I’m sure if you rummaged around Ben Wheatley‘s office, you’d easily find a half-dozen scripts or so. The filmmaker always has multiple irons in the fire, partly out of an endlessly creative spirt, but also to ensure he’s always got a project to pivot toward. So far, Wheatley’s filmography has been made of movies (almost) entirely from his own brain, and as he’s shown with upcoming “Free Fire,” he knows his way around grand setpieces. It’s not hard to imagine that major studios might be knocking on his door for tentpole projects, but Wheatley says he’s not all that interested… except in one particular curious property.
“I don’t really know how those [Marvel movies] work. ‘Marvel Zombies’ hasn’t been done which is what I’m interested in,” he told Little White Lies. “Maybe that’s a bit too niche. Marvel’s interesting in that it’s kind of a hybrid of cinema and television. A very, very expensive TV show that you buy a pass for every three months.”
However, Wheatley is keenly aware that his sensibility might not be something major studios are looking for, but to make sure everyone is on the same page, he’d be up front about what he’d be bringing to the table. “If I’m doing bigger stuff I try to mitigate against any confusion on the part of the people I’m working with. That’s why I storyboard as much as possible, so everyone knows what to expect and there’s no confusion. That’s when it all falls to pieces. If you’re all in agreement from the start then you can probably stop that shit from happening,” he added.
“Marvel Zombies” — which is exactly what it sounds like, an alternate universe where superheroes are turned into zombies — probably isn’t high on Kevin Feige‘s priorities list (or on it at all), but Wheatley has a number of movies brewing including the wild-sounding “Freakshift” (which shoots this summer), the Frank Miller adaptation “Hard Boiled,” and the remake of “Wages Of Fear” (“which we’ve just finished the script on so that’s ready to go”). But of course, he’s got even more socked away.
“…tonnes of stuff. Some comedy and about three sci-fi/fantasy films – we’ve got a script which is an adaptation of ‘Gauntlet,’ the ’80s video game. And we’ve been trying to do a rom-com for a long time now,” he revealed.
Wow, a video game movie from Wheatley might actually break the horrid curse that genre has a whole, but mostly, we’d be fine with any movie from the director featuring a Warrior, Wizard, Valkyrie, and Elf. As for a romantic comedy, that’s definitely something we wouldn’t expect from the filmmaker whose movies tend to have a body count, but the concept sounds intriguing.
“…we haven’t written it. I think it will end up being more [screenwriter] Amy [Jump]’s film. We both really love [Peter Bogdanovich‘s] ‘What’s Up, Doc?‘ – if we could do a film that was vaguely close to that world then we’d be happy. It’s charming and happy but you’ve also got gangsters in it. I’ve been trying a lot of different writing exercises recently, like what if you write a story where no one dies or the conflict doesn’t end in violence? It keeps you fresh and it stops you from repeating yourself,” Wheatley explained.
Can someone just set up Wheatley with an unending budget for his movies? These all sound like things we’d want to see. His next film, “Free Fire,” opens on April 21st.