Ben you recently announced some big news with the casting of Tom Hiddleston in your adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s High-rise. How did this all come about and what can we expect?
Ben Wheatley: Well there’s a book that has many clues in it.
[Much laughter ensues, but I guess the subtext is that Wheatley may be aiming to stay very true to the book, or possibly in spirit at the least as he gives it his own original Wheatley flavour.]
OK! What took you so long seems as the material seems written for you.
Ben Wheatley: Yeah. Well it has always been a favorite book of mine. It was really random how it kind of happened. You know, sometimes you have to be a bit of a chancer with these things I saw it on my shelf and thought that’s good no one has made a film of it I wonder why? I phoned my agent and within three days I was talking to Jeremy Thomas who said - Yeah I’ve got the rights to it.
And I went oh okay that’s cool, and he said yeah. It was that quick really. We looked around to see who would fit the part - Tom Hiddleston. So then we asked him and he said yeah I would love to do that.
He had just made Only Lovers Left Alive with [Jeremy] Thomas as well, so all the planets were very much aligned. Which was great.
I’m hoping it’s going to be pretty crazy, the film. It’s back to the Ken Russell days if we can.
Edith Bowman: When are you filming
Ben Wheatley: I’m not sure yet it’s a little merry dance of regional financing at the moment. We keep looking at the script and thinking I can’t quite believe we’re getting away with this - but we’ll find out.
I was hoping to delve into what level of pressure of expectation, if any Ben felt in his approach to adapting High Rise as J. G. Ballard and particularly the much loved/admired High Rise has a fanatical following, additionally amongst recent Ballard adaptations two were taken on by two giants of cinema Steven Spielberg with Empire of the Sun and David Cronenberg with Crash. As well as if any other casting decisions had been made yet. But we took a different but as interesting route.
Why did you think Tom Hiddleston was perfect for the part?
Ben Wheatley: If you read the book the Robert Laing character is very Hiddlestoney or very Hiddlestonian, I suppose. It’s that thing of control, but there’s a spark behind Hiddleston of perversity as well. Which he plays full-bore with Loki. There is something about him which is establishment but is also wild,which is what we liked about him a lot.