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Cillian Murphy & Michael Smiley to Star in Ben Wheatley’s Next Film
28 Oct 2014 : Deirdre Molumby
Ben Wheatley’s next film will be ‘Free Fire’, which he will write and direct. The director of ‘A Field in England’ and ‘Kill List’ is currently in post on ‘High-Rise’, an adaptation of JG Ballard’s novel which stars Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and Luke Evans. ‘High-Rise’ was shot in Belfast and Down, and Wheatley’s Irish connections haven’t ceased with that production.

‘Free Fire’ will feature Irish stars Cillian Murphy and Wheatley regular Michael Smiley among its cast alongside ‘Dracula Untold’ star Luke Evans, Armie Hammer and Olivia Wilde.

The story is set in Boston in 1978. Wilde plays Justine, a woman who has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Murphy, Smiley) and a gang led by Hammer and Evans who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart stopping game of survival ensues.

Wheatley has said: “The idea for Free Fire came from my love of hard boiled crime movies; from ‘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’.

“‘Free Fire’ will take you and stick you in the middle of the action. 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 action film has a budget of $10m and is Wheatley’s first film set in the US. Andy Starke will produce for Starke and Wheatley’s Rook Films, with Film4 on board as one of the financiers. Casting is by Shaheen Baig.

StudioCanal has acquired rights for the UK. Domestic rights are repped by WME.

‘Free Fire’ is being launched for pre-sales at AFM (Nov 5-12) by Protagonist Pictures. Production is scheduled for Spring 2015.

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