Ben Wheatley is making a COVID horror film between studio projects

Before Tomb Raider, he’s sneaking in a low-budget indie tackling our present pandemic crisis.


Charles Bramesco


Among the many fine articles contained within the latest issue of Little White Lies, readers will find an interview with noted filmmaker Ben Wheatley. In it, Wheatley mostly discusses his upcoming adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier classic Rebecca, but he also makes mention of a smaller independent project in the works on the down-low – in the business, we call that a “scoop.”

Wheatley chose our reputable publication to break the news of an as-of-now untitled film, shot in 15 spare days back in August before the director got started on his big-budget sequel to 2018’s rebooted adaptation of the video game franchise Tomb Raider. Based on the soundbite he provided, it seems that Wheatley recharges his batteries by going back to basics in between studio gigs.

“I’ve said it a lot, but I think I’ve always seen it as there being genres of subject but also genres of budget, and those genres of budget are micro-budget, low-budget, mid-budget, and high-budget, which make for totally different filmmaking experiences,” he said. To that effect, he’s scaling down for the next film, written in part “just to keep [his] head together with lockdown happening.”

Wheatley describes the film as a response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the result of a datedness that he perceived in the titles released to VOD that couldn’t take the new status quo into account. Naturally, his coronavirus film will fall under the umbrella of horror, a fitting choice with no shortage of horrifying things having come to dominate day-to-day life.

Experienced filmmakers often reflect on the universe of difference separating an effects-and-stunts-driven blockbuster from a more contained, character-driven indie; this is where the “one for them, one for me” maxim originated. As Wheatley tells it, however, they’re all for him. Whether working with $2 million, $20 million, or $200 million, he enjoys the ride every time.

Published 29 Sep 2020

Tags: Ben Wheatley Coronavirus

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