Ben Wheatley is set to direct “A Field in England,” a low-budget horror movie set during the English Civil War in the 17th century.
This is the first feature developed and financed by Film4.0, the new arm of Film4 dedicated to exploring innovative filmmaking with emerging talent.
“A Field in England” starts shooting in late September. It will be Wheatley’s fourth film, following his self-financed debut “Down Terrace” and previous Film4 projects, “Kill List” and “Sightseers.” “Sightseers” premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes and will be released November in the U.K. by Studiocanal.
After “A Field in England,” Wheatley will make the previously announced “Freakshift” for Film4 and Lava Bear Films, set to shoot in early 2013.
Like “Sightseers,” “A Field in England” is co-written by Wheatley and Amy Jump. It will star Michael Smiley, who played the lead in “Kill List,” along with Peter Ferdinando, Reece Shearsmith, Julian Barratt, Richard Glover and Ryan Pope.
Described as “a psychedelic trip into magic and madness,” it follows a group of deserters from a Civil War battle, who are captured by an alchemist who forces them to help him search for a hidden treasure buried in an overgrown field. But after eating mushrooms, they slowly fall victim to the terrifying energies trapped in the field.
Producers are Claire Jones and Andy Starke of Wheatley’s Rook Films. Anna Higgs will exec produce for Film4, with Protagonist Pictures handling international sales.
According to Wheatley, the project “brings together the more psychedelic elements of ‘Kill List’ and ‘Sightseers’ and weaves in our take on historical drama.”
Higgs said, “One of the central strands of Film4.0 is to work with directors and producers in new and agile ways, so it’s fitting that our first project should be with Ben, who is one of the industry’s most original and exciting filmmakers.”
According to Jones and Starke, the Film4.0 model “allows us to embrace the new technologies and platforms that are changing and challenging traditional filmmaking methods every day.”
Film4.0 was set up in 2011 as a “talent and ideas hub” to support new and emerging filmmakers to explore fresh ways to connect with audiences.