Ben Wheatley is reportedly on board to direct Jeremy Thomas’ adaptation of JG Ballard’s satirical sci-fi novel High-Rise. The Sightseers and Kill List director, along with Thomas, are looking to commence filming in 2014 in the UK, with the script written by Wheatley’s usual writer/editor Amy Jump (Kill List, A Field in England). Film4 are also on board as backers.
Published in 1975, the book, according to Empire, “takes place in a tower block, which is supposed to be a gleaming new, exciting and exotic home for its affluent residents, but ends up isolating and factionalizing them into all-out war, with the surface sophistication degenerating to primal savagery.”
Apparently, the adaptation has been in development for some time, since the late 1970s to be precise, with Nicolas Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth) initially taking on the project from a screenplay by Rudy Wurlitzer (Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid). Vincenzo Natali (Splice, Haunter) also had a stab at it, however, he wanted to create more of a spin-off rather than a faithful adaptation. The novel is a long-time passion project for Jeremy Thomas, having been a friend of author Ballard, who passed away in 2009. Both Wheatley and Thomas have indicated they will be faithful to the book and keep the English setting, ” The scope of the film is exciting. It will be challenging like [David Cronenberg’s 1996 adaptation of] Crash, but not as dark as Kill List. The book is pretty out there though!”