Harry Interviews High-Rise Director Ben Wheatley
We recently were given the opportunity to chat with Director Ben Wheatley in Central London, so of course we sent along our ‘Have-A-Go Harry’ to do the job. Including High-Rise, they chatted about the state of UK politics, how the film is a reflection of today’s society and if HiddleSwift actually is the best nickname for Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift…
If you were to direct a film about the current state of affairs in English politics, who would you want to play David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Theresa May?
I think I would probably do it as claymation or puppets… I just think real human beings probably couldn’t do them justice.
With the UK in complete, utter, inescapable, desparing disarray, what do you think we can learn from the residents of High-Rise?
I think the residents of High-Rise have an optimism, they kind of embrace the chaos and that good things can come out of this. The 70’s was an absolute misery, not dissimilar to now, and we did get quite good music out of it so maybe that will happen.
Maybe we’ll get some good tunes!
Yeah exactly and that’s the silver lining we should grip onto with all our might.
Would you go as so far to say it’s a cautionary tale?
No, I think the film itself is very much reflective of now. I often get asked about if it’s a dystopian tale, well now is a dystopia, it’s happening now all around us… the fiction of High-Rise is not as extreme as the reality of what’s happening. I think that’s a problem that art has in general, chasing the headlines because everything is so berserk and insane you can’t make stuff up that’s crazy… I remember when High-Rise came out there was criticism that some of it was too on the nose, I just think we’re post-too on the nose. It’s gone, that world doesn’t exist anymore, everything that can happen will happen.
We’ve heard that Tom Hiddleston attended an actual autopsy for research purposes for the film, did you do anything similar for High-Rise?
They offered me to go to this autopsy and I said no because once seen never forgotten. Tom was distraught afterwards and I didn’t fancy it! It’s pretty important for an actor, he has to act in the scene and actors are very particular about this and what they do with their hands, so he didn’t want to look fake of phoney while doing it, but I didn’t need to.
So he’s a ‘proper’ actor?
He is actually a ‘proper’ actor. But you know they do a lot of research and it helps, but for me I didn’t have to. I’m happy not to! We had a pathologist on set to make sure that nothing was being done wrong so that was good enough for me. I can do without smelling it!
Lovely! You’ve consistently worked with your wife Amy Jump as Writer and Laurie Rose as Director of Photography in all of your films. Do you ever think you’ll make a film without your wife or Laurie?
I’m basically working up to getting rid of both of them so it’ll just be about me. I’m practising my writing and reckon if I do a bit of weights I’d be able to lift the camera, then I’d be there, the one man band. With a series of complicated mirrors I might be able to act in it as well.
You’d have to go to an autopsy this time though!
No, no I’m not doing that!
Ben, we’ve watched your films, there’s some really messed up scenes in there. There’s a guy who gets beat up and there’s blood everywhere. We just wanted to check, are you ok? You all good?
Yeah! Well the thing is, in the films there’s lots of laughs and jokes as well. I think life in general is a mix of all these things and this is what we strive for in the movie, and the films that I’ve made there’s this balance of trying to make things feel real. I think that violence is real and happens a lot but also humour is real, love is real, joy is real and to show one thing and not the other seems to me a bit disingenuous.
But you’re definitely ok?
I’m fine yeah!
Time for the quick fire round.
Corbyn: Stay or Go?
I can’t tell till I see what the endgame to this nonsense is. I feel totally out of my depth in terms of what’s happening in the Labour Party. It’s either some incredibly clever complex Game of Thrones style shit or they’re all just out of their fucking minds, we’ll have to wait until the end to find out what happens with that.
Stay or Brexit?
Sweet or Salted?
Street level or rooftops?
Male or female Bond?
Hiddleston or Hiddleswift?
Best Movie you’ve seen this year?
Will you be coming to Rooftop Film Club soon?
Nice one Harry!
To celebrate the release of High-Rise on BluRay and DVD we have a bunch of goodies including a t-shirt, badges and the High-Rise book and DVD to give away! To win, simply click on the image below and retweet the tweet. Good luck!