J.G. Ballard will probably always remain one of contemporary sci-fi and general fiction’s greatest minds. Even though the two most popular adaptations of his work — Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun and David Cronenberg’s Crash — weren’t genre works, he’s got a lot more novels and stories that are begging for adaptation. It was almost magical when Kill List director Ben Wheatley signed on to direct a feature version of Ballard’s 1975 mini-dystopian novel High-Rise, and Wheatley himself has revealed one of the film’s leads will be none other than Tom “Loki from those Thor movies” Hiddleston, and that production on the film will begin in June. This is the kind of news I would have shouted from the rooftop of a…high-rise building…but GFR’s budget wouldn’t account for the speaker system needed to get the news to your ears.
The novel begins with something of a utopia, as the titular setting is an all-inclusive luxury building with anything its tenants could ever want or need, thus making trips into the outside world ludicrous. Supermarkets for groceries, schools for learning, and pools for swimming. But as it usually goes when everything seems perfect, minor inconveniences soon turn catastrophic, and the building’s population soon splits into high, middle, and low class systems, with innermost desires revealing themselves. Everything that can go wrong then does, as the entire outside world is shut out, and survival within the high-rise’s walls isn’t a surety. Snowpiercer has a similar plotline, and it’s possible we’ll be seeing High-Rise before Bong Joon-ho’s film ever comes out in the U.S.
Wheatley took to Twitter with the announcement, which also contained a sweet minimalist poster from Jay Shaw, one of the most talented artists in the biz. (He also provided the triptastic posters for Wheatley’s upcoming A Field in England.) Take a look at the tweet below.
HIGHRISE. shooting June. Starring Tom Hiddleston! pic.twitter.com/ue66t3rWbT
— mr_wheatley (@mr_wheatley) February 5, 2014
Hiddleston will soon be seen as a rock star vampire opposite Tilda Swinton in Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, as well as the Great Escapo in Muppets Most Wanted. He’s voicing Captain Hook in Peggy Holmes’ animated The Pirate Fairy, and will also star in Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror Crimson Peak, assuming it ever starts filming.
The always-working Wheatley, whose dark comedy Sightseers made audiences uncomfortably amused last year, is currently in production on an untitled comedy based on the BBC series Ideal. For now, here’s the mind-warping trailer for Field, which comes out February 7 on VOD.