Ben Wheatley interview

The distinction between heroes and villains isn’t as clear in Free Fire as most action movies. And it’s partly because co-writer/director Ben Wheatley and co-writer Amy Jump give all their characters lives outside of the shootout – lives you want to see them find a way to escape back to. Out of the ensemble, some eggs are more rotten than others, but for the most part, Free Fire is a movie in which we’re rooting the characters to find a solution, not kill each other.

Over the span of 85 minutes – a glorious runtime in this day and age – not one of the characters rings as false in Free Fire. Their pain feels real because they feel real. Jump and Wheatley rarely give these characters any breaks, either. The writers bring a heavy dose of physical comedy to the film to go along with some brutal carnage.

We recently sat down with Wheatley, the director behind Kill List and High-Rise, for a brief conversation about his new movie.

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Free Fire Clip - Sharlto Copley

If you’re lucky, this weekend brings the action shoot’em up flick Free Fire to a theater near you. It’s the latest film from High Rise and Sightseers director Ben Wheatley. But don’t worry if you think the filmmaker’s work is a little too weird or twisted for your tastes, because this is easily his most accessible film yet.

Free Fire follows a black market arms deal gone wrong in 1970s Boston as an IRA buyer (Cillian Murphy) and a South African gun runner (Sharlto Copley) end up in a gun fight in the middle of an abandoned warehouse, with both their sides exchanging shots, trying to get the money and attempting to make it out alive. It’s relentlessly brutal, but it’s also extremely funny, as evidenced by a new clip from the movie that will probably make District 9 fans grin a bit.

Watch the Free Fire clip below. Read More »

Armie Hammer interview

If there’s one character who stays calm in most of Free Fire, it’s Ord. The American criminal is as well-composed as his swanky gray jacket and black turtleneck. Rarely is Ord the character shouting and screaming in director Ben Wheatley‘s (High-Rise) new, 85-minute-long shoot ’em up..

Wheatley and co-writer Amy Jump don’t waste a second of Free Fire‘s runtime, which couldn’t come at a more right time before some bloated action movies arrive this summer. The film is as lively as some of its characters, most of whom you’d like to see make it out of the warehouse. Especially Ord.

We recently discussed the role with actor Armie Hammer, who also told us a bit about the character’s backstory, working with Wheatley, and more.

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Armie Hammer Freakshift casting

After working with the actor on Free Fire, director Ben Wheatley has a role for Armie Hammer in his next picture, Freakshift. The film is already set to star Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) in a story about monster hunters. Hammer, who’s built like a tree, could convincingly dispose of a few monsters, but it’s unclear whether he’s on the team hunting them down.

Below, learn more about the Armie Hammer Freakshift casting.

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Alicia Vikander Joins Assassin's Creed

The news here is that uber-talented Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander will headline the cast of Freakshift, a monster movie that was originally announced back in 2012. The other way to look at that news is that director Ben Wheatley, one of the most inventive and thrilling people making movies on the planet at the moment, has landed a high-profile leading lady for his next genre outing. With Wheatley feeling like he’s on the verge of a genuine mainstream breakthrough and Vikander’s star rapidly on the rise, this feels like the perfect combination of talent for a movie that sounds very promising.

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Free Fire Trailer

This year has already brought us the brutal gunplay of John Wick: Chapter 2, but there’s another shootout on the way this spring.

Free Fire is the latest film from director Ben Wheatley (High Rise, Sightseers, Kill List), and it looks like his most accessible, too. Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Noah Taylor, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley and Jack Reynor all find themselves in a grimy warehouse with a weapons deal gone wrong, resulting in a feature-length shootout that is just as hilarious as it is energetic and wild.

Watch the new Free Fire trailer below to see what we’re talking about, but beware that there’s some NSFW language in this one. Read More »

the batman director

Yesterday, Ben Affleck stepped down from directing The Batman. One day, someone is going to write a book explaining exactly what was going on behind-the-scenes at Warner Bros. that led to this revolving door of filmmakers on all of their projects. We’ll surely know someday. But not today.

So today is a day of speculation. As Matt Reeves and Mat Ross emerge as apparent frontrunners, it’s time to do that thing where we make a list of people who should direct the next Batman movie. Some of these names are totally plausible. Some are wishful thinking. Others are here just because the thought of them directing a big-budget superhero movie makes me giggle uncontrollably. Most of all, this an excuse for us to just goof off and daydream while Warner Bros. figures everything out.

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Hard Boiled Movie

Tom Hiddleston is already one of the key parts of the Marvel cinematic universe with his role as Thor’s villainous brother Loki. But if all goes well, he’ll be starring in in another comic book adaptation soon enough.

Warner Bros. is in talks to snag the rights to Frank Miller and Geof Darrow‘s comic book Hard Boiled, and it’s hoped to be a vehicle for Tom Hiddleston to lead. Furthermore, the adaptation will reteam Hiddleston with a director he’s worked with before. Read More »

Free Fire review

The third-act shootout is a staple of a certain kind of film, but in Ben Wheatley‘s Free Fire it’s essentially the entire movie. Against all odds, it works. Wheatley stages a never-ending knock-down-drag-out fight, trapping one woman and about a dozen men in an abandoned warehouse and then inviting us to sit back and watch as the bullets and the jokes ricochet off one another. The result is a furiously entertaining exercise that left me buzzing with energy long after I’d left the theater.  Read More »

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free fire trailer

The impending arrival of new Ben Wheatley movie is always a cause for celebration. The genius (yes, I’ll break out the “G” word) behind films like Kill List, Sightseers, and High-Rise has been a favorite of mine for years, leaping between genres while maintaining his signature dark comedy and unflinching ability to sell genuine pain and terror. His new film, Free Fire, is built around a premise that is simultaneously old school and high concept: two groups of criminals in 1970s Boston arrange an arms deal in an old warehouse, things go south, guns are drawn…and they proceed to engage in a gun battle that plays out over the course of the entire movie, mostly in real time.

The first Free Fire trailer has arrived (in bloody, NSFW red band form!) and you can check it out below.

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