‘Free Fire’ director Ben Wheatley made a COVID-19 horror film during lockdown

He made it "just to keep [his] head together with lockdown happening"

Free Fire filmmaker Ben Wheatley has made a COVID-19 film in lockdown.

The director said he took a fortnight between studio projects to make a film that he describes as “a response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis”.

Discussing the project with Little White Lies, Wheatley explained how he considers his projects according to the budget as well as the genre.


“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,” the filmmaker said.

Wheatley went on to explain that he shot his coronavirus movie in 15 days in August, just before starting production on his Tomb Raider sequel.

The filmmaker said he wrote the film “just to keep [his] head together with lockdown happening,” and said the script was, “the result of a datedness that he perceived in the titles released to VOD that couldn’t take the new status quo into account”.

Wheatley previously directed High-Rise, based on J.G. Ballard’s 1975 dystopian novel of the same name. The British filmmaker also made Free FireSightseersKill List and A Field in England.

Wheatley’s next project is a Netflix adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, starring Armie Hammer and Lily James.


The film stars Kristin Scott Thomas (Darkest Hour), Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name) and Lily James (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) in the lead roles, with Scott Thomas playing Mrs. Danvers, Hammer in the role of Maxim de Winter, owner of Manderley manor, and James playing Maxim’s wife.

Netflix will release Rebecca globally on October 21.