it. But this isn’t related to Neill Blomkamp’s recent film. No, this one is part of the story High Rise, by novelist J. G. Ballard. This Elysium is a futuristic apartment block in which all modern amenities are contained, but where class warfare violently destroys the living space.

The book has been in development for ages; Nicholas Roeg had it as a possible project at one point, and the book has eerie similarities with David Cronenberg’s first feature, Shivers, aka They Came From Within. Cronenberg’s film and this book were released in 1975. (Cronenberg went on to film Ballard’s novel Crash.) Most recently Vincenzo Natali was attached to direct, with Richard Stanley (Hardware, Dust Devil) scripting.

But rights lapsed and producer Jeremy Thomas, who has been trying to make the film for decades, now has Ben Wheatley set to make the movie. Read More »

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As we’ve said before, Ben Wheatley is among the most interesting genre directors working right now. Kill List was a wild thriller, but also a fantastic explosion of ideas of masculinity and impotence; Sightseers is a fantastically funny, bloody comedy that also plays with the extreme results of frustrated creative impulses.

His next film is A Field in England, a fairly small production about a few guys who flee the front lines of the English Civil War in the mid-1600s. They’re captured by two men, one of whom is an alchemist, and pressed into assisting in the search for a treasure. But that treasure may in fact be something that drives them totally crazy (at least for a while).

This new teaser really ups the psychedelic factor — it is an almost assaultive collage of color, sound, and shapes. For the audience that is already pre-disposed to respond to a film like this, the trailer is going to be pure crack.  Read More »

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Ben Wheatley hasn’t been making features for very long, but he’s sure good at making his time count. In the four years since his first, Down Terrace, he’s managed to direct three more, each one wonderfully dark and twisted in its own special way.

His black romantic comedy Sightseers is still in theaters over here in the U.S., but there’s already a new trailer for his follow-up release, A Field in England. Even by Wheatley’s standards, this one looks pretty unusual. Set in 1648 during the English Civil War, it follows a group of deserters who get captured by an alchemist and descend into a psychedelic trip. Check out the video after the jump.

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