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Shooting has Commenced on FREE FIRE plus Full Cast Announced

09 June 2015

Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Jack Reynor, Sam Riley, Noah Taylor, Enzo Cilenti and Babou Ceesay join Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley in Ben Wheatley’s explosive action thriller Free Fire

Principal photography is now underway

Martin Scorsese is executive producing the film

Principal photography began yesterday on Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire. Film4 and the BFI back the film, STUDIOCANAL have rights in the UK and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) have territories including Australia / New Zealand, Latin America, Scandinavia and Spain. Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales. WME is co-representing the North American sale with Protagonist and Film4.

Andy Starke and Ben Wheatley’s Rook Films is producing the film set in Boston in the late seventies. Larson plays a woman who has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Murphy and Smiley) and a gang (led by Hammer and Copley) who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart-stopping game of survival ensues. The film is written by Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump.

Ben Wheatley, who has just completed his dystopian epic High-Rise starring Tom Hiddleston and Sienna Miller, is fast becoming one of the UK’s most revered filmmakers after a string of signature movies including Sightseers, Kill List and A Field In England.

Sharlto Copley exploded onto the world stage after his breakthrough performance in Neill Blomkamp’s District 9. He went on to star in Blomkamp’s Elysium and Chappie as well as major pictures such as Maleficent, Oldboy and The A-Team. He has his own TV series ‘Powers’ on the Playstation Network.

Brie Larson is fast becoming one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood after a string of breakout roles in 21 Jump Street, The Spectacular Now, Don Jon and most notably Short Term 12 for which she won a Gotham Award, she was nominated for Independent Spirit and Critics Choice Awards and was named best actress at the Locarno Film Festival. She recently starred opposite Mark Wahlberg in Paramount’s The Gambler and has the lead role in the keenly anticipated feature of the bestselling novel Room.

Irish actor Jack Reynor became a name to watch in Hollywood after snagging the lead role in Michael Bay’s $1bn blockbuster Transformers: Age Of Extinction. He was also the recipient of the best actor award for his performance in Glassland at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. He has recently been on UK screens in A Royal Night Out and in Cannes in Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth. He also has Jim Sheridan’s The Secret Scripture and John Carney’s Sing Street coming soon. His upcoming shooting schedule includes HHHH and in Andy Serkis’ Jungle Book: Origins.

Sam Riley’s startling and multi award winning debut performance as Ian Curtis in Anton Corbijn’s Control immediately led the British actor to a string of critically acclaimed leading and high profile roles in Brighton Rock, On the Road, Byzantium, Suite Francaise and Maleficent. He will next be seen in the upcoming The Dark Valley and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Since his mesmerising break out role in The Year My Voice Broke, Noah Taylor’s impressive body of work includes films from cinematic legends such as Cameron Crowe, Wes Anderson, Tim Burton and Terence Malick. He continues to build his career encompassing all genres across TV and Film including Almost Famous, Shine, Vanilla Sky, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Submarine and The Edge of Tomorrow.

Enzo Cilenti recently worked with Wheatley on High-Rise and can currently be seen in ‘Game of Thrones’ and “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’. Babou Ceesay’s credits include ‘A.D The Bible Continues’ and ’71. Other new cast additions include Patrick Bergin (Patriot Games, Sleeping with the Enemy), Tom Davis (The Guvnors, ‘Murder in Successville’) and Mark Monero (Wild Bill).

Armie Hammer’s past credits include Social Network, J. Edgar and the upcoming Man From U.N.C.L.E.- for Warner Bros, directed by Guy Ritchie. Hammer is represented by WME and Sloane Offer Weber & Dern. Cillian Murphy’s diverse roles include the upcoming In the Heart of the Sea, ‘Peaky Blinders’, Inception and Batman Begins.

Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund says, "It’s a testament to the way Ben makes his films and works with actors that he's attracted such a first-class international cast to strap on the squibs for FREE FIRE. And Scorsese for heaven's sake... We're very excited."

David Kosse, Director of Film4, says: “Ben is one of our most exciting and original filmmakers and a great example of the bold British talent we want to support at Film4. What better way to continue our long-standing collaboration with him and Rook films than this explosive thriller.”

“Ben Wheatley and Andy Starke have come a long way in the six years since Down Terrace,” said Mike Goodridge, CEO of Protagonist Pictures. “The knockout international cast they have attracted to Free Fire only fuels our confidence in the remaining worldwide sales prospects for their most commercial film yet."

Luke Evans and Olivia Wilde had previously been attached to the film but had to drop out over scheduling changes.

With over £26m to invest a year, the BFI is the UK's largest public investor in film - supporting first-class filmmaking through development and production, to distribution and international sales. Recent releases backed by the BFI Film Fund include Mike Leigh’s critical and box office hit, Mr. Turner; Matthew Warchus’s Pride; Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin; Yann Demange’s ’71; Randall Wright’s Hockney; Lone Scherfig’s The Riot Club; Amma Asante’s Belle; Daniel Wolfe’s Catch Me Daddy; Stephen Frears’ Philomena; John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary; Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s 20,000 Days on Earth; and André Singer’s Night Will Fall.

New films supported by the BFI Film Fund include Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster which premiered In Competition at this year’s Cannes; Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years which premiered in competition at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival where it won two Silver Bear awards; John Maclean’s Slow West, Louise Osmond’s Dark Horse and Jerry Rothwell’s How to Change the World which all premiered at Sundance; Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette; Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise; Rufus Norris’ London Road; Guy Myhill’s The Goob; Duane Hopkins’ Bypass; Terence Davies’ Sunset Song; Debbie Tucker-Green’s Second Coming; John Crowley’s Brooklyn; Richard Bracewell’s Bill; Brian Hill’s Thomas Quick; Jon Wright’s Robot Overlords; Omer Fast’s Remainder; Esther May Campbell’s Light Years; David Farr’s The Ones Below; Andrea Arnold’s American Honey; and Pete Travis’ City of Tiny Lights.

The BFI is the lead organisation for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema

Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations

Investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work

Promoting British film and talent to the world

Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences

Film4 is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division. Film4 develops and co-finances films and is known for working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in the UK, whether new or established.

Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years, Academy Award-winners such as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges and Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Mike Leigh’s Another Year, Chris Morris’ Four Lions, Shane Meadows’ This is England, Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and David Mackenzie’s Starred Up.

Film4’s recent releases include Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s 20,000 Days on Earth, Yann Demange’s ’71 and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy, Daniel Wolfe’s Catch Me Daddy and Debbie Tucker Green’s Second Coming. Forthcoming releases include Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette, John MacClean’s Slow West, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster, Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years, Todd Haynes’ Carol, Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth and Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise.

For further information visit Film4.

Commercially minded and creatively spirited, Protagonist Pictures is an international finance, production and sales company committed to strong relationships with filmmakers, financiers and distributors. Launched in London in 2008 by shareholders including Film4, Vertigo Films and Ingenious Media, the company quickly created a strong brand as a home for bold stories and exciting new directing voices. It has now expanded from its UK origins to handle titles from around the world, with a wider range of directors, producers and budgets.

Protagonist’s slate includes Yorgos Lanthimos’s Cannes Jury Prize winner The Lobster featuring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, John C Reilly and Lea Seydoux; Rebecca Miller’s romantic comedy Maggie’s Plan with Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore; Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship with Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny; Brady Corbet’s feature debut The Childhood Of A Leader, starring Berenice Bejo and Robert Pattinson; Rob Zombie’s horror film 31, and Andrea Arnold’s first US project American Honey.

In 2008 Starke and director Ben Wheatley founded Rook Films – the company’s first original production Down Terrace, directed by Ben Wheatley, won multiple awards, received fantastic critical acclaim and was sold in the UK and US.

Rook's next two features with Wheatley, Kill List (co-produced with WarpX) and Sightseers (co-produced with Big Talk Pictures) have won multiple awards and received huge critical acclaim around the world. Sightseers had its world premiere at Directors Fortnight in the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, whilst Wheatley's fourth film A Field In England was the first film ever to be released simultaneously across all formats – including terrestrial television.

Since producing Peter Strickland's third feature The Duke of Burgundy which premiered at TIFF 2014 and opened to rave reviews in February. Starke has a slate of movies in development including Ben Wheatley’s Freefire, Sidharth Srinivasan's The Profane and Jim Hosking's The Story of Brian Howl & The Greasy Strangler.

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