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Ben Wheatley Moves into 'High Rise' Class Warfare Novel Adaptation

by
August 30, 2013
Source: Screen Daily

High Rise / Ben Wheatley

Director Ben Wheatley is starting to make films faster than Woody Allen. In the past few years, he's brought us Kill List, Sightseers and A Field in England, with projects like Mega Evil Motherfuckers on the way. Now he's added one more project to his future slate as Screen Daily reports Wheatley is attached to direct an adaptation of J.G. Ballard's novel High Rise, a project which has been gestating for a long time with directors like David Cronenberg and Vincenzo Natali flirting with the project. However, it sounds like Wheatley will finally see the project through to production with shooting planned for 2014. More below!

For those who aren't familiar with Ballard's book, here's the synopsis:

When a class war erupts inside a luxurious apartment block, modern elevators become violent battlegrounds and cocktail parties degenerate into marauding attacks on “enemy” floors. In this visionary tale, human society slips into violent reverse as once-peaceful residents, driven by primal urges, re-create a world ruled by the laws of the jungle.

That sounds just like the kind of dark, twisted tale we love to see from a director like Wheatley, who says:

“I love Ballard’s work. This project started out with me looking at my bookcase, seeing the book, and thinking: ‘that would make a great film.' I started looking into who had the rights for the book and that led me to Jeremy, who has made some of my favourite films. It took me a few meetings just to get over the typewriter he has from Naked Lunch in his office."

And the story says the film will be very faithful to the 1975 book, touting an "orgy of destruction." Wheatley says, "The idea is to be true to Ballard. It is such a rich and interesting time that it seemed a shame to set it anywhere other than England." Jeremy Thomas, a longtime friend of Ballard (who died in 2009) and producer of The Last Emperor and Kon-Tiki, has been working tirelessly to make this project happen, and we're glad he'll finally get his wish. He's been working on getting an adaptation off the ground for so long that there's an iteration going back as far as 1970. That's definitely a passion project. Sound good?

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