Ben Wheatley is responsible some of the most dark, twisted, genre-bending films in recent memory. Now the director of movies like Kill List, Sightseers, and A Field in England will take on something completely different, the BBC’s long-running sci-fi adventure, Doctor Who.
Screen Daily reports that Wheatley has been tapped to helm the first two episodes in new Time Lord Peter Capaldi’s upcoming reign. This is strange, but pretty awesome news. Wheatley will probably have to tone down his warped aesthetic sense somewhat to jive with Doctor Who’s audience—there’s a fair amount of younger viewers along for the ride—but you know he has some weird, twisted plans in store. I don’t think there’s any need to worry how these two great tastes will taste together, though, there’s plenty of room in the Who cannon deep, dark, and strange.
I am very excited and honoured to be asked to direct the first two episodes of the new series of Doctor Who. I’ve been a fan since childhood (Tom Baker is my Doctor if you are asking)…I’ve been watching the current run of Doctor who with my son and have discovered it all over again. The work that has been done is amazing. I’m really looking forward to working with Peter Capaldi and finding out where Steven Moffat is planning to take the new Doctor.
Wheatley will reportedly work on the episodes for series eight through the end of the year, and his work will air sometime in the fall of 2014. There is no word on prospective story lines, plot details, or any of that fun stuff, but it’s not hard to imagine that Wheatley, Moffat, and Capaldi have some serious shenanigans in mind.
Between casting Capaldi, who landed the Doctor Who gig this past summer, and bringing a filmmaker like Wheatley on board, you get the definite impression that a drastic tonal shift is in store. Matt Smith, the previous and 11th Time Lord, has often been described as a human cartoon, and Capaldi definitely brings a harder edge to the proceedings. Throw Wheatley into the mix, and you can’t help but think that the series may take on a more sinister tone. At least for a few post-anniversary episodes.
Wheatley has garnered a fair amount of acclaim for his films, and is the proud owner of a cult of hardcore fans. It will be interesting to see if that translates into new viewers for the already legendary series, or perhaps his latest venture will expand his ever-growing renown.
After Wheatley wraps up his turn on Doctor Who, he’s scheduled to turn his attention to an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel High Rise. This is a project that I’m beyond excited for. The surrealist, vaguely dystopic nightmare about an apartment complex that devolves into a violent warzone seems tailor made for Wheatley’s style. I can’t wait to see what he’s able to do working with this material.