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Berlin: Tom Hiddleston to Star in Ben Wheatley’s J.G. Ballard Adaptation ‘High-Rise’

Jeremy Thomas Producing through Recorded Picture Company; HanWay selling at Berlin's European Film Market

BERLIN — Tom Hiddleston, best known for “The Avengers” and “Thor: The Dark World,” has been attached to play the lead in Ben Wheatley’s “High-Rise,” which HanWay Films is selling at the European Film Market in Berlin.

The film, which is an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s classic British thriller, was penned by Wheatley’s regular collaborator Amy Jump. Jeremy Thomas is producing through Recorded Picture Company. Thomas previously produced David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Ballard’s “Crash,” during which he became close to the author.

Hiddleston recently appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive,” which was also produced by Thomas. He will next be seen in Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak.”

Wheatley is one of the U.K.’s hottest directors, having created a stir with his provocative films “Sightseers,” “Kill List” and “A Field in England.” He is currently shooting the new season of “Doctor Who” for the BBC.

“High-Rise” centers on a new residential tower built on the eve of Thatcher’s England, at the site of what will soon become the world’s financial hub. Designed as a luxurious solution to the problems of the city, it is a world apart.

Enter Robert Laing, a young doctor seduced by the high-rise and its creator, the visionary architect Anthony Royal. Laing discovers a world of complex loyalties, and also strikes up a relationship with Royal’s devoted aide Charlotte.

But rot has set in beneath the flawless surface. Sensing discord among the tenants, Laing meets Wilder, a charismatic provocateur bent on inciting the situation. Wilder initiates Laing into the hidden life of the high-rise and Laing is shocked at what he sees.

As the residents break into tribal factions, Laing finds himself in the middle of mounting violence. Violence that he also finds emerging in himself.

Wheatley said: “I am very excited to be working with Tom Hiddleston on this project. He is the perfect Laing to me. He brings an intelligence, vulnerability and humor to his roles, be they art-house or blockbuster that will make Laing come alive. It’s also a great privilege to be working with Ballard’s seminal book.”

Hiddleston added: “I can’t wait to work with Ben. He is one of the most inspired directors in the U.K., and he brings with him impeccable taste, courage, wit and singular brilliance: the perfect combination to realize the ambition of J.G. Ballard’s unique vision.”

“High-Rise” is slated for a summer start in the U.K. Financiers include FilmFour.

Hiddleston is represented by Hamilton Hodell, WME, Authentic and Peikoff Mahan.

HanWay’s sales slate includes “Slow West,” starring Michael Fassbender from See-Saw Films; Sundance Award winners “20,000 Days on Earth” with Nick Cave and “God Help the Girl,” starring Emily Browning from director Stuart Murdoch and producer Barry Mendel; Adam Wingard’s Sundance hit “The Guest,” starring Dan Stevens. Lone Scherfig’s “Posh”; Todd Haynes’ “Carol,” starring Cate Blanchett and Mia Wasikowska; and Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive,” starring Tilda Swinton and Hiddleston.

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