Ben Wheatley’s ‘Free Fire’ To Close London Film Fest; Martin Scorsese Exec Produces


Making its European premiere, Ben Wheatley’s anticipated Free Fire has been set as the closing night gala of the 60th BFI London Film Festival. The period action thriller is the latest from the Sightseers, A Field In England and High-Rise helmer. Martin Scorsese, who previously lent his name to the U.S. release of A Field In England, is executive producer on Free Fire. The film had been on some watchers’ wish lists for Cannes, but opted to target the fall festivals. Its designation as a European debut at LFF suggests a world premiere at one of the North American majors. Free Fire screens in London on October 16.

Set in late 70s Boston, the film stars Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, Jack Reynor and Sam Riley. Larson plays Justine, a woman who has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Murphy, Smiley) and a gang led by Vernon (Copley) and Ord (Hammer) who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart-stopping game of survival ensues.

Wheatley wrote the script for his first U.S.-set pic with his wife and longtime collaborator Amy Jump. This is his third film to be presented at LFF, following 2015’s High-Rise and 2012’s Sightseers. Fest Director Clare Stewart calls Free Fire a “ballsy actioner” that “pays knowing tribute to the films of Sam Peckinpah.”

Free Fire is a Film4 and BFI presentation of a Rook Films Production of a Ben Wheatley film. Along with Scorsese, executive producers are Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Reno Antoniades, David Kosse and Sam Lavender, Ben Roberts and Lizzie Francke, Danny Perkins and Dan MacRae. Producer is Andrew Starke. Studiocanal has UK distribution rights with a release date to be set. A24 has U.S. Protagonist Pictures is handling international rights.

LFF opens with Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom on October 5 and runs through October 16. The full lineup will be unveiled on September 1.

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